New Jersey Devils 2012 Stanley Cup Team: Where are they now?

Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils might be Stanley Cup contenders now, but it hasn’t always been this way, especially in recent years. What happened to the 2012 contending squad in the 11 years since their Finals berth? For this exercise, we’ll only discuss players who played prominent roles on a Devils team during the 2012 Stanley Cup run. 

In the 2012 playoff race, the New Jersey Devils captured the hearts of hockey fans everywhere, as a Cinderella story of sorts. Considered a fringe playoff team heading into the 2011-12 season, the New Jersey Devils surprised many with a 48-26-6 record, which would secure them a 102-point season and the fourth seed in the East.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the New Jersey Devils were able to make it as far as they did in the regular season without several key players. Stephen Gionta (AHL), Steve Bernier, Travis Zajac, Henrik Tallinder, and Andy Greene all missed significant portions of the season. Most returned to play a hand in the Devils’ triumphs over the Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers. Tallinder missed five months, though, and sat from January 17 all the way up until Game Four of the Finals on June 9.

Henrik Tallinder of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Ottawa Senators in 2011. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Henrik Tallinder of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Henrik Tallinder

Speaking of Henrik Tallinder, his absence created a huge void on the New Jersey Devils defense that year. It’s hard to find a way to describe Tallinder’s Devils tenure better than that. At least Tallinder was able to return in the 2012 playoffs and feature in the Devils’ only two wins in their 4-2 Finals loss to the Los Angeles Kings. If he’d been available for the first three losses, maybe things would have ended differently.

Tallinder joined the Devils as a free agent in 2010, signing a four-year, $13.5 million contract, and was a pretty effective player when healthy. In his first year in Red and Black, Tallinder played all 82 games and was second amongst Devils skaters in average ice time only to Ilya Kovalchuk.

Things took a turn for the worse after that, where Tallinder would play just 64 games across the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons before Lou Lamoriello decided he had seen enough of the 6’4″ Swede.

Henrik Tallinder was traded back to his original team, the Buffalo Sabres, on July 7, 2013, in exchange for Riley Boychuk. Tallinder played 64 games for the Sabres that year in what would be his last year in the NHL. He tried out for the Toronto Maple Leafs and played briefly for the Hartford Wolf Pack in the New York Rangers’ organization before heading to Finland.

Riley Boychuk never played for New Jersey and instead spent 18 games with the Albany Devils, scoring two points. It appears that was his last year of playing professional hockey.

Henrik Tallinder spent one year with ZSC in Switzerland, and then had three productive seasons with TPS in Liiga after leaving North America. Tallinder also won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Tallinder officially retired from professional hockey in October of 2018 and now lives with his family in Finland.