The New Jersey Devils have a long history of beloved centers. Here are five of the all-time great “fan-favorites” to skate in Jersey.
It hasn’t been easy for New Jersey Devils fans over the last decade. While hope might be on the horizon for Jersey’s team, let’s discuss some of our favorite Devils of all-time.
ESNY kicks-offs this on-going discussion by looking at five of the most beloved centers in franchise history.
Here’s a quick look at some memorable New Jersey skaters who won over fans’ hearts in the face-off the circle.
Bobby Holik is remembered most for his tough-guy attitude and two-way play while donning a Devils sweater. The Czech Republic native wasn’t only a bruiser along the boards, but also had a knack for finding the back of the net.
Prior to committing sin from the Devils’ perspective, after signing with the New York Rangers in 2002, Holik recorded 400 points in 10 seasons with the red and black. His clutch play and fearless approach on the ice is a huge reason why he has a special place in Jersey’s heart.
Let’s not forget that Holik earned two Stanley Cup rings with Jersey.
While we turned back the clock for the first entry, Travis Zajac brings us back to the present.
Travis Zajac collected his 270th assist on Tuesday, tying him with Bobby Holik for ninth all-time in franchise history! pic.twitter.com/AYF4tMrAVz
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 15, 2017
The 2004 first-round draft pick hasn’t missed a beat with New Jersey since first lacing up the skates in 2006-07. No. 19 ranks fourth in games played with 991 in team history and has experienced just about every high and low a Devil could have — aside from winning a Stanley Cup.
His humble two-way play fit right in with New Jersey, and the University of North Dakota product (hear Doc Emrick’s voice in your head) reportedly turned down a trade this past season.
It will be an interesting debate once Zajac retires if his number should be retired, which would likely entail him being the only Devils player to have a number hanging from the rafters without winning a Cup.
Similar to Holik, John Madden was a gritty forward who could show off his offensive flash.
“Mad Dog” won two Stanley Cups with New Jersey while wearing his heart on his sleeve from 1999-00 until the end of the 2008-09 campaign. His electric speed, ability to shut down the opposition’s top threats, and uncanny skill to score shorthanded goals inks his name in this unique discussion.
— Jeff Rothman (@amazingjr87) April 17, 2020
The 2000-01 Selke Trophy winner, the only in Devils’ history, recorded 17 goals shorthanded goals in 10 seasons with New Jersey. Those 17 shorties are the most in franchise history and the record likely won’t ever be broken.
It’s safe to say most fans would have wished Madden was a member of the 1994-95 Cup team, because he was true Devil.
While Holik’s departure across the Hudson River via free agency stung fans, Scott Gomez signing with the Broadway Blueshirts in 2007…burned.
Gomez was a fan-favorite in Jersey from puck drop in 1999-00 and was also the second Devils player to win a Calder Trophy. His dynamic skating abilities and sixth sense to find his teammates on the ice were second to none in team history.
There’s no doubt that Gomez goes down as one of the most talented players to ever lace up the skates in Jersey, and his two Stanley Cup rings should earn him a spot in this conversation.
“Gomer” was friendly with the fans and simply exciting to watch on a conservative Devils squad for almost a decade.
Fans probably envisioned the Anchorage, AK native playing his entire career with the Devils, but even his act of “treason” can’t remove him from this list.
Jason Arnott’s tenure in New Jersey seemed longer than it actually was in large part because of his success on the ice.
Arnott skated with the Devils from 1997-98 until the trade deadline in 2001-02. The trade was a complete surprise to not only the fans, but his linemates in Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias.
— Best NHL Moments (@30SecNHL) May 21, 2016
“The A-Line” arguably goes down as the best line in Devils’ history, and Arnott was the x-factor, skating in between Sykora and Elias.
No. 25’s ability to produce and roll up his sleeves was always appreciated by the Jersey faithful, but who could forget his game-winning goal to clinch the Stanley Cup in 2000…
Who are your favorite centers to wear the red and black for the Devils?
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