We all know the Devils’ summer was defined by Ilya Kovalchuk, but how much of next season will be? A New York Post preview article raises an interesting point about how Kovalchuk’s acquisition altered the team’s playing style last season -- and it wasn’t for the better, according to Mark Everson:
“Previously, the team prospered by dumping the puck from the red line when confronted by defenses, winning races and outbumping opponents.
“Suddenly, star players were intent on carrying the puck across the blue line, making passing plays and keeping possession.
“It didn't work then, was never solved, and now, it's up to MacLean to get these two distinct philosophies playing the same way, reacting similarly to the same keys. Good luck.”
The article goes on to list some prospects with a shot to stick on the Devils’ roster this season. Among them lie jewels like Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby, as well as the likes of Alexander Urbom, Tyler Eckford, Matt Corrente, Adam Henrique, Nick Palmeri and Vladimir Zharkov.
In other roster news, a previous Post article puts Dainius Zubrus on the record as not wanting to leave New Jersey. That reluctance probably means he won’t be willing to sit out the NHL season and play in Europe, a move that could alleviate his salary cap hit ($3.4 million) the same way the Blackhawks buried the contract of G Cristobal Huet.