When Zach Parise left town for Minnesota, there were plenty of thoughts about what would happen to the franchise that was left behind, the New Jersey Devils.
There is no doubt that the departure of Parise leaves a huge void to fill, as he was the heart and soul of a team that was gritty, tenacious, and almost certainly overachieved last year when taking the Eastern Conference Championship.
Replacing him is out of the question, but someone (or more likely, the team as a whole) need to step up to fill the gap that he leaves.
General Manager, Lou Lamoriello, never one to press the panic button, has spent most of the offseason re-signing other key players, such as Martin Brodeur, and patching up a depleted coaching staff that was rife with defections.
It was noticeable that Lamoriello resisted calls to sign free agent, Alex Semin, as a like-for-like replacement, preferring to try to maintain the status-quo and promoting the talent that he had. So, who will step up and steer this team now that it's lost a huge piece of on-ice leadership?
One man expected to step up is Ilya Kovalchuk. He is clearly the biggest star in the team and the side's most dangerous offensive threat, but he won’t be able to pick up the slack alone, especially as the departure of Parise saw 31 goals and 69 points depart the Jersey shore.
Alongside Kovalchuk, we would also be expecting Adam Henrique to take on an expanded role. The Calder Trophy finalist had an incredible rookie season last year, registering 16 goals and 35 assists, and, in the post-season, he again excelled himself notching five goals and eight assists.
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