Sep 15, 2013, 7:13 PM EDT
Even with Ilya Kovalchuk in tow, the New Jersey Devils’ power play wasn’t very strong in 2013, with just 29 goals on the man advantage (tying them for 13th in the NHL). Despite losing that crucial piece, the team hopes to improve in that area next season, as they told the Bergen Record.
“He’s a good power-play guy. He’s done it for years and years,” Zubrus said “His hockey sense and his ability to make plays and his shot, all those things, he’s a great player. You give him a little (more) space and that’s what a power play does for you. It gives out a little bit of that extra space, extra time and guys like that make plays, make a difference.”
Really, though, the Devils’ best hopes for an improved PP mirror those of their offense as a whole: getting better by committee.
Kovalchuk generated 14 power-play points in 2013, the same as teammate Patrik Elias. Jagr was no slouch at 11 points, but perhaps they should be most excited about Michael Ryder, who generated a whopping 17 up a man during his stints with the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens.
Head coach Peter DeBoer preached the normal special teams spiel about getting big bodies in front of the net, so maybe the real wildcard is actually Ryane Clowe.
Clowe only managed four power-play points last season, yet he’s had his moments, including a whopping 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) on the PP with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09.
Ultimately, it can go either way, but one could argue that the Devils may very well ice a dangerous special teams unit in 2013-14.
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