The New Jersey Devils are moving on up.
According to Marc Ciampa of the Devils’ website, the Devils will appear on NBC Sports Network a total of four times this season, up from two last year.
Those games will be: October 9 at Philadelphia on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Hockey” (7:30 PM); Thursday, October 17 against the Rangers at Prudential Center; Tuesday, January 2 against the Islanders at Barclays Center in Brooklyn; Thursday, January 30 against Nashville at Prudential Center (PK Subban facing off with his former teammates in the Predators).
My prediction of the American Thanksgiving Day game at Montreal being a nationally televised game back when I did the schedule preview seemingly is not accurate.
The Devils appearing a little more often on NBCSN is a direct result of their offseason. Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President of Production, NBC and NBC Sports Network, told USA Today (as quoted by Ciampa) that Ray Shero “had as good of an offseason as any GM in the league. It’s going to give the Devils some buzz in the market.”
Of course there will still be teams that will appear on the network every other night *cough*Blackhawks*cough*, but this is a step for the Devils in gaining some national exposure.
Just two years ago, they only appeared on NBCSN once, which is only because, I believe, every team in the league has to appear at least that minimum amount on the network. They have come a long way since that season.
Would I like to see them on a national stage more often? Sure. But baby steps here. At least they are trending in the right direction and people are taking notice. They are seeing guys like Jack Hughes being a potentially exciting player. They are seeing the Devils bring in Subban, one of the biggest personalities in the league. They are seeing Nikita Gusev come over and possibly be the real deal.
There are a lot of questions around the Devils right now, but there is also a lot of potential and that is what NBCSN and the other league decision makers see right now.
However, should they make the playoffs and have a good run while there, that will only boost them further as they will be on NBCSN all Spring and will likely appear on the channel much more often in 2020-21.