Why 'start over' was John Hynes' message to Devils entering offseason

April 25, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Devils coach John Hynes had a simple message for his team heading into the offseason after reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Watch video

John Hynes won't let his players rest on their laurels.

Despite making the playoffs after finishing last in the Eastern Conference one season earlier, the Devils received another high bar for offseason expectations from their coach during exit meetings.

A strong offseason set the tone for the Devils' step forward in 2017-18. Now they need an even better, more committed summer to make another step in 2018-19.

"Start over. There's no momentum that carries from year to year," Hynes said. "Where we left off is not going to do us any good going into next year, and really understand what does it take to be a competitive team again. It's just taking it step-by-step. Every player has to have a better offseason than they did last year."

How Moore, Maroon view free agency

Getting out of the basement of the Eastern Conference to the playoffs in one season was the reward for that hard work, but it guarantees nothing for next year.

While the Devils want to become a franchise that gets back to playing postseason hockey consistently, Hynes said the end result can't be the main focus.

"When you look around the league, there's teams that make the playoffs one year and don't make it the next year," Hynes said. "I don't think our discussions with our group are about that. It's about starting over, getting hungry, getting better, and as I said, the process just has to continue."

Playing in the postseason did give a young Devils team some valuable experience which could help springboard their offseason training, knowing the level it takes to reach and succeed in the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning dispatched the Devils from the playoffs in five games, and New Jersey saw the level of competition it will face in April and May in the future.

"For us, we've got to learn. Why was that? What do we need player-wise to be better? What do the coaches have to do to be better?" Hynes said of their series loss to the Lightning. "That's what you really want to find out. Today, this year, if you look at it, you could say Tampa was a playoff team, and we were a team that made the playoffs. So there's a step we have to take." 

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com Devils on Facebook.

How Devils' John Moore, Patrick Maroon are approaching pending free agency

April 25, 2018 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Defenseman John Moore and forward Patrick Maroon can both become free agents this summer, but both want to stay in New Jersey with the Devils. Watch video

Defenseman John Moore and forward Patrick Maroon both have the same feeling.

They want to be back with the Devils next season.

Plenty of factors will go into their offseasons, where both can become unrestricted free agents on July 1. 

Both enter the offseason in different situations. Moore spent his last three seasons with the Devils after signing as a free agent in 2015. Maroon was a 2018 trade deadline addition, joining the Devils for the 17 games in March and April, plus five postseason games.

While Maroon's Devils tenure has been short, he currently views a return to New Jersey as the top option for him.

"I would love to be a part of this team," Maroon said at Devils break-up day on Tuesday. "Obviously there's options every where, so for me, I've just got to take some time and hopefully in the next few months, figure out what's going on. I loved it here. They treated me with nothing but respect and gave me every opportunity to succeed, so for me, I'd love to stay, but with right now I just don't know what's going on with the team and everything."

Projecting Devils' 2018-19 roster

Cap space should not be an issue this offseason for the Devils. They had just over $7.5 million in cap space at the end of the season, and an additional $15,436,667 will come off their cap with expiring contracts this offseason.

Some of that money will surely go to re-signing restricted free agents, but the Devils will need to decide if they want to use it on Moore and Maroon, who will both likely receive raises this summer. While they may have the cap space now, that can change with the addition of other free agents this summer, and they will need some in the coming years when other big-name players, such as Nico Hischier or Taylor Hall, need new contracts.

Maroon's last contract carried a $2 million AAV, and Moore had a $1,666,667 AAV. 

So while Moore wants to stay in New Jersey, he knows part of the decision is out of his hands, based on what the GM Ray Shero and the Devils might offer and what the open market hold.

"I want to (stay). It's not up to me. I haven't really talked to Ray," Moore said. "Just in our meeting now, we said we'll get together and talk. I really like it here, my family likes it here. It's a good team, a lot of good guys and I want to be here." 

The 27-year-old Moore played a career-high 81 games in the regular season, accounting for 18 points and a plus-three rating. Maroon turned 30 on Monday, and he just finished his second straight 40-plus point season. His 13 points in 17 games with the Devils put him on a 62.7-point pace over 82 games.

Maroon and Moore both said part of their decisions will come down to what's best for their families, and both see New Jersey as a great option for that reason. Based on what the team did on the ice this season, they want to be a part of helping the team make the next step in the coming years.

"It's tough the way it ended, five games in the first round, but I think this team and these guys here are just scratching the surface," Moore said. "It will be a fun team to be a part of. Hopefully for me, personally, I'm a part of it, but there's a lot of talent in here."

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com Devils on Facebook.