It was a rough season for the NHL's Hudson River rivals.
The Devils took a huge step back after making the playoffs in 2017-18, their 72 points the third-fewest in the league, while the Rangers were only six points better as they embarked on their first full season of their rebuild.
But next month's NHL Draft represents an opportunity for both teams to add a potential game-changing prospect, as the Devils hold the No. 1 pick with the Rangers picking right after at No. 2. American center Jack Hughes and Finnish wing Kaapo Kakko should be the top-two picks in some order, with Hughes long pegged as the top prospect in this draft class.
Devils GM Ray Shero isn't revealing who he'll take at No. 1, but he knows the two draft choices will be compared to one another for years to come, and he thinks that's a good thing.
"With us, the thing with New York and New Jersey is that we need rivalries," Shero told NHL.com. "Our brand is to be relevant, and that's what we want to do. The fact is, the Rangers are picking second, they're just across the Hudson River, and what the heck's wrong with that? Hopefully both teams get really good players. And we all know that one player can't carry a team."
New Jersey has the No. 1 overall pick for the second time in three years after taking Nico Hischier first in the 2017 draft. The Devils interviewed Hughes this week at the NHL Scouting Combine.
"It went well," Shero said. "We knew a lot about him coming in already. Whatever happens, we know we're going to get a good player."