Now that the individual previews are complete, it is time for the cumulative review.
Line Combination Predictions
Patrik Elias – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr: This line has been highly speculated and will most likely materialize. Zajac deserves the 1st line nod and Elias and Jagr playing together is very tempting.
Ryane Clowe – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder: We have seen this line twice in camp now and it seems all but confirmed that this will be a line and most likely the second one.
Rostislav Olesz – Andrei Loktionov – Dainius Zubrus: We did see Zubrus play center in camp but it wasn’t with these line mates either.
Mattias Tedenby – Ryan Carter – Steve Bernier: There are a lot of moving parts that can shake up this line throughout the season. Jacob Josefson could end up at center, Reid Boucher or Joe Whitney could end up at LW and Stephen Gionta could find himself at RW instead of Bernier.
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky: These are easily the two veteran defensemen to watch. If they under-perform they could find themselves on the hot seat very quickly and get usurped by younger talent in New Jersey and even in Albany.
Andy Greene – Adam Larsson: I like these two together. I think Greene can put Larsson under his wing and teach him a lot of valuable techniques including improving greatly offensively.
Bryce Salvador – Mark Fayne: I feel that Mark Fayne will edge out Peter Harrold for the 6th D spot. Salvador will help him develop and play well this season also.
The Devils will need to improve on all fronts this year minus maybe goaltending. They will definitely score more than last year. Losing Ilya Kovalchuk does cripple their offense but the Devils made up for it in their offseason acquisitions. The Devils also need to improve on defense and they need Anton Volchenkov and Marek Zidlicky to drastically improve from last year. The Devils also have a lot of talent in Albany that could make an impact in the NHL this year if given the opportunity.
Watch the goalie tandem this year. Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider will work great together and take it in. Next year Marty might not be in the NHL anymore.
Best +/- Defenseman
Most PP Points for a Defenseman
Final Standing in Metropolitan Division
Final Standing in Entire Season
Lose to Pittsburgh Penguins in Metropolitan Division Championship
Let’s hope I’m wrong about the last prediction.
Here’s to another great NHL season and the quest for Stanley Cup #4 is completed next June.
And make sure to grab Devils tickets for this season to cheer them on at the Prudential Center.