New Jersey Devils 2011-12: 5 Keys to the Upcoming Season

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New Jersey Devils 2011-12:  5 Keys to the Upcoming Season
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It may be hard to believe, but the start of another hockey season is just around the corner.  Opening night is about two months away, so with that comes the thought of what will be the key questions for the New Jersey Devils to answer/address this upcoming season.

It's been an offseason with a lot of changes, including once again a new head coach in Peter DeBoer. Then again, that isn't necessarily anything new for a team that has had a revolving door at that spot for the last few years for a variety of different reasons. 

Gone are familiar faces like Brian Rolston (traded to NY Islanders) and Colin White (bought out and subsequently signed by San Jose).  

Newcomers include the likes of Adam Larsson (drafted No. 4 overall), as well as potential rookies like Alexander Urbom and Adam Henrique.  

Let's also remember players like Zach Parise, Bryce Salvador and Matt Taormina who are set to return from significant injuries, missing most of last season with knee, head and ankle injuries respectively.

Add to the mix returning youngsters like Jacob Josefson, Mark Fayne, Mattias Tedenby and Nick Palmieri and it gives the Devils and their fans a lot to get excited about.  

We also should not overlook the one thing the Devils have this year that they have not had in recent years, and that is cap space, allowing them to have a major in-season acquisition should the opportunity present itself.

As it stands now, the depth chart looks something like this.

Forwards (15):  Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Nick Palmieri, Dainius Zubrus, David Clarkson, Rod Pelley, David Steckel, Eric Boulton, Vladmir Zharkov, Cam Janssen, Adam Henrique

Defensemen (11):  Anton Volchenkov, Henrik Tallinder, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador, Mark Fayne, Matt Taormina, Adam Larsson, Alexander Urbom, Matthew Corrente, Mark Fraser, Jay Leach

Goaltenders (two):  Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg

There will be a lot more players invited to training camp and all, but as of today, these are probably the 28 most likely guys to make the 23-man roster.

There still could be a tweak to the roster, or a younger player could always step up and earn a roster spot with a great training camp.

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