With the loss of Zach Parise, the Devils have a new face of the franchise who will be here for the next 14 years. His name….. Ilya Kovalchuk.
Never in franchise history has there been a more dangerous player on the ice for them. His skating and stick handling are second to none in the league but what makes him the most dangerous is his lightning quick and accurate shot.
In my opinion he is the second best sniper in the game only to his fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin.
This is now the player who will be the leader of the team for the foreseeable future. When Kovy came to the Devils he was only that, a sniper. Whenever he was on the ice he was a big liability in his own end, many times giving up the puck and not back checking when the other team was in the Devils zone. His stats showed that he was an abysmal -17 in his first year and a half with the team.
Not only was his defense a problem but the team was losing as well, making it look like the trading and signing of Kovy would be the downfall of the organization that had been one of the most successful for the previous 20 years.
But last season that all changed. Not only did Kovy’s scoring return, but we saw a side that was never seen in him before and that was defense. Last season Kovy turned into an all around player that made him one of the most valuable player in the game.
With, then new coach Peter DeBoer, Kovy was able to turn into a player that you could send out in any situation during the game, while always being that offensive threat that turned him into a super star.
Last year we saw everything you want to see out of the leader of your team, a player who can light up the lamp, play defense, back check, play through adversity when he was not 100% (e.g. the playoffs), and also drop the gloves when the situation calls for it.
He is respected throughout the organization for his hard work. We, as fans, saw that hard work last year when he lead the devils to an Eastern Conference championship.
This year we will see even more from Kovy. A shortened year will give him fresher legs when the playoffs start and we will see the new face of the franchise march our team through the playoffs and win our beloved Devils another Stanley Cup.