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Best to Wear #16 – Bobby Holik

Bobby Holik, Best To Wear #16NUMBER
HEIGHT: 6′ 4″
BORN: January 1, 1971
BIRTHPLACE: Jihlava, Czech Republic

Bobby Holik was acquired by the New Jersey Devils prior to the the 1992-93 season when he was traded along with the Hartford Whalers second round pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft to New Jersey in exchange for Eric Weinrich and Sean Burke. What happened next was 10 strong seasons from Holik.

Holik is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, winning the Cup with the Devils in 1995 and 2000.

He left the Devils before the 2002-03 season when he signed a contract during the off-season with cross-Hudson rivals, the New York Rangers in a move that was considered Benedict Arnold-esque (that is until Scott Gomez pulled the same move years later.)

In 2005, Holik had his contract bought out by the Rangers and he signed with the Atlanta Thrashers. He stayed with the Thrashers until 2008, and even served as the Thrashers captain in the 2007-08 season.

Holik made a return to the New Jersey Devils in the 2008-09 season, marking the 11th season with the franchise.

He retired after the 2008-09 season.

Career Stats with the New Jersey Devils
786 202 270 472 122 863 44 0 43 2046 9.9%

Best to Wear #14 – Brian Gionta

Brian GiontaNUMBER: 14
HEIGHT: 5’7″
POSITION: Right Wing
BORN: January 18, 1979
BIRTHPLACE: Rochester, New York

Brian Gionta was drafted in the third round, 82nd overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils.

Despite his size, Gionta is one of the swiftest skaters in the league. Standing at only 5’7″, Gionta is the second shortest player in the league (currently Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe is two inches shorter).

Gionta played seven strong seasons with the Devils, before signing with the Montreal Canadiens in the Summer of 2009. As a fan favorite, one of his more memorable seasons was the 2005-2006 season as a part of the EGG (Elias-Gomez-Gionta) line. That season saw Gionta put up a career high 48 goals and 41 assists. His 48 goals in one season is currently the franchise’s record for most goals in a season. Gionta also holds the franchise record for most powerplay goals in a season with 24.

Gionta currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens with former Devils teammate, Scott Gomez. He was also named team captain for the Canadiens last season. Funny, an American is the captain of the Canadiens. Irony rules.

Career Stats with the New Jersey Devils
473 152 160 312 62 227 48 5 30 1351 11.3%

Zach Parise Officially Named Devils’ 9th Captain

Captain Zach PariseIt’s official – the ninth captain in the history of the New Jersey Devils is no other than #9 himself, Zach Parise.  Parise joins Don Lever, Mel Bridgman, Kirk Muller, Bruce Driver, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner in an exclusive group of players to wear the “C” in New Jersey.  Since Langenbrunner was traded from New Jersey to the Dallas Stars in January earlier this calendar year, the Devils have played without a captain.  Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk served as alternate captains, and will continue to serve that role for the 2011-12 season, which opens on Saturday against the rival Philadelphia Flyers.

Parise told Tom Gulitti this morning that although it is a big honor to be captain, he doesn’t plan to change anything about his game.  The Devils’ first round draft pick in 2003 also mentioned that he was never informed of a meeting to discuss the captaincy, and that he was surprised when coach Peter DeBoer told him today.  His hard-working play on the ice shows his leadership by example.  At 27 years of age, Parise is the Devils’ youngest captain since they named a 21-year old Kirk Muller captain, who also wore the number 9, back in 1987.

Zach Parise will also begin the season healthy, after a nightmare season not only for the Devils, but for Parise on a personal level.  His 2010-11 season was limited to just 13 games due to a torn meniscus.  He posted three goals and three assists in the season’s first 12 games before the injury, and returned for just one game against Montreal late in the season, but was shut down following the game because the Devils had officially been eliminated from playoff contention after a dramatic mid-season surge.  Parise, however, expects to re-gain his scoring touch, as he had scored at least 30 goals in each of the previous four seasons before last year, including seasons of 45 goals and 94 points in 2008-09 and 38 goals and 82 points the following season.

Despite the fact that Parise has insisted that he wants to remain in New Jersey beyond the 2011-12 season, his contract does expire at season’s end, and if he is not re-signed before then, Parise will become an unrestricted free agent.  However, he will be eligible to re-sign with the Devils beginning in January, something that most, if not all Devils fans can only hope will happen.  Given the Devils’ commitment to winning and the fact that the organization gave Parise the honor of being the team’s new captain, it seems that both sides have a mutual goal to keep Zach Parise in New Jersey for the long-term.

The Zach Parise era in New Jersey begins Saturday night.  The future looks bright for the Devils, as they have a surplus of young talent coming up, and now they have a captain to lead them.

Best to Wear # 9 – Kirk Muller AND Zach Parise

You read it right. It’s a tie.

In the poll with most votes to date, both Zach Parise and Kirk Muller have been selected as the Best to Wear #9 for the New Jersey Devils.

I monitored this poll VERY closely and, I’ll be honest, I love how it went. There was strong competition and swapping between the two.  Some fans believed that Muller, who captained the team during their first playoff run, had proven more than young superstar, Zach Parise.

It’s fitting how the two players to win this both were left wings, one was captain, and fans hope the other becomes captain. It’s almost as if Parise is a reincarnation of Muller.

Below is some information on Kirk Muller:

Kirk MullerNUMBER:  9
HEIGHT: 6′ 0″
BORN: February 8, 1966
BIRTHPLACE: Kingston, ON, Canada

Muller’s NHL career started when he was drafted second overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. Who went first overall that year? Mario Lemieux.

His nickname to fans and players was “Captain Kirk,” named after the character popularized by William Shatner in the Star Trek franchise.

Despite being a fan favorite, and leading the New Jersey Devils to their first playoff appearance, the Devils were never able to get a serious Stanley Cup run. This led the organization to trade Muller and Roland Melanson to the Montreal Canadiens in return for Tom Chorske and Stephane Richer, two players who made an impact on the 1995 Stanley Cup Championship team.

Muller played another 15 seasons after being traded by the Devils with several clubs. He’s mostly known for his time with the Canadiens.

Currently, Muller is the head coach of the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

Here are some New Jersey Devils records that Muller holds:

*New Jersey Devils franchise record for points in a single game (6 on Oct. 29, 1986)
*New Jersey Devils franchise record for assists in a single game (5 on Mar. 25, 1987)
*New Jersey Devils franchise record for points by a center in a single season (94, 1987–88)

Career Stats with the New Jersey Devils
556 185 335 520 -62 572 69 6 19 1,337 13.8%

I want to thank everyone who voted in this poll, and In Lou We Trust for letting people know about the poll on their blog. I also want to thank the New Jersey Devils for spreading word about the poll on Twitter as well.


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