Top 10 New Jersey Devils of All-Time
The New Jersey Devils are celebrating their 30th season this year in the Garden State, a history that includes three Stanley Cup championships and a host of other accolades.
Despite all their success, whittling down the Devils' all-time roster to 10 outstanding players isn't as hard as you might think. There are more than a few deserving skaters, but these are the ones that stand out to me from 1982 until now.
Bobby Holik (1992-2002, 2008-2009)
Originally drafted by the Hartford Whalers, Holik was traded to the Devils in 1992, and stayed for a decade. He scored a career-high 29 goals in 1997-98, registered a career-high 119 penalty minutes the following winter, and eventually signed with the New York Rangers as a free agent in 2002.
After two years in Manhattan and three more in Atlanta, the 6-foot-4, 220-lb. Holik played his final NHL campaign with New Jersey in 2008-09.
Ken Daneyko (1983-2003)
"Mr. Devil" spent his entire 20-year career in a New Jersey uniform. He played in more games (1,283) in team history than anyone, and was one of just five players to win three Stanley Cups with the organization.
A first-round draft choice in 1982, Daneyko made his NHL debut with the Devils in 1983-84, and was in New Jersey for good by 1985-86. He recorded 200 or more penalty minutes in a season five times, and topped 100 minutes no less than 10 times.
The first Devil ever to score a home playoff goal at the Meadowlands in 1988, he ended his career 15 years later on that same ice with one last shift in New Jersey's Game Seven win in the Stanley Cup Finals over Anaheim.
His No. 3 was retired by the Devils in 2006, and he now serves as an off-ice commentator on Devils' telecasts.
Zach Parise (2005-Present)
Parise has been a top scorer and a tenacious skater for the Devils since he made his NHL debut in 2005, following two standout seasons at the University of North Dakota, and one year with Albany (AHL).
Despite missing all but 13 games to a meniscus tear last season, the Minnesota native had collected 163 goals and 341 points in 420 career NHL games, all with New Jersey, through the 2010-11 season.
A second team NHL All-Star in 2009, when he tallied a career-high 45 goals and 94 points, he won a silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, scoring the game-tying goal in the final minute of the championship game against Canada.
Named the Devils' team captain prior to the 2011-12 campaign, Parise will be a free agent next year.
Claude Lemieux (1990-1995, 1999-00)
Lemieux galvanized the Devils to their first Cup victory in 1995 by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy with 13 goals that postseason, including a memorable last-minute game-winning slap shot at Philadelphia.
He scored 142 regular-season goals in his Devils' tenure, including 49 tallies on the power play, and added 627 penalty minutes. He also had a knack for agitating opposing players like few others who have ever worn the Devils' colors.
Bruce Driver (1983-1995)
One of the best puck-moving defensemen the Devils have ever had, Driver was one of the core members who suffered through the lean years at the Meadowlands in the 1980s, before the Devils rose to the top of the NHL in 1995. He also won an NCAA championship with Wisconsin, and played in the 1984 Olympics for Team Canada.
He tallied 399 regular-season points with New Jersey, third amongst Devils defenseman all-time, and still ranks second among team blue liners with 33 goals and 135 assists on the power play. He finished his career across the Hudson River, playing three seasons with the New York Rangers.
John MacLean (1983-1997)
Though his head coaching tenure in New Jersey didn't work out last season, MacLean was still one of the most prolific scorers the Devils have ever had in their lineup.
Drafted sixth overall in 1983, he still stands first all-time amongst Devils scorers with 347 goals and second with 701 points, along with 92 power-play goals and 55 game-winners in regular-season play. He added 31 goals and 75 points in the playoffs, and was a member of New Jersey's first Stanley Cup title team in 1995.
A ten-time 20-goal scorer with the Devils, MacLean also recorded three straight seasons of 41 or more goals (1989-1991). He finished his career with stints with San Jose, the Rangers, and Dallas, retiring for good in 2002, and then turned to coaching.
Patrik Elias (1995-Present)
The longest-tenured skater on the Devils roster, Elias is also New Jersey's all-time leading scorer, and had tallied 335 goals and 481 assists for 816 points prior to this season.
He was part of New Jersey's high-scoring "A Line" with Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora, the trio that led the Devils to their second Stanley Cup in 2000. Elias also played on the Devils' Cup championship team in 2003, and had five goals and 13 points in New Jersey's title run that spring.
A nine-time 20-goal scorer, Elias still holds the Devils' single-season record with 96 points during the 2000-01 campaign. He was averaging a point per game to start the 2011-12 season, and has recorded 60 or more points in a season no less than seven times.
Scott Niedermayer (1991-2004)
One of the best skaters ever to lace them up for the Devils, Niedermayer was just one of five players who were with New Jersey for all three of its Cups.
He still ranks first all-time amongst Devils' defensemen with 112 goals, 364 assists and 476 career points, including 51 goals and 138 assists on the power play. After captaining the Devils in 2004, he headed west to Anaheim, where he won a Stanley Cup with his brother, Rob, in 2007.
His No. 27 will be retired in New Jersey before the Devils game with Dallas on Dec. 16.
Scott Stevens (1991-2004)
One of the hardest hitters in hockey history, Stevens captained the Devils to all three of their Cups, and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP in 2000 when New Jersey ultimately dispatched defending champ Dallas in six games.
He collected 337 assists and 430 points in 956 regular-season games with the Devils, including 1,007 penalty minutes and 28 power-play goals.
Stevens' numerous hard hits are harder to quantify; but he turned around many a Devils game, especially in the playoffs, with some truly devastating checks. His No. 4 was retired by New Jersey in 2006, and he now works with the Devils as a special assignment coach.
Martin Brodeur (1992-Present)
Still stopping the puck at age 39, Brodeur will be off to the Hall of Fame one day—the only question is when.
Prior to this season, No. 30 had 625 wins in 1,132 NHL regular-season games with 116 shutouts, all league records. In the playoffs, he has recorded 99 wins in 182 games with 23 shutouts, and has backstopped the Devils to all three of their Stanley Cup titles.
A four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as best goaltender, Brodeur has been a seven-time NHL All-Star, and has won two gold medals with Team Canada in the Olympic Games. He is also a five-time winner of the Jennings Trophy, awarded to the NHL goaltender(s) with the fewest goals surrendered during the regular season.
Honorable Mention: Kirk Muller, Aaron Broten, Pat Verbeek, Brian Gionta, Randy McKay, Brian Rafalski, Scott Gomez
Trivia: The fifth Devil to win three Stanley Cups? Sergei Brylin