5 New Jersey Devils Who Need To Step Up Their Scoring
5 Devils Who Need To Step Up Their Scoring
Saying the New Jersey Devils had an issue scoring last season is an understatement. They ranked 28th in scoring last season, only ahead of the Nashville Predators and the Florida Panthers for the season. They need to find a way to not only out-shoot their opponents, but out score them as well.
The Devils allowed the least amount of shots against last season. It seemed their goalie Martin Brodeur tried to force himself back after Johan Hedberg couldn't handle the starting job. The defense is all coming back, minus Henrik Tallinder, who was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. They have one of the better defenses in the division and severely upgraded the goaltender position when they traded for Corey Schneider. but they are going to no doubt win most of their games by preventing scoring.
That being said, they will need to score goals to win. Last time I checked, a team can't win if they get shutout. It may not be obvious as a Sidney Crosby or Claude Giroux, but they do have talent on the offensive side. They brought in players to try to help them up front.
GM Lou Lamoriello says that the goal is no different than any other year -- Stanley Cup or bust. They were a surprise team in 2012 when everyone said that it was either the Philadelphia Flyers or Pittsburgh Penguins' cup to lose. They are looking to once again be that surprise team. They have a veteran laden squad that will not just lay down and die like so many analysts expect from this team. These five need to be the main focus of the offense for this season to be a success.
5. Adam Henrique
Adam Henrique just signed a brand new six-year deal with the Devils. He will be motivated to show that the team was smart to make such a commitment to him. Last season, he seemed to have an up and down year. He was super hot when he first came off his injury, but he cooled down considerably towards the end of the season. He ended the season scoring 11 goals in 42 games. He needs to be much better if the Devils are going to progress. He wanted to be paid like "the man", but he needs to produce like one. This is his chance to take over this team.
4. Ryane Clowe
Ryane Clowe was the big free agent haul for the Devils this season. He had the worst season of his career last season, split between the San Jose Sharks and the New York Rangers. He only scored three goals all season and had 16 assists. The Devils need to hope they didn't just make a five-year commitment to a guy who is on the downside of his career. If he can get back to the 20-goal per year the scorer they are hoping for, then he will be a needed asset for this team. I think upper management will make him their new David Clarkson.
3. Travis Zajac
Travis Zajac is another player who is in the beginning of a long contract and is looking to prove he is worth it. After signing an eight year deal last season, Zajac seemed like he wasn't living up to his potential anymore. He played the whole season and only scored seven goals. That is beyond unacceptable. For this contract to not be a total train wreck, he needs to get back to his 60-point form and fast. Zajac's signing may have been a precaution because of the loss of Zach Parise,, but he still needs to produce. If he doesn't, then he shouldn't be the team's top line center anymore.
2. Michael Ryder
Michael Ryder is the best free agent the Devils picked up this season. They signed him on a two-year deal at a very cap friendly $3.5 million per year. In fact, the Devils may have gotten one of the best values in all of hockey this offseason. In a lockout-shortened season, Ryder still produced 16 goals and 35 points. He showed his true potential when he scored a career-high 35 goals for the Dallas Stars in 2011-12. He needs to just be consistent and stay on the ice to be a major contributor to this team. Expect the announcers to be yelling this kid's name on numerous occasions this season.
1. Patrik Elias
Patrick Elias re-signed to most likely spend his entire career in New Jersey. He has been the model of consistency as even into his late 30s, he has found ways to put the puck in the net. Possessing a wildly underrated career partly because he stayed in the Garden State, Elias has been a superstar for a team that now has none. He is playing with Jaromir Jagr, but he is way, way past his prime. Elias scored 14 goals last season, and could close in on 400 for his career if he stays healthy this year. Barring any injury, this guy will produce for the Devils. The bigger question marks are who is going to be helping him along the way.