Will Adam Henrique be Better for the New Jersey Devils than Zach Parise?

By Steve Palumbo

Adam Henrique electrified and dazzled New Jersey Devils fans with his on ice abilities, while also showing the maturity and poise of a 10-year veteran in both the regular season and the playoffs. Henrique’s talents came gift wrapped with a winning pedigree at all levels, which had me wondering, “Will Adam Henrique actually turn out to be a better fit in New Jersey than Zach Parise?”

In 2011-12, Henrique finished fourth in team scoring with 51 points (16g 35a) in only 74 games. He averaged an impressive .69 points a game in his first full NHL season. Compare that with the former-Devil Parise’s .84 last season and .82 for his career and it becomes obvious that the 22 year-old Brantford, Ontario offensive output was more significant than one might have previously thought.

Sure, Parise’s scored 30 or more goals five times in his career. But, he didn’t surpass the 50-point mark until his second full season.  Henrique did it in one. Henrique finished plus-9 last year. Parise needed a plus-13 in his third full NHL season in order for his career plus/minus just to equal that of Henrique’s rookie year.

Two seasons ago, Henrique was just a good while playing in Albany (AHL). The gifted two way center turned in a solid 2010-11 season with New Jersey’s top minor league. The 25 goals and 50 points in only 73 games was just a glimpse of the kind of offensive potential he had.

Hockey Futures described Henrique as “having the style of game that will make him fit easily into the (Devils) organization. He’s solid defensively. He also excels on face-offs and can play during the penalty kill. Henrique has good offensive skills and instincts, but hasn’t really got a chance to showcase them just yet.”

I like that last part, the one that says he hasn’t had a chance to showcase his talents “yet.” Despite an outstanding rookie season in which he was named a Calder Trophy finanlist, Henrique almost assuredly has yet to even scratch the surface of his full potential.

Henrique also carries with him a winner’s pedigree something that is taken very seriously within the confines of the Devils organization. While he’s shown the intestinal fortitude of an NHL champion by scoring two playoff series-clinching overtime goals during New Jersey’s march to a conference championship, that was not his first rodeo.

Henrique earned a gold Medal in the 2007 Canada games with Team Ontario, a Silver Medal from the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships with Team Canada. To top it off he was a member of back-to-back Memorial Cup winners with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, taking home the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award in 2009 as the OHL Playoff MVP.

Henrique can flat out play and he’s a proven winner just like former New Jersey great Scott Niedermayer and look how No. 27’s career turned out.

Parise on the other hand has quite an impressive resume of his own, including an Olympic Silver medal. But, unlike Henrique many of his accomplishments are individual awards.  Even with the Silver Medal and an Eastern Conference title under his belt, those will always be second place finishes and nothing more. Advantage Henrique.

Expect Henrique to grab an even bigger role in the Devils offense this season, if there is one.  The expectations of Henrique should be very high in 2012-13 and deservedly so, but make mo mistake this young man is ready to take the ball and run with it and who know’s before long he may the one leading New Jersey to another Stanley Cup title.

Finishing second may be good enough for some, but has never been acceptable for Henrique or the Devils.


Did Zach do this while in New Jersey?

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Email me at StevePalumboNHL@gmail.com

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