Looking up and down this New Jersey Devils roster, it’s easy to find the disappointments for this club following the 2013 season. They’re all over the place. Whether up front, on the blue line, or even in goal at times, it was an ugly season for the Devils in their followup from a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Some of those disappointments were related to personal struggles to produce consistently, while others were due mainly to injury. Others were a combination of both. A player like Adam Henrique, who experienced a rough sophomore slump, were a combination of both.
Henrique didn’t take long to make an impact in 2011-2012, his rookie campaign. He was a Calder Trophy finalist, finishing with over 50 points, including four streaks of at least three games with a point, his longest being seven. He finished fourth on the club in points in his first year.
The playoffs is where he really found some success. He was one of the most consistent performers for the Devils during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in ’11-’12, finishing the run with 13 points. That total included five goals, three of which were game winners, one of which sent the Devils to the Cup Finals.
This season, he didn’t find any sort of success as a followup to his rookie campaign. He did finish with 11 goals, which was one of the higher totals on the team, but failed to find any sort of consistent. Plenty of that was due to his health, as he was forced to start the season on injured reserve. When he returned, he did have points in six of his first seven games, but faded after that.
Of course, it’s hard to get on a player when no one on his team is producing. The struggles of Henrique aren’t going to do much to his contract status. He’s going to see a nice raise from his current entry-level deal, probably into seven figures. Locking him up is absolutely a priority for the Devils, regardless of whatever “sophomore slump” may have occurred.
But this campaign, as ugly as it is, shouldn’t set Henrique back too far. It was a bad year, but it was also a short season. Once he slowed down, he simply didn’t have time to pick his game back up, especially with the Devils offense providing zilch on a nightly basis. He’ll head into the next season healthy and with a new contract. The Devils will be improved. He’ll bounce back in a big way next season.