Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
It would have helped to have David Clarkson be included in this list, but unfortunately, he bolted for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pete DeBoer and his staff will most likely have to work with what they’ve got in this department.
At first glance, you’d expect guys like Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique to step up in Kovalchuk’s absence. In fact, a lot of people would argue the latter two would have had to play a role regardless of Kovalchuk’s retirement.
Henrique, who was a Calder finalist a year ago, recorded just 11 goals in 42 games last season. It was a disappointing sophomore campaign for the 23-year-old who showed so much promise in his first full season. One could credit his drop-off to a wrist injury that bothered the center early this past season.
Hopefully he’ll return to form when the Devils need him the most.
Other roster options include last year’s surprise acquisition, Andrei Loktionov, who showed he has what it takes to be an above-average goal scorer for New Jersey. He was able to rack up eight goals in 28 games in a red sweater, which is nothing to write home about, but over an 82-game season, we could see Loky hit the 20-goal threshold.
The team has been waiting for what seems like forever to see if Mattias Tedenby has what it takes to be an effective point producer for the Devils, so this might be his best shot. DeBoer tried injecting Tedenby on the first line to see if that would spark some offense, but nothing seemed to work. This could be the 23-year-old’s last chance with the Devils, so perhaps he’ll rise to the occasion in desperate times.
It's a pipe dream, but the idea of top offensive prospect Reid Boucher getting a look at training camp isn't out of the question.