Bryce Salvador isn’t known to be as a flashy point-producing defenseman. He has always been known as a tough grinder that uses his body to help out the team. That formula earned him his captain status on the New Jersey Devils.
Bryce started his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues in 2000. He put up 10+ points for his first three seasons. During the 2005-06 season, Salvador had what still stands as his worst season in his career to this point. He only had 5 points in 46 games and had a lackluster -24 +/- rating.
After the Devils traded for Salvador, he had 16 points and 14 points in his first two full seasons with the Devils. The year they made a cup run he had a career-high 18 +/- rating. With the departure of Zach Parise, the captain spot was available and the Devils appointed it to Bryce.
Last season, Bryce struggled along with the rest of the team and only had 2 assists on the year and posted a -12. He had a +2 in wins but a -14 in losses last year.
What to Expect
Previously, I had said that the first line would probably be Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov. Well, for some reason, I had forgotten that Bryce was a captain and, for some reason, I forgot that he was on the team. Maybe he just fell into obscurity with a struggling team in my mind.
I do believe it will be Bryce and Anton/Marek on the first line. In my eyes, it’s a toss up who could get the look because Anton did get injured during the lockout and that may have slowed him up a bit. I think Anton will get the first line but that leads into another debate.
Adam Larsson was pretty good last year all things considered. Larsson deserves a definite 2nd line, maybe 1st line spot but he is very inexperienced and this is another instance of experience trumping one good season. Larsson will probably be pushed to line 3 but they should keep him there to prevent him from being out there too much because he could very well be the future of the blue liners for the Devils.
Anton should be the one getting the first line look with Bryce. If Adam were to be on the second line with Alternate Captain Andy Greene, then that would push Zidlicky to the third line which I do not see happening. Larsson will likely end up on the third line.
I do think it is fairly obvious that Salvador will be on the first line, though.
Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks! Next preview will be of Ryan Carter.