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Monday, January 7, 2013
Three questions for the Devils

By Mike Mazzeo

The lockout is over -- and hockey is back! With that in mind, here are three questions facing the Devils as they head into training camp.

Where is the scoring going to come from?

Zach Parise is gone, taking his 31 goals and 38 assists up to Minnesota (13 years, $98 million). Calder Memorial Trophy finalist Adam Henrique is likely to miss the start of the season, as he rehabs a broken hand. That means Ilya Kovalchuk (37 goals, 83 points), Travis Zajac (played just 15 games during the regular season due to injury) and Patrik Elias (52 assists, 78 points) are going to have to carry the load offensively.

Will New Jersey be able to get the same production they got from their fourth line (Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier) in the postseason?

What can we expect from Martin Brodeur?

Brodeur is 40 now. He signed a two-year deal to remain with the Devils in the offseason. Brodeur’s 2011-12 season got off to a bit of a rocky start, but he turned back the clock and carried the team within two wins of the Stanley Cup (2.12 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in the playoffs). After so much time off due to the lockout, how will he play this season? How will coach Peter DeBoer make sure Brodeur remains fresh? Johan Hedberg has been a steady backup behind Brodeur. Until he physically can’t play anymore, there’s little reason to doubt Brodeur ... right?

Can the Devils get back to the finals?

The last time there was a lockout-shortened season (1994-95), the Devils defied the odds and won it all. Who would’ve predicted they’d get to the finals last year? No one. But they did. New Jersey has always seemed to be able to overcome the loss of key players. They certainly won’t be favorites heading into the season, but don’t be surprised if the Devils do something you don’t expect.