New Jersey Devils Need to Return to Four Forwards On Power Play

By Nick Villano
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils are having some serious problems scoring — that much is obvious.  One thing that isn’t so obvious is how they fix the problem. Head coach Peter DeBoer has tried everything from switching around his lines to bringing up some young guys from the AHL. Nothing seems to be working.

You need to score on the power play when you cannot score five on five. While the Devils’ power play is not bad by any means, they have been struggling on it lately. Over the year the team ranks 13th in the NHL, scoring 19 percent of the time with the man advantage. Marek Zidlicky and Adam Henrique both lead the team with five power-play goals a piece. They went into the break on an 0-12 run, which is unacceptable for a team in the position of the Devils.

Last year, the New Jersey Devils would play Ilya Kovalchuk on double shifts on every power play.  He would play on the point as a second defenseman, even though everyone knew he was playing fourth forward. The Devils have done this in the past with players like Patrik Elias and Brian Rolston. Should they look into doing this again?

The problem with that is they have three defensemen that are pretty good on the power play. Zidlicky’s style of play was made for the power play. His bomb of a shot is scary for all goalies around the league. On top of that, he knows how to score. Eric Gelinas is built in a similar mold. He knows how to score, especially on the PP.  His shot is something the Devils are going to covet for years to come. Andy Greene is a little different than the first two, but he is still great with the extra man.

Even with some great PP defensemen on the team, the Devils should still try to do what they can to score more. If four forwards on every PP is how to do it, then they need to try that out. They have some players who can. It was said before that Elias has done it before. Maybe someone like Michael Ryder can thrive with the great shot he has. Damien Brunner could also be a guy who, when on a hot streak, could do some really good things from that position. Regardless of who the fourth forward is, it is something that needs to be tried in hopes of addressing the team’s paltry scoring.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to the site’s NFL, NBA and MLB content.  You can follow him on Twitter here.

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