Last Season – The New Jersey Devils surprised many by rolling to a 38-28-6 record and 102 points. They surprised even more people by advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost the the LA Kings.
Saying Goodbye – Zach Parise, Alex Ponikarovsky, Petr Sykora, Matt Taormina
Saying Hello – Bobby Butler, Krys Barch
Ready to Step In – Alexander Urbom is a big defenseman who has had a couple of cups of coffee in New Jersey. With the roster pretty much set, he could stay in Albany until needed.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Travis Zajac had his season destroyed by injury and was limited to just 15 games. With the hole left by Parise’s departure, the Devils will need all hands on deck, including Zajac.
Hardware Hopefuls – Ilya Kovalchuk, Rocket Richard
Upside – Somehow the Devils continue to play solid hockey even with almost 80 combined years of age between the pipes. Every time you think Martin Brodeur has run his course, he shocks everyone and takes his club to the finals. Does he have another one left?
Downside – Parise’s departure leaves a leadership and offensive void in the Devils, that really wasn’t replaced externally. It is now Kovalchuk’s team and he doesn’t have the greatest track record of team success.
2013 Prognosis – The Devils were a 100 point team last season, but this could be the year they take a step back. Not only Parise, but Ponikarovsky and Sykora leaves a lot of offense to be replaced, and Brodeur can’t go on forever. They should still be in the mix for a playoff spot, but it won’t be easy.