Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shero in Search of Goals

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shero in Search of Goals

Article excerpt

NEWARK - Ray Shero is about to begin his second off-season as the Devils general manager and one that likely will determine whether this just-completed season was the first step in the organization's eventual return to being a Stanley Cup contender or just another playoff-less campaign.

So, asked Monday as the Devils completed their breakup day at Prudential Center, what he had learned this season, Shero's response was instantaneous.

"We have to get better," Shero said.

Be it through trades, free agency or even the draft this June, when the Devils have stockpiled nine picks, Shero must find more goal production.

Despite Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique each reaching 30 goals and the power play ranking eighth in the NHL with 51 goals in 256 chances (19.9 percent), the Devils' 184 goals were the fewest in the NHL. It resulted in a fourth straight season out of the playoffs

"We know we have to take another big step," Shero said. "This was a small step. This was a first real positive step.

"We fell short," Shero added. "I don't think anybody is happy. The expectations get higher every year. I think there has been some progress. I think we have the right people in place."

The Devils, at 38-36-8, ultimately finished 12 points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, fading over the final two months after being 29-21-7 on Feb. 14. The Devils were shut out three times over their final 25 games and held to one goal six times.

"It's my responsibility to add more talent," Shero said. "We want to score more. We were in the top 10 on the penalty kill and the top 10 on the power play. We need other ways to produce. If the power play slips from eighth to 15th, where are you going to be?"

"I think we're close," added Henrique, who set a career high in goals. "It's going in the right direction. It'll be an exciting summer to see who we have coming into camp. …

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