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Devils put Henrique on top line with Zajac, Kovalchuk

Feb 1, 2013, 4:35 PM EDT

KovalchukZajac2

Devils head coach Peter DeBoer is toying with the idea of loading up his top line following Thursday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Islanders.

During Friday’s practice, Adam Henrique — last year’s Calder Trophy finalist — was moved to left wing and skated alongside center Travis Zajac and right Ilya Kovalchuk.

The move comes after Henrique shifted to the Zajac-Kovalchuk line midway through last night’s defeat.

Henrique, normally a center, does hold the advantage of being a left-handed shot, meaning he can move to the top unit and allow Kovalchuk to remain on his familiar right-hand side.

The move also gives DeBoer a high-profile top scoring unit featuring arguably his three best forwards. Kovalchuk led the team in scoring a year ago (37G-46A-83PTS) while Henrique finished fourth with 51 points, 18 points back of third leading scorer Zach Parise.

Parise’s worth mentioning here because, prior to signing with the Minnesota Wild, he was part of the “loaded-up first line” strategy with Kovalchuk and Zajac.

The trio didn’t play together all that much during the regular season — serious injuries to both Zajac and Parise played their roles — but were reunited during last year’s Stanley Cup run.

  1. thecheeman - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    It always bothers me the way the Devils move players around positions. Last year we had no centers when Zajac missed the entire year and Josefson got seriously hurt very early in the year, which is the reason Henrique was called up in the first place. Kovy was moved from LW to RW so he could play with Parise. Elias is a natural wing but had to play center again. Now we have two top-six natural centers for the first time since I can remember and we’re moving one to the wing.

  2. gbditka - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Great new Minnesota Wild, the NFL forgot to tell you that when you signed Zach Parise — you also get Marek Zidlicktard & his 4 million dollar salary back for free! Who am I kidding…you raped us twice in one year…well done!

    • gbditka - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      NHL as well (love me some spell check)

    • MannySilvers - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:07 PM

      Zidlicky has actually been very good for us so far this year. If anything Salvador has been VERY iffy…that big C on his jersey is distracting him too much.

      • martysbetter - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        Agreed, Zidlicky is an effective PP QB for us – has taken a lot of annoying penalties in the early stages of this season but in no way were we “raped”…how quickly people forget that Kurtis Foster used to be in his place for us *shudders*.

      • gbditka - Feb 1, 2013 at 11:13 PM

        Zidlicky has take 5 penalties this year where our opponent has scored 3 goals while he is sipping Gatorade & leaving us shorthanded on the ice, he is the QB of a PP unit that is just 13% which is 6th worst in the NHL so based on those 2 facts plus his numerous turnovers inside our own blue line…he’s a joke at 4 million a year!

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