The New Jersey Devils may not have had much to cheer about on the ice in recent years, however it seems fans will be able to be proud of the team that they support following the announcement of some rather positive news.
Indeed, the franchise were able to create history as P.K. Subban was named the King Clancy Trophy recipient for the 2021-22 season; the first time a player for the organization had ever been able to win the prestigious award in its 48-year existence.
P.K. Subban wins the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
As highlighted, P.K. Subban became the first player in the Devils’ history to be able to win the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, but why was he able to set the record?
The award is presented to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community”. Indeed, it is not unusual for a player to win an award like this in American professional sports, with the NFL awarding one player with the Walter Payton Man of the Year award annually following a similar criteria.
Subban had finally managed to capture the award after being a four-time finalist, and edged out Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers) and the retiring Ryan Getzlaf, who had spent his entire 17-year career with the Anaheim Ducks.
P.K. Subban has won the 2021-22 King Clancy Memorial Trophy. He’s the first member of the Devils to ever win the award 👏 pic.twitter.com/fbKasukE9t— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 8, 2022
The 33-year-old – who perhaps does not quite know what the future holds for him at the moment as he is a free agent – has made numerous charitable pledges throughout his career that involved time at the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators. He has also managed to represent the Canada National Hockey team on various occasions, including in the 2014 Winter Olympics where they won gold after beating Sweden 3-0 in the final.
He was chosen to be the recipient of the 2022/23 King Clancy Memorial Trophy by his team as they chose him as the eligible player, while the final decision came from a committee of senior NHL executives that included commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
It should not be a surprise that he was named as the team’s eligible player for the award, though, as Subban had been nominated by the organization each year he had been with them. And while this can be considered to be rather good news, it is important to note, however, that his time in New Jersey appears to be coming to a likely end.
Subban is a free agent this offseason
As revealed a little earlier in this blog post, Subban has become a free agent and it is very unlikely that he will be returning to the New Jersey Devils next season. The experienced defenseman arrived in New Jersey back in 2019 and has been a key player, although he has not had the kind of impact that many would have perhaps had hoped for while on the ice.
Fans of the team would have been hoping that he could have helped them to finally reach the postseason and challenge for title honors, however as we know, that was not to be the case. In the years that he was with the organization, they failed to reach the playoffs; this season was the fourth consecutive time.
Indeed, that is something that many in the Garden State would have been disappointed with. Not only because they are loyal supporters of their team, but the fact that they have had the opportunity to involve themselves in sports wagering over the last few years, too.
As a result of recent changes in laws across the U.S., there have been a number of NJ sports betting massive opportunities available to residents and visitors of the Garden State to look to try and take advantage of, and potentially enhance or develop a new favorite pastime.
However, many would have been hoping that the New Jersey Devils would have played a key part in that and would have been a good option to consider. As we know, things didn’t quite pan out in that particular way.
But, what could we potentially see happen in the future?
What should we expect of the New Jersey Devils next season?
While it would appear that Subban is no longer a Devil and will not be returning, it does appear that the organization is ready to stick with Lindy Ruff as the team’s head coach for another term.
Meanwhile the Devils are yet to fire Lindy Ruff. https://t.co/gLEOiGDzpA— Fifty Shades of Ray (@ray_seakan) June 20, 2022
There had been some questions regarding his position at the franchise, however, that no longer appears to be up for debate. While some had speculated that Ruff would be moved to the front office, there have been key firings at other NHL sides but the Devils simply have not decided to act, thus allowing quality management personnel to go to other teams without seemingly making a move to even interview them.
Perhaps one of the organization’s biggest problems at the moment is regarding the current playing roster. There are a number of areas that need to be addressed, especially following the departure of Subban.
If the Devils want to make a return to the playoffs and not turn the upcoming NHL campaign into a fifth-consecutive year that ends following the regular season, then the team will need to make additions. They could look to try and explore free agency and make a big splash, although whether they will be in a position to be able to remains to be seen.
While Subban’s departure will come as a blow, it is something that everyone at the Devils knew would happen, as they had said their goodbyes a long time ago. What happens now depends on the front office of the organization and what they are able to achieve in the offseason.
While there might still be plenty of time between now and the 2022/23 campaign, the Devils will need to look at free agency and use the seven draft picks that they have acquired wisely to ensure they are in a position to challenge next year!