The Devils are trying to turn around a team that finished last in the Eastern Conference a season ago. After losing Mike Cammalleri and Jon Merrill, the Devils acquired Brian Boyle and Marcus Johansson. New Jersey also has many returning players that need to improve from last season in order for them to contend this season. Lets take a look at Devils’ players that need to have a better season in 2017.
No. 3: Travis Zajac (C)
Travis Zajac has always been one of the better playmakers on the ice for the Devils. He has played 11 seasons in the NHL all with the Devils, but his best years were 2008-2010. Ever since then his point totals have slightly declined. Last season Zajac totaled 14 goals and 31 assists, while he finished the 2009 season with 25 goals and 42 assists. If Travis can play like he did earlier in his career, the Devils will have a way better shot at getting a spot in the playoffs in 2017.
No. 2: Taylor Hall (LW)
Taylor Hall was the best player on the Devils last season, but he could still play a lot better. Hall finished with 22 goals and 33 assists last season in 72 games. In 2015 with the Oilers, he tallied 26 goals and 39 assists. That wasn’t even his best season. In 2013 Taylor finished the season with 80 points, compiling 27 goals and 53 assists in just 75 games. If he’s going to be the Devils’ big superstar he will have to finish closer to the 65 point mark in 2017.
No. 1: Adam Henrique (C)
Adam Henrique really saw a dip in his stats last season. Henrique played in all 82 games, but finished with just 20 goals and 20 assists. 2016 was Henrique’s worst season since 2012, when he only played in 42 games. Henrique has had four better seasons than 2016, and really needs to play better for the Devils to be a playoff team in 2017. Taylor Hall and Marcus Johansson will not be able to carry the team on their back. Henrique has to improve mightily in order for this team to get any better.