Plenty of all-star caliber skaters were right-wing for the New Jersey Devils, but let’s revisit five all-time great “fan favorites.”
While the New Jersey Devils haven’t retired a former right-winger’s number yet, the list of top fan-favorite players at the position is stacked.
More than a handful of New Jersey’s top goal-scorers of all-time laced up the skates on the ride side of the ice.
In another edition of ESNY’s ongoing series, here’s a look at five of the most beloved right-wingers in Devils’ history.
There are still heated debates on whether forward John MacLean’s No. 15 should be retired or not.
After spending over a decade in New Jersey, the 1983 sixth-overall draft pick established himself as the Devils’ all-time points leader with 701 (347g-354a). Of course, the great Patrik Elias later passed in him 2008-09.
MacLean was a member of the team when it struggled most during the 1980s and then finally won New Jersey’s first-ever Stanley Cup in 1994-95. The winger was skilled in a sense where he entailed a great balance between skating as a playmaker and goal-scorer.
While “Johnny Mac” eventually signed with the New York Rangers at the end of his career in 1998-99, he’s forever a fan-favorite for Jersey’s team.
It was short but sweet for Alexander Mogilny and the Devils.
Mogilny only spent parts of three seasons overall with New Jersey but did help the team reach back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
Fans remember the memorable 2000 Stanley Cup champion squad, and most recall the Russian native’s 43-goal campaign the following season.
The winger’s 43 tallies in 2000-01 were a pleasant surprise considering Mogilny didn’t record more than 30 goals in a campaign since 1996-97 with the Vancouver Canucks. Let’s not forget that a Devils player hadn’t recorded 40 goals in a season since 1991-92 when Claude Lemieux netted 41.
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) March 22, 2020
Mogilny was a clutch performer and added a unique dynamic to a Devils roster which was labeled “boring” during the dynasty years from 1995-2003.
His lethal shot is still a vivid memory for the Jersey faithful, and fans clad in Mogilny jerseys are still roaming around the Prudential Center today.
There’s no questioning that the “A-Line” is the most beloved line combination in Devils history, or perhaps the “Crash Line” might counter back in that discussion. Either way, all three members of the “A-Line” go down as fan-favorites in Elias, Jason Arnott, and Petr Sykora.
It’s also fair to say that Elias ran away with the spotlight from the trio, and rightfully so. Still, Sykora goes down as an all-time favorite.
The Czech Republic native offered a sense of enthusiasm and excitement to the Devils while displaying his commendable goal-scoring abilities. It seemed that at least one those players in No. 17, Arnott or Elias would record a point every night for Jersey.
Like Mogilny, Sykora’s shot goes down as one of the best in Devils’ history, and considering the sniper was a clutch performer and appreciated by the fans, Sykora makes the cut.
The winger performed in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs, and when a player executes when it matters most, he’s appreciated that much more.
When fans reflect on the Devils winning Stanley Cups, mentioning Randy McKay is inevitable.
The depth winger won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey and was a member of the 1994-95 team which to this day goes down as a fan-favorite squad.
McKay’s physical presence and ability to produce energized the old Continental Airlines Arena on a nightly basis and impacted the team for the better during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No 21 was a jack of all trades and fans have to wonder if one of the members from the Crash Line will be inducted into the Ring of Honor one day.
There’s no doubt that McKay is remembered most as a Devil after being one of the faces of the franchise for over a decade from 1992-93 until the 2001-02 NHL trade deadline.
Similar to McKay, Claude Lemieux skated with an uncanny sense of grit but also entailed the skill-level to produce on the scoresheet.
Those factors haunted other teams, primarily the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion spent parts of seven seasons with New Jersey after serving two different stints with the Devils (1990-1995, 1999-00). Lemieux was disliked by all of his opponents but was a player that fans “loved” to have on their team.
No. 22 was larger-than-life out on the ice and played with an edge. He seemed fearless of his actions and how other teams might respond to his style of play.
Lemieux is one of the few players to win multiple Cups with New Jersey while skating for other teams in between respective stints – Tommy Albelin is another, for the record.