So far, Jaromir Jagr has been king in New Jersey.
The 41-year-old — who fizzled out towards the end of last season and whose listless spells on the ice raised questions about his dedication and vigor — has put all rumors of his geriatric demise to rest. Not only has Jagr played in all of the Devils’ games this season, he’s their leader in points, and by an impressive number. He’s meshed extraordinarily well with linemates Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus, a line with a current plus-minus of 28 which has thrived thanks, in large part, to his veteran hockey sense and their collective ability to battle for loose pucks.
All indications so far show that Jagr indeed wants it out there. Coach Pete DeBoer has a habit of shuffling lines but the Jagr-Zajac-Zubrus line has stayed intact. Free agent pickups Michael Ryder and Damien Brunner seem to be finding the back of the net after struggling for most of the season. Injuries to forwards like Stephen Gionta and Ryane Clowe have paved the way for Reid Boucher’s arrival but he has yet to shine while Adam Henrique has struggled to find his Calder-candidate form. Defensemen Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill, however, have risen from the ashes of the injured Bryce Salvador and Adam Larsson and have each performed well enough to sustain roster spots (should space allow for it) while giving Devils fans a bright look into the future.
December is a month the Devils wish hadn’t happened. So far they’re 2-5. While they haven’t been blown out, they’ve consistently lost close games to the Canadiens (twice), the Blue Jackets, the Penguins and the Red Wings. With the Devils recent struggles, prices for Devils tickets have fallen. The team’s home ticket average is $98, down a steep 22 percent since opening night. With this in mind, we look forward to 2014 and the Devils top 5 home games of the new year:
- 3/22 vs Rangers – AVG $182, Get-in $61, down 1%
- 4/4 vs Capitals – AVG $140, Get-in $25, no change
- 4/13 vs Bruins – AVG $136, Get-in $35, down 6%
- 1/3 vs Blackhawks – AVG $130, Get-in $45, down 3%
- 3/23 vs Maple Leafs – AVG $123, Get-in $22, no change