By Nick Villano @nick_villano on June 15, 2014
The New Jersey Devils' franchise has not been where it was in years past. They have missed the playoffs in two of the last three years after making the postseason in 13 straight years, and they have some players who could become really good. If they are going to be winning more Stanley Cups in the future, they need to build around these five players.
Say what you want about Travis Zajac, but he is going to be the Devils' top-line center for at least the next half decade. You saw this season that if he is with the right player (this situation being Jaromir Jagr), then he can thrive. He needs to be the top-line player who they thought he could be if he is going to earn his contract.
Andy Greene may be the most underrated Devil on this roster. He is the best thing they have on the blue line, and he is a true two-way defenseman. He can score goals and catch a forward on a breakaway, and he is currently like a poor man's Scott Niedermayer. They have defensemen in the system who can overtake the No. 1 defenseman role, but for now, the team needs to build their blue line around Greene.
Adam Henrique may be the player to get most excited about on the Devils. He showed this season that he could thrive without Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise on his line. He led the Devils in goals, which are hard to come by for this team. He is the centerpiece for the Devils.
Eric Gelinas is one of the great defensive prospects the Devils currently have in their system. He has one of the best shots coming from the blue line in the league, and he is only 23 years old. If he can get better with his slap shot accuracy, then he will be a scary weapon for this team.
Cory Schneider will finally have a shot to be the guy in New Jersey after a career of splitting time. He had very good numbers last season; his win-loss record wasn't great, but you also have to consider that he lost seven games while only allowing one goal. He is the key to the Devils moving on after Martin Brodeur; they need to re-sign him and build the team around him.
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