There’s something about the New Jersey Devils that’s very different than the New England Patriots or New York Rangers.
And it’s not just that they play a different style of hockey.
It’s also the way they look at the world.
They’re the first NHL team in 40 years to win a Stanley Cup.
The Devils won the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup in 2002.
The team was founded by Bob Murray and Lou Lamoriello, and Murray has gone on to become a New Jersey native and is a three-time champion of the NHL.
And yet, for some reason, the New Hampshire native has been largely forgotten in the hockey world, despite his immense talent and unmatched impact on the game of hockey over the past decade.
And it’s because of his absence that we have this odd feeling that the Devils might be on the verge of a long-term rebuild.
It started in 2010 when, as a 23-year-old rookie, Murray had to play with a broken wrist and a fractured foot that limited him to just 11 games in the 2011-12 season.
Murray was given an opportunity to prove himself and get back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in his career.
The Devils would go on to win the title that year, but the team went on a seven-game losing streak that ended with a 4-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2012 playoffs.
The New Jersey media was all over it, as was the New Yorkers, who felt the team had lost their way.
And yet, Murray remained on the ice for the Devils and, after being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Matt Cooke, Murray led the team to its first playoff appearance in four years.
Murray was the first New Jersey player to win five scoring titles and was voted by the media as the NHL’s top rookie.
He’s the only player to earn the honor since the original franchise’s creation in 1964.
It was the beginning of the end.
Murray had been traded to Philadelphia after the 2011 season and was coming off a season that saw him record 34 goals and 51 points, good for a combined 27 points in 75 games.
His play didn’t improve, though, and in the second half of the 2013-14 season he was dealt to the Toronto Raptors.
Murray, who turned 28 in December, played only 11 games during the 2012-13 season before being traded again.
He went on to be a key piece of the New Orleans Pelicans in the playoffs for the second straight season, and was named to the All-NBA First Team.
He had a terrific season with the Raptors, scoring 30 goals and adding 36 assists.
He finished the season tied for second on the team in scoring and was third in points, leading the league in scoring with 29.
Murray then signed a five-year, $31 million contract with the New Manchester Devils of the Ontario Hockey League, which meant he was entering his prime.
Murray played in a lot of games for the New Zealand Hockey League in 2013-2014, including the playoffs, and he posted a career-high 35 goals and 50 points.
But Murray’s career numbers were down in 2014-15, as he recorded just 19 goals and 27 points, both career lows.
Murray returned to the NHL in 2015-16, but after a slow start to the season, the Devils made a significant change to the roster.
The trade of veteran forward Steve Mason was announced and Murray was traded to Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Kyle Palmieri and goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
Murray returned to Pittsburgh to start the season and helped the Penguins reach the Stanley Tournament for the fourth straight season.
He didn’t make it through the first round of the playoffs.
He did not win the Stanley Championship, but he did win the Norris Trophy, the award given to the top rookie in the NHL, in 2015.
And in the 2017 playoffs, Murray played a key role in the Devils’ success as they beat the Boston Rangers in six games.
He helped the Devils to the Eastern Conference Finals that season, scoring two goals and assisting on a goal in the series-clinching Game 7 win.
The following season, Murray again helped the team win a Cup.
This time he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman, the second-most prestigious award in the league.
Murray led the Devils in scoring, was third on the league with 38 points and had an assist in the team’s first Stanley Cup Final win since 1986.
He was the team captain.
Murray won the Norris Memorial Trophy in 2019.
But the Devils failed to make the playoffs in 2020 and instead were eliminated in the first Round of the Stanley Playoffs.
Murray has been a key part of the Devils organization for the past five seasons.
He has scored nearly a half-million points in his NHL career, but this is the first season he has ever won a Hart Trophy.
He is one of the