With the loss of Zach Parise, the New Jersey Devils will need to find scoring elsewhere. These three Devils are the ones who will need to step up in order to fill the void left by the departure of Parise to the Minnesota Wild:
2011- 2012: 41 GP, 2 G, 7 A
This is a big year for Josefson. After being taken 20th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, Josefson has not lived up to expectations due to a string of injuries he has suffered in his time with the Devils. When healthy, he has shown that he can be a great 2nd/3rd line center who can be one of the up and coming two way players in the game.
The big if is: if he can stay healthy. This year especially, Josefson will need to stay healthy in order to help the Devils make up for the loss of Parise’s scoring.
During the lockout, Josefson played in Albany with the Devils AHL affiliate. He was able to show some of the skill sets that made him a first round pick of the Devils. In 30 games, he put up eight goals and 12 assists, while posting a team high +10. These numbers aren’t eye popping but you couldn’t ask for more from a third line center.
These stats show he is very responsible in his own end while having a little scoring flare in the process. Josefson will need to translate these numbers into an NHL season.
With that being said I predict in this 48 game schedule he will have to put up similar numbers in order for the devils to be successful.
2013 Prediction: 43 GP, 9 G, 14 A
2011-2012 w/Ottawa: 56 GP, 6 G, 10 A
But those numbers dropped off considerably last season and Ottawa believed he wouldn’t be the player they thought he would be. Lou Lamoriello took a flier on him after they lost Parise.
Butler also played with Albany during the lockout. After getting off to a slow start, he started to light up the lamp and began to prove that this may be a very good, under the radar signing by Lou.
In 32 games with Albany, he posted 15 goals and eight assists. Those numbers show he still has that scoring touch that made Ottawa believe he would be an up and coming scorer in the league.
With the Devils, he will be seeing a lot of second line action since the team has very little depth at the wing position. He will have to put some pucks in the net in order for the Devils to be in the playoffs again.
2013 Prediction: 48 GP, 12 G, 12 A
2011-2012: 74 GP, 16 G, 35 A
Henrique gave the Devils exactly what they needed last year, a scoring center. Before Henrique broke on the scene, the Devils were very thin at the center position, and many believed that the position would be the downfall of the Devils.
But Henrique came out of nowhere and lit the world on fire finishing fourth on the team in points. He did very well for the Devils last year, finishing 3rd in the rookie of the year voting, but with the loss of Parise, Henrique will now have to take his game to another level.
Playing in Albany, he didn’t do as well as many believed he would, finishing with five goals and three assists in 16 games.
Playing alongside either Elias or Kovalchuck will be a big boost for him. Being one of the premier, young players in the league, the team will need to see him take the next step this year and become a very good, close to all-star status, player. He has everything you love in a player, vision, scoring touch, and a grittiness that all fans love to see in their players.
To me, he is almost an exact replica of Parise at this point in his career. In Parise’s first NHL season, he finished with 14 goals and 18 assists in 81 games. Henrique put up better numbers in his first year but Parise did take that next step in his second year, scoring 31 goals with 31 assists.
We will soon find out if Henrique can be the next Parise for the Devils for years to come.
2013 Prediction: 40 GP, 15 G, 22 A
The Devils will need these three players to really step up for them. If they are able to come close to my predictions, then we could be in for another special season just like the last lockout shortened season back in 1995.