Which New Jersey Devils Would You Consider “Untouchable?”

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Feb 23, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) falls to the ice as New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique (14) skates past with the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Henrique

by David Berger

New Jersey Devils and young forwards aren’t two phrases that usually go together unless the word “need” is between them. Well, as it pertains to guys in the top six, the Devils certainly have one in Adam Henrique. Rico – as his teammates like to call him – burst onto the scene in 2011-2012 when Travis Zajac went down with an Achilles injury. All he did was take a spot on the top line between Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk, leading the Devils to a 102 point season and the playoffs. He was then a key contributor on the third line during that run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

That year he finished third in the Calder Trophy voting, but he certainly had a case for winning it. Since then, he’s still been a very good player. Last year he led the team with 25 goals and this season he’s currently leading the team in points with 38 – 16G, 22A. I truly feel like Henrique is capable of being a top line center for the Devils and he’s also a very realistic candidate, along with Andy Greene, to be the next captain.

Now, why is he untouchable? I know some people will say he can be replaced, and that’s not my argument. Adam Henrique is a very, very good player but he’s not the caliber of a Sidney Crosby or a Nicklas Backstrom. He’s a good two-way center, but he’s certainly replaceable. My argument for why Henrique is untouchable is simply because what’s the point of adding a young forward if you have to lose one?

Aside from the draft, the next best way to add a young, top six forward is via trade. Say the Devils can pick up James van Riemsdyk, but they need to include Adam Henrique in the package. What’s the point? You’re adding a better player, sure, but you have to give up a lot to get him. So now you have JVR and you don’t have Henrique to play with him. Basically, I feel Henrique is untouchable because he’s exactly what the Devils are in need of – young top six forwards. There’s no point giving one up to get one. That doesn’t push the team forward; it just leaves them exactly where they are.

Next: A Young But Talented Defenseman