The New Jersey Devils have never finished an NHL regular season better than they did in 2022-23. They set franchise records for wins (52) and points (112) for their performances last year. Unfortunately, even a historic season for the team wasn't enough to win their division. But there is still a lot to be proud of from last campaign.

The Devils made a big splash this offseason to add a further scoring punch. Tyler Toffoli came over right before the 2023 NHL Draft through a trade with the Calgary Flames. Like the Devils, Toffoli is also coming off his best season, scoring 34 goals and 73 points.

The Devils begin their preseason on September 25 on the road against the Montreal Canadiens. On October 12, they welcome a new-look Detroit Red Wings squad to town to open the regular season. So what do Devils fans have to look forward to? Here is a complete overview of the New Jersey Devils heading into the 2023-24 NHL season.

Stepping up

There was a curious event that happened during the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past season. Devils forward Timo Meier was absolutely rocked by New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. It was a legal hit, but one that normally would've had the entire team swarming Trouba within seconds.

Except, that didn't happen. Not one Devils player went after Trouba, and only one went to check on Meier as he lay on the ice. New Jersey essentially allowed the captain of their rival to run through one of their stars. And New Jersey didn't do anything to dissuade Trouba, who has no issues at all with playing physically, from doing something like that again.

Now, I'm not a major proponent of fighting. I think fighting had its time and place in the game, but it'll slowly become less and less prominent as it has already. However, the Devils didn't need to fight Trouba. They just needed to show they had Meier's back and that they weren't going to roll over. And they didn't really do that.

Will we see a repeat of this if another similar incident occurs? What if the New York Islanders or the Philadelphia Flyers take a run at one of their stars? The Devils will need to prove they aren't going to take things like this lying down this upcoming season.

Devils in net

The Devils are in an interesting place in terms of their goaltending. Vitek Vanecek had an incredible season last year as the team's primary starter. When he struggled in the playoffs, Akira Schmid stepped in and played out of his mind for the most part.

But one has to wonder if the team could've improved in this area. They had their options this summer, that's for sure. Frederik Anderson and Tristan Jarry hit the open market as unrestricted free agents. On the trade front, Connor Hellebuyck and Josh Gibson are still available for the taking.

Vanecek earned another look as the team's starting netminder heading into the new season. That said, one has to wonder if the Devils will be in the market for goaltending around the trade deadline. And if they are, could they swing big for Hellebuyck before he hits NHL Free Agency next summer?

Metro Division race

The Devils last won their division in 2009-10 when the NHL had three divisions consisting of five teams in each conference. Their second-place finish in the Metro last year was their first finish outside of the bottom two since 2017-18 when they finished fourth.

This year, things could change. New Jersey added Toffoli, who should provide further scoring. They are also getting a full year from Meier, who came over from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. And we can't forget about highly touted prospect Luke Hughes, who should be a fixture on New Jersey's blueline for years to come.

It won't be easy for the Devils in the slightest. The Metropolitan Division has gotten better all around. But the Devils have the firepower and the talent to claim that top spot. They just need to put it all together on the ice this season.

Potential odd men out

One potential player to watch here is forward Curtis Lazar. Lazar was another trade deadline pickup for the Devils, having been brought in to stabilize the team's bottom-six forward group. However, New Jersey has enough pieces in place where Lazar serves more as depth than a regular fixture in the team's lineup.

On defense, we turn out attention to Brendan Smith. The former Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers defenseman is likely to serve as depth in his own right this season. New Jersey has Luke Hughes coming in, and they acquired Colin Miller back in July, as well. Smith has his work cut out for him if he wants to find regular ice time this season.

Final roster projection

Forwards: Jesper Bratt, Jack Hughes, Tyler Toffoli, Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, Dawson Mercer, Ondrej Palat, Erik Haula, Alexander Holtz, Tomas Nosek, Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian

Defenseman: Jonas Sigenthaler, Dougie Hamilton, Luke Hughes, John Marino, Kevin Bahl, Colin Miller

Goalies: Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid