The New Jersey Devils are looking for a forward who can put up big offensive numbers. But, they may not have to sign a big free agent or make a blockbuster trade, as the person who could potentially put up those numbers is currently attending the Devils’ Prospect Camp, and coming off a strong season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting. That man is Reid Boucher.
His name has become quite popular in the last week amongst Devils fans, and with good reason. Adam Henrique didn’t make this team coming out of training camp, but went to Albany and continued to work on his game. Then, after playing just 3 games with the Albany Devils and notching one assist, the 21-year-old center from Brantford, Ontario, Canada received the call every minor league player dreams of. The New Jersey Devils needed him, and although it was due to an injury to another talented center in Jacob Josefson, that was all Henrique needed to hear.
He has made an immediate impact in the early season thus far, scoring 4 goals, and 3 assists in just 10 games. And after scoring back to back game winning goals against the Jets in overtime and the Hurricanes on November 8th, he has quickly become a fan favorite. Chants of “Hen-Rique!” Hen-Rique!” rang out from the crowd after each goal and during his post-game interviews.
Selected 82nd overall in the third round of the 2008 entry draft, Henrique has put up impressive numbers throughout his entire career in both the OHL and AHL. During the 09-10 playoffs while playing for the Windsor Spitfires, Henrique scored a stunning 20 goals in 19 playoff games, and was awarded the “Wayne Gretzky 99 Award” for OHL Playoff MVP as his team won its 2nd of back to back Memorial Cup Championships. Henrique also helped Team Canada win the silver medal at the World Junior Championships back in 2010. Clearly, he is no stranger to success in his young career, and that can only mean good things for the New Jersey Devils.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the talented Henrique as the season progresses. With the return of Josefson and Travis Zajac on the horizon, he’ll certainly need to keep up this pace if he hopes to stay with the parent club. So far, he’s making it pretty difficult for the Devils to send him back down to Albany.
What does the Devils Army think of Adam Henrique? Feel free to comment and Let’s Go Devils!
|2010-2011 Season Stats|
Three of the Devils’ last four first round picks have been forwards from Sweden. So if Director of Scouting David Conte calls Stockholm native Gabriel Landeskog to the stage on June 24, one may be tempted to expect more of the same. However, Landeskog is a much different player than his countrymen, and actually fits the profile of a typical Canadian or American player.
Landeskog began his hockey career with Djurgårdens IF, the same club where current Devils prospects Jacob Josefson and Alexander Urbom got their starts. But after just two seasons, he left Sweden for the Ontario Hockey League and has played for the Kitchener Rangers ever since. As a result, the 6’0, 201 lb right-winger will go into this year’s draft as a North American player, and is second to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, not Adam Larsson, in Central Scouting’s final rankings.
The Devils are already very well stocked up front, but Landeskog has some unique qualities to his game that may allow him to climb up the depth chart fairly quickly. He is a skilled offensive player, but loves to play an aggressive and physical game. In 53 regular season contests with Kitchener, he scored 36 goals and 30 assists for 66 points while racking up 61 penalty minutes and three fighting majors in the process.
Landeskog had a strong showing in the playoffs as well. Although the Rangers were unable to get past the first round, he recorded six goals and four assists in a series that went to seven games. He was also selected to Sweden’s World Junior team this past winter, and was named an alternate captain, but played only one game due to a high-ankle sprain. He did, however, tally a goal and an assist in that game.
In the intangibles department, Landeskog has it all. He is a natural leader who can spark his team with his strong work ethic and intensity. He is also very well spoken, without a hint of an accent, and makes his presence known on the bench and in the locker room. Often compared to former Kitchener Ranger and current Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Mike Richards, he was handed the “C” as a 17-year-old, and could find himself wearing a letter early on in his professional career.
By all aspects, Landeskog is the most NHL-ready prospect in this year’s draft. He already possesses the build, maturity, and talent to play in the NHL. If he does land in New Jersey, it’s certainly possible that he’ll be on the Devils’ opening night roster. He may start out on the third or fourth line, but he could compliment scoring wingers such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise on the top two lines in the future.