Devils

Hartnett: Devils Hitch Their Wagon To The Right Player In Henrique

Henrique Is Likely To Put Sophomore Slump In Rearview Mirror
Adam Henrique (credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

Adam Henrique (credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

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‘Devils in the Details’
By Sean Hartnett
» More Columns

The stars in the New Jersey Devils’ galaxy are beginning to burn out. Iconic goaltender Martin Brodeur is now 41. Captain Bryce Salvador, alternate captain Patrik Elias and offensive-defenseman Mark Zidlicky are all 37.

New Jersey will attempt to squeeze as much as they possibly can out of journeyman winger Jaromir Jagr’s 41-year-old legs.

There is a need for youthful faces to accept the torch being passed to them by the Devils’ aging stars. 23-year-old center Adam Henrique is the pillar whom the “New Devils” will be built around.

The Devils have handed the keys of their car over to Henrique because they know he won’t crash it. Henrique won’t even put a dent in the Devils’ red Mercedes — and will take pride in waxing it regularly. That’s the kind of guy Henrique is.

It’s now up to him to the keep the shine and luster of past Devils glories alive as the franchise ushers in what they’re hoping will be a fruitful era under new owners Joshua Harris and David S. Blizter.

Hernique is a very matured individual, and carries a level head on his shoulders.  He understands the responsibility that comes with the reported six-year, $24 million deal he penned on Monday.

“I had no problem signing a long-term deal,” Henrique told Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger. “I’ve loved it in New Jersey so far. The organization has been great to me and my family. It’s a place I want to stay and play in for a number of years, so the length was important to me.”

It’s refreshing to hear Henrique’s eagerness to remain with the Devils given that in a matter of two summers, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson have all departed Newark for perceived greener pastures.

Henrqiue’s popularity is rising due to an unselfish attitude and his relentless two-way play. He’s the modern embodiment of what the Devils are all about.

It’s little wonder why Henrique’s No. 14 is the highest-selling jersey inside the Devils Den team shops at Prudential Center.

Now at 23, it’s time for him to rise to the challenge of putting a sophomore slump in his rearview mirror. Judging by his attitude and demeanor, it’s likely that Henrique will bounce back strongly in 2013-14.

If that’s the case, he’ll play a big part in ensuring that the Devils will avoid the pitfalls that led to a rare playoff-less campaign in 2012-13.

Follow Sean on Twitter @HartnettHockey.

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