*This was originally published in June 2022
It is hard to believe that it was a decade ago that Doc Emrick enthusiastically shouted “Henrique, it’s over,” and all forms of media flocked to the Prudential Center for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The New Jersey Devils made an unlikely run beating the Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Rangers to meet the Los Angeles Kings. Even though they fell in Game 6, it was a magical few weeks, as it was their first appearance in the final since they won the Cup in 2003. In honor of the team’s 10-year anniversary, let’s check in and see what the team is currently up to.
Elias & Brodeur Find Their Home in the Rafters
Two players from the team’s last Stanley Cup Final appearance became cemented in New Jersey history when their respective numbers were retired and raised to the rafters. It was no surprise to see the Devils honor the impressive careers of forward Patrik Elias and goaltender Martin Brodeur.
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Brodeur played all but seven of his 1,266 career games with the Devils, clinching three Stanley Cups during his time in New Jersey. In Jan. 2015, the 6-foot-2 goaltender announced his retirement from the league as a member of the St. Louis Blues. His post-playing career began when he accepted a position as special assistant to Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong.
In 2016 the Devils not only retired his number but additionally unveiled a bronze statue of the Montreal native, which can be seen outside the Prudential Center. His number retirement ceremony took place on Feb. 9, 2016, prior to the Devils hosting the Edmonton Oilers. Two years later, he returned to New Jersey to join the organization’s business development. He currently holds the title of executive vice president and advisor in hockey operations. Most recently he played an integral part in the design of the Devils’ third jersey, which was met by mixed reviews.
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Elias was a lifelong Devil who played 20 seasons in New Jersey before retiring in March 2017. He became the first forward to get his number retired, joining Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, and Brodeur. The Czech native remains a franchise leader in multiple categories including goals, assists, points, and hat tricks. On Feb. 24, 2018, the organization raised his jersey to the rafters in an emotional ceremony. Fans can still find Elias at Prudential Center from time to time, as he works with the Devils in an unofficial coaching role throughout the year.
Still on the Hunt for the Stanley Cup
A decade later, fans can still root for four former Devils as they continue their quest to win the Stanley Cup. All have since moved on from New Jersey whether it was via trade or free agency but played an important role in their team’s run in 2012.
Adam Henrique: Anaheim Ducks
The former fan favorite had an impressive rookie campaign in the 2011-12 season. Adam Henrique had big moments throughout the Devils’ playoff run, including the double-overtime goal against the Panthers in Round 1, and the now infamous overtime goal against the Rangers that secured the Devils’ spot in the Stanley Cup Final.
On Nov. 30, 2017, the club traded the Ontario native to the Anaheim Ducks. He has 184 points in 313 games with the Ducks and is currently an option to replace Ryan Getzlaf as team captain. At 32 years old he has two years left on his contract at a $5.8-million cap hit.
Adam Larsson: Seattle Kraken
Another rookie who reached the Stanley Cup Final in his rookie season. He averaged a little over 20 minutes of ice time during the 2011-12 campaign, which was third among all defensemen. His performance had him finish 12th in Calder Trophy voting.
Related: Former Devil Adam Larsson: Where is He Now?
The Devils moved on from the then-23-year-old in a shocking one-for-one trade for Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers. He spent the next five seasons playing with Connor McDavid making three additional playoff appearances. With an expiring contract, Adam Larsson was selected from the Oilers at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft by the Seattle Kraken and immediately signed a four-year, $16 million contract. He completed his first season with the NHL’s newest club with 25 points in 82 games, second-most among all defensemen.
Zach Parise: New York Islanders
Zach Parise was the captain who led his team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012. In 24 playoff games, he earned 15 points, including eight goals. The 5-foot-11 forward played the best hockey of his career in New Jersey, finishing with more than 60 points in five out of seven seasons with the Devils.
Unlike the above three, Parise left New Jersey via free agency to go home to Minnesota. As fans now know, that 13-year, $98 million contract came back to bite the Minnesota Wild, as he was bought out on July 13, 2021. It only took 59 days to find a new home as he was reunited with Greene as a member of the Islanders. Last week the club announced Parise won the Bob Nystrom Award, which is voted by fans and given to the player among the New York Islanders roster who best exemplifies leadership, hustle, and dedication.
Former Devils Still in the Spotlight
Three former Devils players decided to showcase their personality and knowledge by jumping into the broadcast booth and podcast studio. Lets begin with the one player who never thought he could have never predicted he would be working in communications.
Ryan Carter: Television Analyst for the Minnesota Wild
Ryan Carter was part of the ‘CBGB Line’, along with Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier. The trio combined for 21 points in 24 playoff games and played a crucial part in the Devils’ run. He was invited to the Devils’ training camp for the 2014–15 season, but only on a try-out basis. New Jersey opted to not offer him a contract, which led to him signing with his hometown Wild. In September of 2017, he announced his retirement from the NHL. Carter currently works as a television analyst for the Wild and Bally Sports North. Additionally, he has created content for the Wild’s website.
Bryce Salvador: Studio Analyst for MSG Networks
Bryce Salvador had 14 points in 24 playoff games in the spring of 2012. He averaged over 22 minutes of ice time per game. The Manitoba native scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings, keeping the Devils alive and forcing Game 6. When Parise left, Salvador was given the captaincy, and kept the “C” on his sweater until he announced his retirement ahead of the 2015-16 season.
Related: A Night with the Devils MSG Network’s Broadcast Team
Devils fans still get to see the former defenseman, as he made the transition from the ice to the broadcast booth. MSG Networks announced the former blueliner would be a studio analyst for the 2017-18 season. He and Erika Wachter are seen during the Devils’ pregame and postgame shows after each home game at Prudential Center.
Cam Janssen: The Cam & Strick Podcast
If there is one former player that belongs with a microphone in his hand, it is Cam Janssen. The former enforcer was loved for his fight on the ice and personality off of it. It’s no surprise that three years after his career concluded he formed a podcast along with NHL insider Andy Strickland called The Cam & Strick Podcast. Since their debut in 2019 many former Devils have been showcased like Brodeur, Scott Gomez, and Brian Gionta.
Continuing Their Journey Overseas
Jacob Josefson spent seven seasons with New Jersey before signing a one-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Injuries unfortunately continued to plague his NHL career, as he only suited up for 39 games. He returned home to Sweden, and during his first season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), he suffered a torn urethra after being cut by a skate. He concluded his first campaign with Djurgården registering 35 points in 40 games. He has been kept off the ice with post-concussion symptoms, but has kept busy as he and his wife are in the process of building their dream house.
Related: Former Devil Jacob Josefson: Where is He Now?
Ilya Kovalchuk was a member of the Devils for one additional season before announcing his retirement in July 2013. Days later he signed a four-year contract with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). In 2018 he made his return to the NHL as a member of the Kings. His time there was fleeting, as the organization terminated his contract in December 2019. The Russian forward played for two more NHL clubs (Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals) before returning back to Russia. He formerly served as general manager of the Russian national team and was recently quoted saying he is not done playing professionally.
Fellow countryman Anton Volchenkov played two more seasons with the Devils and one season with the Nashville Predators before going back to Russia. He last suited up for the 2019-20 season, appearing in 37 games. Surprisingly, he is the only player where I only found limited information.
Happily Enjoying Retirement
Let’s check in with the rest of the members who made up that impressive roster who were two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Johan Hedberg: After announcing his retirement, he rejoined the Devils organization as a special assignment scout under then-head coach Peter DeBoer. Additionally, he served as the goaltending coach of the Albany Devils. In 2015, he reunited with DeBoer becoming a goaltending coach with the San Jose Sharks. Hedberg remained with the club until he was fired in 2019 along with the rest of the coaching staff. He currently resides in Sweden with his family.
Marek Zidlicky: He ended his career playing for the Islanders before retiring from professional hockey. After completing some online sleuthing and working through some Google translations it appears that the former blueliner is currently assisting the coaching staff of the Czech Men’s National Ice Hockey Team.
Henrik Tallinder: In the summer of 2013 the Devils traded him to the Buffalo Sabres. In the autumn of 2014, he signed a professional tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but was released ahead of the season opener. On Oct. 9, 2018 he officially announced his retirement. Presently, he resides in Finland with his wife and children.
Dainius Zubrus: After eight seasons with the Devils, the Lithuanian native signed a one-year contract with the San Jose Sharks before retiring from the NHL. In 2018 it was announced he was elected as President of Hockey Lietuva, Lithuania’s governing body for ice hockey. It is reported that he resides in Miami, Florida when he is not in Lithuania.
Peter Harrold: He played a few more seasons with New Jersey before signing a one-year, two-way contract with the St. Louis Blues in July 2015. After attending the Blues training camp, he was assigned to AHL affiliate where finished his professional career. Currently, he is one of the development coaches for the Chicago Wolves.
Stephen Gionta: After his stint with New Jersey, he played for both the Islanders and their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He officially retired from the NHL in 2019 and became a pro scout for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The younger Gionta brother now has two Stanley Cup rings and finally got his day with the Cup in Rochester, NY.
Petr Sykora: Once he finished up his professional career, he coached a few years at South Florida Hockey Academy located in Coral Springs. According to the official Twitter account of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Sykora became a U.S. citizen this past April a few blocks away from Prudential Center.
Alexei Ponikarovsky: In the summer of 2012 he signed with the Winnipeg Jets as a free agent, but due to the lockout he went overseas to play. When the season started back up he joined the Jets, but was eventually traded back to New Jersey. After his second stint with the Devils he returned to the KHL to finish his professional career. Currently, he is listed as a coach at the South Florida Hockey Academy.
Steve Bernier: Ahead of the 2015-16 season, he signed a one-year contract with the Islanders, and split time between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate. After he announced his retirement he returned to the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to focus on player development, working with the coaching staff and players directly on and off the ice.
Travis Zajac: As fans know Zajac signed a one-day contract this past September to retire as a member of the Devils. He remained with the organization in an on/off-ice player development and consulting role, in addition to working to grow the club’s youth hockey initiatives. Throughout the season the former center was spotted on the ice working with the team during practice.
Eric Boulton: Like a few other Devils from this team, he finished his professional career as a member of the Islanders. At the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign the Halifax native announced his retirement, and that he would be staying with the organization as a pro scout.
David Clarkson: Currently he lives in Colorado with his wife and five young children. During an episode of the “Speak of the Devil” podcast, he shared that it has been a tough journey for him since hanging up his skates and transitioning to a post-hockey life. The Ontario native plays in a men’s league with other retired NHL players as he finally feels at peace with retirement.
Mark Fayne: As a free agent he signed with the Edmonton Oilers, but unfortunately ended his career in the AHL playing for both the Bakersfield Condors and Springfield Thunderbirds. He has not played professional hockey since the 2017-18 season. According to social media, he and his wife Tricia welcomed son Barrett in 2020 and daughter Scarlett who was born this past April.
Unlike this past season, the 2011-12 season was one where everything went right for the Devils. The fact that they needed to eliminate two rivals in the process, made it that much sweeter for fans. It was an impressive run with a team who came together at the right time.