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Originally founded in 1974 as the Kansas City Scouts, this franchise moved west to play as the Colorado Rockies from 1976 to 1982 before settling in to their current home, the Garden State, to play as the New Jersey Devils. Their home for the las 36 years, the Devils have made NJ their permanent address. While their tenures in Kansas City and Colorado were short and uneventful, their stay in Jersey has been extremely productive. From meager beginnings which resembled (as Wayne Gretzky put it) “a Mickey Mouse operation”, the Devils quietly built their franchise into a strong contender.
A core group of players emerged with the talent and know-how to win at the NHL level. John MacLean, Bruce Driver, and Ken Daneyko were all a part of these early teams and went on to play a major role in the later success of the team. Scott Stevens joined the team for the 1991 season and had earned the title of captain after that first year. He would remain the captain of the New Jersey Devils until his retirement. Legendary figures off the ice including general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Jacques Lemaire also played a big role in getting this team to reach new heights.
After a crushing loss to the New York Rangers in game seven of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals (in double overtime), the Devils and their young goaltender, Martin Brodeur, set their sights on the next season. In a strike-shortened season, the Devils made it back to the Conference Finals, taking care of the Flyers in six games before sweeping the Detroit Red Wings to claim their first Stanley Cup. From Mickey Mouse to champions in just over a decade, the Devils had made their mark on the NHL.
They would go on to win the Cup two more times, in 2000 and 2003. Appearances in the finals in 2001 and 2012 did not end with the hoisting of the Cup, but their five Stanley Cup appearances since 1995 is a tremendous accomplishment to go along with 22 playoff appearances in 35 seasons (including 13 in a row) and three Stanley Cups.
Recent years have been tough on this organization. Since losing in the finals to the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, the Devils only qualified for the playoffs once. That appearance was at the end of last season, but was short-lived as NJ was bounced in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning. A team in transition, New Jersey looks to the future with a young team that dreams of achieving the kind of success to which this franchise has become accustomed.
John Hynes is the current head coach for the Devils. The youngest coach in the league, Hynes connects with his players and is trying to mentor them towards greatness. Veteran defenseman Andy Greene is the team captain. He takes the ice each night alongside his teammates including Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, Taylor Hall, and the young star Nico Hischier who had a great first year with team. Marcus Johansson joined the Devils this past year following a trade from Washington. Cory Schneider is the starting goaltender for this club, but has missed considerable time due to injury. Standing in for Schneider in the blue paint and blocking anything that comes his way has been his backup, Keith Kinkaid.
A great organization with numerous stars over the years, the Devils most famous alumni include Scott Stevens, Patrik Elias, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, Bobby Holik, Brendan Shanahan, John MacLean, Zach Parise, Scott Gomez, and Martin Brodeur. Click here for more information about the New Jersey Devils franchise.