New Jersey Devils Forward Adam Henrique: Making a Case for Rookie of the Year

Mark FischerContributor IIDecember 30, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Adam Henrique #14 of the New Jersey Devils (C)lebrates after scoring the game winning goal at 16:41 of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Prudential Center on November 8, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If I were to tell you before the start of the season that Adam Henrique was going to make a case to win the Calder Memorial Trophy, as the NHL's most outstanding rookie, you would have looked at me as if I had drunk too much of Lou Lamoriello's famous Kool-Aid.

Entering training camp this year, Henrique had one goal: to contend and win a battle for a  roster spot on the New Jersey Devils. He ended up making the big club, playing in a limited role on the team's fourth line. Shortly thereafter, Henrique was sent down to the Devils' minor league affiliate, the Albany Devils. After a brief stint in Albany, Henrique was recalled to the New Jersey Devils after a broken clavicle forced Jacob Josefson out of action.

Josefson's injury has turned into a beautiful blessing in disguise.

Ever since returning to the Devils lineup, due to the absence of Josefson, Henrique has been lighting it up, playing on the team's first line with top-tier players, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. Through 33 games this season, the 21-year-old native of Ontario, Canada, has registered 28 points— good for third most on a Devils team which boasts loads of offensive talent.

Not only is Henrique putting up points, he is also defensively savvy, teaming up with linemate Parise to form one of the most lethal shorthanded duos in the National Hockey League to date.

Henrique places second behind this past year's first overall draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for points scored by all rookies.

Even with the return of former first line center, Travis Zajac, Henrique has remained on the first line, and rightfully so.

Henrique has not only produced points himself, but has also brought out the best of Kovalchuk and Parise.

Back in early November, I pushed for Henrique to remain in the NHL even with the return of Zajac and Josefson, in an article I wrote on

The kid's sure making me look like a genius.