Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:16 PM
I think the interesting part of this thread is namely the top players. That said...
1. ELIAS - best overall forward on team; makes others better, has transitioned to center beautifully, and is sound defensively as well for the most part.
2. PARISE - tons of speed, smart player, works ridiculously hard. not as much a "pure talent" as Kovalchuk, but sets a great example every night and deserves to be the captain.
3. KOVALCHUK - the most skilled guy on the team, and NJs best passer (which is often overshadowed by his propensity for goal scoring); has on-ice vision like no one else on the team; has put up a big effort every single night this season and has become a great Devil; very close with Parise in overall value, but I put him at the 3-spot for now.
4. ZAJAC - this one is difficult given his injury, and last year's lackluster performance. But prior to last year, I used to tell people he was our best defensive forward, and I still believe that will prove to be true. Has a good skillset, sees the ice well, and is definitely one of the better 2-way centers in the league. I know he's primarily been our #1 center last few years, so no one thinks of him as a #2 or #3, but that's probably the role he'll fall into if Elias & Henrique keep it up. Overall, very solid player.
5. HENRIQUE - not much sample data on this guy yet to compare him with others, but based on what we see, his work ethic, his creativity, and his ability to make things happen, he's certainly in the top player discussion, but obviously, #4 and #5 are not in the same discussion as #s 1-3.
6. ZUBRUS - one of my favorite Devils now; works insanely hard every game and has become our true utility guy; can play any position; not much of a finisher, but he's having an incredible season, and when he's not putting up points, he's running guys, digging in the corner, extremely valuable piece to this puzzle.