Adam Henrique Leads A Strong Group Of Devils Centers


In the National Hockey League, it is paramount to have good goaltending and a solid defense. It is also extremely important to have strength down the middle. It’s the same concept as in baseball: if you’re strong down the middle (catcher, pitcher, short stop, second base, centerfield) then you will be successful. As it pertains to hockey, the center position is one of the most important on the ice. Centers have to be good in both ends as well as be strong on faceoffs.

Right now, the Devils have a group of centers that are well-balanced and compliment each other. That group should be led by Adam Henrique and followed by Travis Zajac, Scott Gomez and Jacob Josefson. They also have Scott Timmins in Albany who has been impressive since he was acquired two years ago. The Devils have a good mix of offense, defense, scoring, passing and guys that can play in all situations. They need a lot of help on the wing, but down the middle the Devils look set for the forseeable future.

Live Feed

Alexander Holtz must dominate New Jersey Devils training camp
Alexander Holtz must dominate New Jersey Devils training camp /

Puck Prose

  • 3 bold predictions for the New Jersey Devils in 2023-24FanSided
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • The Top 5 under 25 goaltenders entering the 2023-24 NHL seasonPuck Prose
  • The 2024 NHL Stadium Series will make history this upcoming seasonPuck Prose
  • How the Blue Jackets Stack Up Against the Rest of the MetroUnion and Blue
  • Adam Henrique

    There is a lot of concern about whether the Devils have a true top-line center. As I wrote earlier this season, I truly believe they do and his name is Adam Henrique. He isn’t on the level of a Sidney Crosby or even a Nicklas Backstrom, but he is a damn good hockey player. Henrique is reliable in the faceoff dot as he wins around 50% of his draws and he can play both power play and penalty kill. He’s the best all-around forward the Devils currently have and he’s leading the team in points. For some reason, Henrique spends his time at third-line center or top-line left wing but he should be the team’s top-line center next season for 82 games. If he is given that role from day one and has some real talent around him, the Devils’ scoring woes should come to an end.

    Travis Zajac

    Unfortunately, Zajac has drawn the ire of much of the fanbase. I understand it because he has been very underwhelming this season offensively. After having back-to-back 60+ point years in 2008-2010 he has had 44, 20 (lockout season), 48 and then just 20 so far this season. If Zajac could score 50+ points, I think people would be very happy with that. What makes him the center of attention is the eight year, $46 million contract he signed in 2013 after the lockout ended. As of now, he has not lived up to that deal on the offensive end, but he is an outstanding defensive center. He wins far over 50% of his faceoffs and does a great job shutting down the opposition’s top centers. I have faith that, with the right wingers, he will find his offense again and still be the defensive stalwart that he is. He’s a perfect second-line center behind Henrique.

    Jan 6, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez (21) skates with the puck during the second period of their game against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Scott Gomez

    Is there a better story this NHL season than Scott Gomez? I don’t think so. As he wrote yesterday in his article for the Players’ Tribune, Gomer has had quite a journey throughout his career. This season, he’s been rejuvenated and is fourth on the team in points after missing two months. Currently, he’s the top-line center but I feel like he fits perfectly as the third-line center for next season. He’s not very strong on faceoffs, but he more than makes up for it with his smooth skating through the neutral zone and brilliant vision. He makes passes nobody else sees and that’s why he’s second on the team in assists. Having Gomer center the third-line with Patrik Elias on his left wing, the Devils would be able to throw out three legitimate scoring lines as they aim for the postseason for the first time in three years.

    Jacob Josefson

    I can admit when I’m wrong and I was wrong about Jacob Josefson. I truly did not see a future for him and thought he was a bust. He was injured far too often and simply not effective when he was healthy. This season, however, he’s been terrific. While he hasn’t quite lived up to the first-round pick label, he has become an important player for the Devils. As a fourth-line center, he doesn’t get the cream of the crop to work with on a daily basis but he makes his mark on the penalty kill and in shootouts. He’s the Devils’ best option in the skills competition and three of his four goals this season have come shorthanded. Josefson fits in perfectly as the fourth-line center next season – he can bump up to the third if there’s an injury – and provide strong defense from that spot. If he has Steve Bernier and Jordin Tootoo on his wings, there might even be some offense to come from that trio.

    The Devils certainly don’t have top name centers in the NHL, but they have a strong group nonetheless. What those four players do is compliment each other and that’s how you build a winning team. Henrique handles the scoring, Zajac shuts down the opposition, Gomez passes the puck and Josefson dominates the shootout/PK. I love the group of centers the Devils have and think with the right wings around them, the Devils can be a very good team next season.

    Next: Scott Gomez's Powerful First-Hand Account

    More from Pucks and Pitchforks