New Jersey Devils: 10 Players Who Have Earned a Spot on Next Year's Team

Ron Miller@@rfmiller80Contributor IIIMay 30, 2012

New Jersey Devils: 10 Players Who Have Earned a Spot on Next Year's Team

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    This postseason, the New Jersey Devils have received major contributions from some unlikely and surprising places.

    Several players, who at the beginning of the playoffs were simply afterthoughts, have come to the forefront and played a major role in New Jersey's Stanley Cup run.

    However, this will make the crafting of next year's Devils team all the more difficult, as they look to hold onto as many players as they can while trying to re-sign other key parts.

    Here are 10 Devils who have clearly earned a spot on next year's team.

Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter

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    New Jersey has crafted a remarkable fourth line that has only begin to take form this postseason.

    Consisting of Steve Bernier, Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter, the Devils' fourth line has really embodied New Jersey's style of play this postseason with timely goal-scoring, physical play and hard work.

    While it will be very difficult to bring back all three players, the line's undeniable chemistry will force New Jersey's front office to give it their best shot.

    Stephen Gionta, little brother of former Devils star Brian Gionta, played almost all of the regular season in the AHL. He was called up right before the playoffs and has not looked back since.

    Gionta has two goals, four assists and six points this postseason.

    His energetic and physical style of play will be a huge asset for New Jersey in the future.

    Ryan Carter has four goals, one of which was the game winner in a pivotal Game 5 against the Rangers.

    Also, Steve Bernier has two goals and four assists in these playoffs.

Peter Harrold

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    Ironically, before joining the Devils this year, defenseman Peter Harrold played five years with the Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey's Stanley Cup Final opponents.

    After playing in only 11 games in the regular season, Harrold has come to life in these playoffs.

    He has four assists and is a plus-four in 14 games in these playoffs.

Alexei Ponikarovsky

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    Ponikarovsky is another upcoming free agent who New Jersey will seriously consider bringing back in 2012-2013.

    The left-winger has six points this postseason. He also had the overtime game winner against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Devils' second-round series.

Mark Fayne

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    Fayne will be a restricted free agent this summer and may be facing a hefty pay raise due to his solid play in these playoffs.

    He has three assists and is a plus-five this postseason.

    Fayne has also played extremely disciplined in these playoffs. He has only one penalty while averaging 20 minutes of ice time every game.

Adam Larsson

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    It was unsure if the Devils rookie defender would even make the squad out of training camp when the season started.

    However, the 19-year-old Larsson has solidified his spot on next year's team with some solid contributions in these playoffs.

    Larsson has played only five games this postseason. However, he brings an offensive punch with him that the Devils need from their blueline.

    His third period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers is what got the ball rolling for the Devils in these playoffs.

Jacob Josefson

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    The 21-year-old center was inserted into the Devils' lineup when coach Peter DeBoer decided to scratch veteran Petr Sykora against the New York Rangers.

    Josefson has one assist and is a plus-one in three contests this postseason.

    The speed and youth he brings to this New Jersey squad is very valuable. 

Andy Greene

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    While he has managed only one assist in 18 games this postseason, the defensive play of Devils defender Andy Greene has been tremendous.

    Greene is a plus-one and averages around 22 minutes per night of ice time.

    The 29-year-old Michigan native is also very disciplined. He has only six penalty minutes in these playoffs.

Bryce Salvador

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    Salvador will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, however, his brilliant play this postseason will almost force the Devils to re-sign him.

    Salvador is a plus-10 with three goals, eight assists and 11 points.

    The 36-year-old defender is also averaging 22 minutes of ice time per night.