At the end of each season, the New Jersey Devils select a team MVP, known within the franchise as the Most Valuable Devil. Martin Brodeur has unsurprisingly won the award 10 times, the most in franchise history.
Over the past four years (none awarded last season) the award has gone to a forward. Will 2013-14 see that trend continue or will a goalie reclaim the prize?
If a forward is to win the award this year, it will most likely be a new addition to the team. If a longer-tenured Devil is to win the award, Patrik Elias is the safest bet.
The Devils have always depended heavily on the play of their goaltenders, and this year is no different. This year is different in that the team has two starting-caliber goal tenders. Both Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur will try to play as much as possible this year.
Because of that, Martin Brodeur is not the only goaltender who can contend for the MVD award this year.
The season is still early, but it is never too early to set odds for which player will prove the most valuable to the team over the course of the season.
Damien Brunner, Newark's newest Devil, has already seen an increase in his odds to win Most Valuable Devil at the end of the year.
Although it is never wise to put a lot of stock in two games, Brunner has already shown a knack for scoring goals.
Two goals in two games is nice, but what is really impressive about Brunner's performance is his 16.7 percent shooting.
If he can keep that up over the course of the season, he would be a shoe in for MVD. He still has a long way to go before proving that he is more than a flash in the pan.
MVD Odds: 10 to 1
Patrik Elias is New Jersey's most prolific scorer in history—375 goals, 555 assists and 930 points for the Devils.
If he can add 70 points in 2013-14, he will be the first Devils to ever break 1,000. While it may seem like a long shot, Elias has hit that mark five times in his career and missed it by less than ten on two other occasions.
If he is able to put up a point total anywhere over 70, then his chances to win MVD will obviously skyrocket.
However, with a practically brand new supporting cast, it will take the team a little bit longer to really get going. Therefore, because Elias has always been more of a setup man than a goal scorer, his impact may not truly be felt until later in the season.
When the team does kick it into the next gear, Patrik Elias will play a huge role.
MVD Odds: 7 to 1
Jaromir Jagr has the potential to completely change New Jersey's season. Although nothing is guaranteed, that potential alone boosts his odds to win Most Valuable Devil.
A lot of Jagr's physical skills have faded with age, but his hockey IQ will allow him to be just as effective at setting up goals as Patrik Elias.
On top of that, he still has the ability to finish scoring plays.
Although he has been nearly invisible during New Jersey's first two games, it should only be a matter of time before he starts lighting up the scoreboard. If he can do it as much as he has done it in the not too distant past, he has a very real chance of winning Most Valuable Devil.
MVD Odds: 5 to 1
Martin Brodeur has already won Most Valuable Devil 10 times since 1995-96. The last time he won, however, was 2007-08.
Since that year, Brodeur has begun to see a decrease in playing time due to nagging injuries. Looking past an obviously below average performance in his 2013-14 debut, Brodeur is still very effective when he's healthy.
Over the past three seasons, despite a smaller sample size of 150 games, Brodeur has a GAA of 2.36 and a SV% of .904. Those numbers are well outside of his career averages.
The hope in 2013-14, is that the addition of Cory Schneider will help Brodeur stay fresh over the course of the season.
With this also possibly being the final campaign of Brodeur's career, he may dig down and find a little extra juice for one more successful run.
MVD Odds: 5 to 1
Like his counterpart, Cory Schneider was not very impressive in his first game of the season.
Expect him to improve quickly as he is set to play his former team in Vancouver this week. Cory Schneider has the skill set and versatility to be a tremendous goaltender in this league.
It would not be a huge surprise if Schneider ends up playing more than Brodeur this year, given Marty's recent struggles to stay on the ice.
If Schneider does see extended time because of Brodeur's inability to stay healthy, he can quickly establish himself as the team's starting goalie.
Over the past two decades, the Devils have been a team built around goaltending. Cory Schneider is slotted to continue that tradition. This may be the year when he finally shows the league just how valuable he is.
MVD Odds: 3 to 1