New Jersey Devils: The Stars of the Week


As the New Jersey Devils hit the midpoint of the season, we’re bringing a new feature to Pucks and Pitchforks.

Starting now, and for the rest of the season, we will be giving our three stars of the week based on the overall player performances during that week.

First of all, Happy New Year from all of us here at Pucks and Pitchforks. Our resolution in 2016 is to continue to bring you new and exciting pieces on everything New Jersey Devils related.

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In addition to naming the three stars on a weekly basis, we will also be awarding and tallying points to the players based on their ranking, with the third star getting one point, the second star getting two points, and the first star getting three points.

At the end of each month, we will also award the star of the month, who will receive five points. The player with the most points at the end of the season will win the honorary Pucks and Pitchforks “Star of the Year” award, so may the best Devil win.

This week, the New Jersey Devils went 3-0-0 overall, with another relentless comeback against the Carolina Hurricanes, an impressive shutout against the Ottawa Senators, and a huge overtime victory against the Dallas Stars, the best team in the NHL. The team looked great as a whole, but there can only be three stars in this post.

Third Star: Travis Zajac– Since returning to the lineup from the IR, Zajac has provided the New Jersey Devils something they have been desperately missing, wins in the faceoff circle. The Devils as a whole are not strong on faceoffs, so they were really missing Zajac, who is one of the leagues best in the circle.

In addition to his ability in the faceoff circle, Zajac continued to exhibit his strong two-way in both ends of the ice and on special teams. He even chipped in offensively this week, with three assists, including the primary assist on our next star’s game winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Second Star: David Schlemko– You know how we have all been giving John Hynes heat about not regularly playing Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill? Well the guy who has been getting that playing time over them has continued to make the most of that opportunity.

It was quite an impressive week for David Schlemko, who continues to be rock solid in the defensive zone for the Devils. He even chipped in offensively by scoring the game winning goal against Carolina on Tuesday.

Sometimes a player does not need to be the night’s top scorer or have the game winning goal to be named a star. Often times, it is their effectiveness in the defensive zone or their excellent two-way game that earn them this praise.

First Star: Cory Schneider– Without Cory Schneider, the Devils would be one of the worst teams in the NHL.

How many times have we heard that this year? Well get used to hearing it because it is true.

Cory Schneider again exemplified this week why he is the backbone of the New Jersey Devils, and one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, with an impressive 36 save shutout against a relentless attacking Ottawa Senators team. Schneider was a brick wall and had to make some tough saves to win this game.

Schneider was also excellent in the win against the Dallas Stars. Although the Devils let a 2-0 lead get away from them in the third period, the blame cannot be put solely on Schneider. He stepped up big when it mattered and made some huge saves, and that is why he is our first star of the week.

Next week, the New Jersey Devils have three more games at hand, with the first being a Metropolitan Division matchup at home against the Detroit Red Wings. After making a stop in Montreal to face the Canadiens, New Jersey will return home to face the Boston Bruins.

Star Point Rankings:

  1. Cory Schneider- 3
  2. David Schlemko- 2
  3. Travis Zajac- 1

Next: New Jersey Devils Weekly Prospect Highlight: Raman Hrabarenka

What do you think about my three stars for this week? Is there someone who you think should be on there, or should someone on my list be ranked higher? Feel free to give thoughts in the comments section below.

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