In terms of consistency, Dainius Zubrus has been one of the best on this team since signing in 2007.
Zubrus has played in at least 79 games in four of the five full seasons he's been in New Jersey, missing time due to injury only once in 2009-10.
The 35-year-old did miss extended time last season during the shortened season, and it was clear that he was missed in the lineup as the year went on. He did, however, score five points in the team's final 13 games when he did return from a wrist injury.
Zubrus had his best season with the Devils in 2011-12, scoring 17 goals and recording another 44 points while helping New Jersey reach the Stanley Cup Final. He found consistency playing with Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora, and the Devils hope he can step up his game this year without Kovalchuk and Clarkson in the lineup.
While he isn't going to light up the scoreboard, Zubrus is almost guaranteed to provide close to 30 points a season for New Jersey. The Devils can count on him to play well and not make mistakes, and that's what makes him such a valuable asset to this organization.
With Kovalchuk gone, I expect Peter DeBoer to use Zubrus much more than he has in the past—it just depends on who he is paired with on opening night. Elias will likely move to the top line, but perhaps putting Zubrus (6'5", 225 lbs) with Clowe (6'2", 225 lbs) and Steve Bernier (6'3", 220 lbs) would give the Devils a big, powerful third line.
The good thing about Zubrus is he can play center or the wing, so expect him to move around as the season goes on. Now that he is completely healthy and has a new three-year contract with New Jersey, I expect him to have a big year.