Today, the Devils announced the re-signings of restricted free agents Blake Coleman and Stefan Noesen. Two pleasant surprises who contributed to the team’s surprising return to the playoffs, both were revelations under second-year coach John Hynes.
Used primarily in checking and penalty killing roles, both excelled. Unproven entering ’17-18, they each scored 13 goals, establishing career bests, including points with Coleman totaling 25 while Noesen finished with 27. Their diligent work as secondary scorers, who outworked opponents, was appreciated by Devils fans.
Coleman, 26, signed for three years at an average of $1.8 million per season. Noesen received $1.725 million over a year.
With Brian Gibbons gone, the importance of Coleman and Noesen cannot be underestimated. They are key cogs that Hynes grew to trust along with Brian Boyle and Travis Zajac.
Secondary scoring shouldn’t be a issue for the Devils. They should get solid production from the depth forwards. It’ll be up to Pavel Zacha to elevate his game. He remains a question entering his third year. That must change.
A healthy Marcus Johansson and Miles Wood should help. It’ll be interesting to see if basically, the same roster can have similar success in a division that improved. There will be more pressure and expectations.