Well Devil fans it’s almost that time again…the start of the 2008-2009 NHL season. After last years disappointing loss to the New York Rangers in the first round, the Devils have gone out and made some great off season moves to improve the team and to hopefully get the Devils over the playoff slump they have been experiencing since the last time they won the Stanley Cup in 2002-2003 season.
The first big move the Devils made was signing free agent Brian Rolston to a four-year deal for over 20 million over the next four years. Rolston has been playing for the Minnesota Wild for the past three years and had a solid season last year with 28 goals and 31 assists.
This addition will help the Devils greatly, as he began his career with the Devils and he knows the system well. He could also fill the hole that was left when Gomez betrayed the Devils and signed with the rival New York Rangers.
The second big move the Devils made was signing Bobby Holik to a one year deal worth 2.5 million. Bobby Holik clearly on the decline of his career didn’t have a great season last year as he only had 15 goals and 19 assists for the Atlanta Thrashers.
However a move back to the New Jersey Devils could revitalize the 6’4, 230 pound center. With the Devils early in his career he had many great seasons where he put up points and played tough hard nosed defense.
He was also there for their Stanley Cup win in 1995 and 2000. Hopefully the good Bobby Holik will be seen this year as he returns to the team he played for as a rookie.
The New Jersey Devils should have another great season this year. They didn’t lose any big players and added two that should help the team improve. You can expect another great year out of Zack Parise, who led the Devils in points last year with 65.
Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta should bounce back and score more goals this year with the addition of Rolston. Last year, they both had disappointing goal totals as Elias had 22 and Gionta had 20.
Defensively, the Devils are not as good as they were back in the Stanley Cup days but they have some skilled young guys playing the positions. Paul Martin had a great year last year and came out looking like the best defenseman on the team.
This year I think that Bryce Salvador and Vitaly Vishnevski have to prove themselves and contribute to a Devils defense which used to be known as the best in the NHL.
It has been rumored that Lou Lamoriello is looking to add another defenseman possibly two that will help contribute and get this team back to where they belong…in the Stanley Cup finals.
As for Marty Brodeur, I don’t think I even need to go in to that. We all know he will have yet another solid year and will most likely win 40 games yet again. I don’t believe he’ll win the Vezina trophy again, but you can never count out Marty Brodeur. Brodeur will be key to the New Jersey Devils season this year as he always is.
Now the question is can the Devils win the Atlantic division? Although a toss up, they have the talent on the roster to win the division, but for the first time in years every single team in the Atlantic can compete and even win the division. So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, in this very exciting upcoming hockey season.