With training camp only days away, there are plenty of places to look for signs of improvement and see how the new guys react to their new systems.
New faces are everywhere. Lines are being created and words of wisdom are being passed between the legend and his new student. The Devils are being counted out everywhere you look but don’t completely give up hope yet. I have a good feeling about this year.
The first big thing to look for is the relationship between Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider. Obviously, they are very friendly at this point but look for some of Marty to have rubbed off on Cory. He has said he is very excited to work with the greatest goalie ever and is happy to be learning from him.
It will be interesting to see how much Marty plays. The Devils will want to shake off the cobwebs but I’m sure they also want to give him a favorable amount of rest too. They will also want to see a lot of Schneider this camp and preseason also. It will be interesting to see if he splits games with Marty, or might just play in the latter parts of games this preseason.
It goes without saying to watch for the new additions. Watch to see how Jaromir Jagr plays with Patrik Elias as there is guaranteed to be chemistry between them. Rostislav Olesz, Michael Ryder, and Ryane Clowe are guys that will be starting also when the season rolls around so be sure to check those new additions out too.
It’s no secret Elias plays LW a lot. Technically, though, it is a position change as he is listed in most places as a natural centerman. Look to see if Dainius Zubrus moves to RW to lighten up the load at C for the Devils. Also look for other players fighting for spots to move around if need be to give them a spot in the NHL instead of in Albany.
Things will be very interesting at the LW position this season. Right now, only Clowe, Olesz and Mattias Tedenby are listed at LW and Elias will certainly fill a spot too. The Devils also have a lot of talent in Albany at LW that could come up on any given day if someone performs. Guys like Reid Boucher, Joe Whitney, and Stefan Matteau are just waiting for the call.
The Devils also have 12 defensemen listed in Albany right now (CapGeek). They already have 7 in New Jersey. It definitely seems like there will be a revolving door with the Defense both in Albany and in New Jersey.
Guys like Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov need to have good seasons to gain their reputations back and towards the bottom of the roster, there will be plenty of movement back and forth.
These are just a few things to look for once Devils camp opens up. Hockey is almost back!