While the New Jersey Devils’ last decade portrayed inconsistency, the top 10 players during that time create an impressive list.
For New Jersey Devils fans, 2020 can’t arrive quickly enough.
It’s been a miserable campaign for the Devils in 2019-20—so bad that the team is on the verge of winning the NHL draft lottery for the third time in the last four years.
Quite frankly, it hasn’t been an enjoyable decade for an organization that was once a perennial Stanley Cup contender. The 2011-12 Cup run being the lone exception.
With that in mind, ESNY looks back on the Devils’ top 10 players from the last decade.
10. Cory Schneider
Yes, believe it or not, goaltender Cory Schneider makes the cut. The reality is, Schneider doesn’t have much competition.
Martin Brodeur’s successor performed well during the early stages of his career with Jersey. Once Brodeur’s illustrious career ended, Schneider was the new face of the franchise. He was arguably the team’s best and most valuable asset up until two seasons ago.
The Devils’ third-winningest goaltender in history earned a spot on the all-decade top-10. Even if the $5 million-dollar masked man is now playing in the American Hockey League.
9. Ilya Kovalchuk
This one stings.
Devils fans may not want to acknowledge forward Ilya Kovalchuk as a great Devils player in their history. Nevertheless, he’s earned on a spot on the all-decade top-10.
Kovalchuk’s 83 points (37g-46a) in 2011-12 are tied for the 10th most by a Devils skater in a single season. The Russian sniper was arguably one of the most talented players to have ever laced up the skates for the Devils. He finished his Devils’ career with 201 total points (89g-112) in 222 games played.
8. Jaromir Jagr
How could the legendary Jaromir Jagr not clinch a spot for New Jersey’s all-decade top-10?
Throwback to one of the most beautiful goals Jaromir Jagr has ever scored: pic.twitter.com/IRjNBqJRRv
— From The Faceoff (@FromTheFaceoff) August 13, 2017
The dynamic veteran proved to Devils fans he still possessed what it took to produce as top tier point producer even in his 40’s. No. 68 finished with 96 points (35g-61a) in 139 career games with the Devils, playing from 2013 until 2015.
He provided a unique sense of energy the team lacked during that time frame.
7. Adam Henrique
Another skater that’s not currently on the Devils cracked the all-decade top-10 list.
Adam Henrique took New Jersey fans by storm during his rookie campaign in 2011-12. He forever entrenched his name in Devils’ history after scoring the double-overtime game-winning goal against the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals that year.
Henrique was one of the more dynamic centers the Devils employed in recent memory. His two-way play and clutch goal-scoring abilities were among the best Devils fans would see this decade.
6. Martin Brodeur
Of course, Jagr wasn’t the only legend to get the nod for the Devils’ all-decade top-10.
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) April 17, 2018
Martin Brodeur’s prime seasons were behind him once 2010 rolled around. Yet, the NHL’s all-time wins leader still portrayed signs he was still “the best ever” during his last four seasons with Jersey, 2010-2014.
In fact, Brodeur even recorded his third career goal during the 2012-13 season. A fascinating moment regardless of the way it went down.
His performance during the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Playoffs was bittersweet for all of Jersey, too.
5. Taylor Hall
It was short but sweet.
Hall spent parts of four seasons with the Devils, headlined by taking home the franchise’s first-ever Hart Memorial Trophy in 2017-18. That alone makes Taylor Hall one of the best Devils over the last decade.
Interestingly enough, Hall and Kovalchuk’s offensive numbers with New Jersey weren’t that different. The 2010 No. 1 overall draft-pick recorded 208 points (76g-132a) in 211 career games in a Devils’ sweater.
4. Zach Parise
Zach Parise is an all-time fan favorite in New Jersey. While he only spent three seasons with the Devils this decade, he absolutely earned a spot on this list.
The former Devils’ captain was the heart and soul of the team for a handful of seasons. He also recorded 30-goal during each of his last three seasons with the team, 2010-2012.
At this rate, it seems that there will never be another No. 9 on the Devils quite like “Zach.”
3. Patrik Elias
The past decade represented the latter half of Patrik Elias’ admirable career with the Devils. That didn’t stop No. 26 from kicking off the era with some impressive numbers.
2️⃣1️⃣ years ago today, Patrik Elias scored his first goal as a 😈! pic.twitter.com/3t6XhFdvhX
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 12, 2017
The Czech Republic native recorded three seasons with 50 or more points this decade. Not bad for a skater who was out of his prime. In fact, Elias finished second in points (36g-52a—78PTs) in 2011-12.
Elias’ No. 26 was retired in 2018.
2. Andy Greene
Andy Greene earned a spot on the top of the list for being a leader and a staple for the Devils over the past decade.
There’s no doubting that Greene deserves a slot on the all-decade top-10. He’s arguably established himself as the most underrated Devils’ skater of all-time. Not to mention his humble leadership.
Greene proved he’s a staple for the organization with his reliable and consistent play over the past 10 years and counting. He also served as a top skater during a dark era for New Jersey.
1. Travis Zajac
It seems only fair to place forward Travis Zajac on the top of the list for the all-decade top-10.
This notable and star caliber skaters passed through New Jersey and moved on. However, the homegrown product was still an impactful skater for the Devils after joining the team in 2006-07.
The center cracks numerous leader board categories for the team, he’s currently fourth all-time in points (517) and fifth in games played (955).
Zajac represents the prototypical Devils skater that fans appreciated and admired.