Hockey fans watching the Devils this season could be excused if they don't recognize much of the team. The departure of two more key players this past summer left the team without scoring depth. That depth is to be replaced by a hodgepodge of veterans and inexperienced forwards tasked with creating offense in the poorly-named and highly competitive Metropolitan Division.
Both David Clarkson and Ilya Kovalchuk followed their desires to return home, leaving the scenic confines of Newark. Clarkson scurried north to Toronto, accepting a contract from the Maple Leafs burdened with the expectations of pleasing Leafs fans. Clarkson's departure from the Devils wasn't a foregone conclusion, but it wasn't much of a surprise. The shocker came several days after free agency opened when Kovalchuk stunned the hockey world with his retirement from the NHL, fleeing home to Russia for massive sums of KHL money.
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