While other teams made the most of the lockout-shortened season, the New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs a year after making the Stanley Cup finals.
There were injuries. There were slumps. It was not pretty.
But it was also only one part of the story. Then came the offseason.
Forward Ilya Kovalchuk stunned the team in July, by walking away from $77 million left on his 15-year contract to play in Russia. Technically, the 30-year-old retired. Realistically, he left the Devils without a star player. Forward David Clarkson left via free agency, as well, and so when New Jersey opens Oct. 3 at Pittsburgh, you will see some new faces in new places.