The New Jersey Devils suffered a major loss when Zach Parise signed with the Minnesota Wild. Even so, it’s onwards and upwards for the Devils as they will simply have to find a replacement.
So who are the most important Devils with Parise now departed? Here’s a look at three keys to the team’s success in the 2012-13 season:
Anyone who is even remotely capable of making NHL picks knows that Kovalchuk is crucial to the team’s success. He is now the main man offensively and he has to continue to be a difference-maker or the Devils simply won’t score enough goals to succeed. With Parise gone, there’s even more of a burden on him.
One of the keys to the upcoming season will be Zajac, who played in just 15 games last season. Zajac has twice been a 60-point man and now he’ll move into the role as the top center on the team.
He’s just entering his prime and if he returns to full strength, the Devils will be in decent shape even without Parise.
He might be over the 40-year-old hill, but he’s still one of the best goalies in the NHL. He proved just as much while outplaying Vezina Trophy-winner Henrik Lundqvist in the Eastern Conference final.
Without Brodeur, the Devils are just an ordinary team. He’s not what he once was but if the blue line helps him out, he’s still good enough to bring this team the Cup.
Adam Henrique/Adam Larsson
One way that the Devils can soften the blow from losing Parise is to continue seeing growth from their new guard. Last year’s rookies Henrique and Larsson flashed some impressive skill with both being considered for the Calder Trophy at different points in the season. Even bigger things will be expected in Year 2.
If this tandem can grow from good to great – or at least start to approach All-Star status – the Devils won’t miss Parise as many believe.