The New Jersey Devils annually celebrate their proud history on St. Patrick’s Day by donning their red and green retro sweaters. As the tradition continues tonight against the Minnesota Wild at Prudential Center, below is a look at the Devils’ All-St. Patrick’s Day Team, line by line, featuring stars throughout the franchise’s history who have done some of their best work on March 17.
St. Patrik’s Line: Aaron Broten (1982-1990) – Patrik Elias (1995-Present) – Bill Guerin (1991-1998)
This line is built for scoring goals. Patrik Elias leads with seven goals and five points on St. Patrick’s Day. In 2001, his hat trick helped power the Devils to a 6-5 OT win in Edmonton and, more recently, he assisted on a goal in 2012. Aaron Broten is the second star of this line, bringing two goals and seven assists in his March 17 performances. Broten leads all left wings in points, and creates a second offensive opportunity generator. Bill Guerrin rounds out the line, with two goals in his three St. Patrick’s Day games.
Two-Way Play Line: Kirk Muller (1984-1991) – Travis Zajac (2006-Present) – Petr Sykora (1995-2002, 2011-2012)
The second line stands for strength on both sides of the puck. Travis Zajac is one of the Devils’ top defensive forwards and has a history of offensive production. Flanked by two wings with plenty of production, Zajac either finds the back of the net or distributes the puck to someone who will. On the left, he’ joined by former Devils captain Kirk Muller, whose seven points is second on the team to Broten among left wings. Petr Sykora leads the team’s right wings in points, with a goal and seven assists, adding scoring depth through this line. In both 1999 and 2001, Sykora tallied three assists.
The Time Line: Zach Parise (2005-2012) – Viktor Kozlov (2003-2006) – Pat Verbeek (1982-1989)
This line features players from three different eras of the Devils’ history; a star of the recent past, a contributor from a decade ago and a star from the early years. Viktor Kozlov’s four points are second among Devils forwards, and all earned in one game. Over his two-season term with the Devils, Kozlov’s lone St. Patrick’s Day came in the 2003-04 season. On that day, he tallied a goal and three assists on the way to a 6-1 win against Pittsburgh. Zach Parise is the only active forward on this list not currently with the Devils. More importantly, Parise has assists in his first three St. Patrick’s Day games from 2007-2010, and added a goal for good measure in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh in 2010. After Guerin and Sykora, Pat Verbeek is below only Randy McKay (more on that later) among right wings producing on St. Patrick’s Day. Verbeek also represents the early years of the Devils, having only ever played under the red and green sweaters.
The Crash Line: Mike Peluso (1989-1990, 1993-1997) – Bobby Holik (1992-2009) – Randy McKay (1991-2002)
If you can have the Crash Line, you should have the Crash Line. And it helps that all three players have put up points on St. Patrick’s Day. As stated above, McKay is among the Devils’ top right wings on St. Patrick’s Day, with a goal and two assists across three games between 1994 and 2002. Bobby Holik and Mike Peluso have a goal and assist, respectively, but their contributions may not always be best reflected by points on the board.
The Scotts: Scott Niedermayer (1991-2004) – Scott Stevens (1991-2004)
An impressive pairing, with two Hall of Famers and two retired numbers. Niedermayer’s career point production makes him a threat both on offense and defense. On St. Patrick’s Day games he earned a goal and four assists while wearing a Devils sweater. The assists came early, starting with his first St. Patrick’s Day game in 1994, while the goal came in his last St. Patrick’s Day with the Devils, 10 years later. On the other side of the defense is Scott Stevens, the captain for all three Devils championships, and a shutdown defenseman.
The Producers: Paul Martin (2003-2010) – Joe Cirella (1981-1989)
This pairing features a former Devil still playing in the league, Paul Martin, and one of the original Devils, Joe Cirella; both of whom produced results for the team in their own way. Over his first five years with the Devils, Martin contributed at least 24 points of offense per season, often assisting on goals. Cirella joined the organization as a first round draft pick of the then-Colorado Rockies. After spending much of the Devils’ inaugural season in the OHL, Cirella became a staple of the defense, playing in at least 65 games a season for the rest of his Devils career. On St. Patricks Day games, Cirella was an early producer, scoring a goal and assist in 1984, and a pair of assists in ’87.
The Originals: Ken Daneyko (1983-2003) – Bruce Driver (1983-1995)
Ken “Mr. Devil” Daneyko and Bruce Driver both endured the team’s early struggles before celebrating the team’s first Stanley Cup in 1995. The two defensemen remain involved with the team today, with Daneyko providing color commentary and analysis for Devils TV broadcasts and Driver leading the New Jersey Devils Alumni Association. Driver scored twice in 1988 on St. Patrick’s Day and picked up an assist in 1994, while Daneyko’s lone St. Patrick’s Day point came in 1987.
|Martin Brodeur cuts down the net after earning his record-breaking 552nd win on March 17, 2009. The 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was one of Brodeur's 12 St. Patrick's Day games with the Devils. |
The Best of Yesterday and Today: Martin Brodeur – Cory Schneider
Martin Brodeur stood between the pipes for 12 of the Devils’ 20 St. Patrick’s Day Games. In 2009, at home against the Chicago Blackhawks, Brodeur earned his 552nd win on March 17, surpassing Patrick Roy’s then-NHL record. Placing Brodeur as the starter for the All-St. Patrick’s Day team is one of the easiest moves possible in constructing the roster. Choosing Brodeur’s backup is less simple. A handful of other players have taken the wins and losses for the remaining eight games, and only one goaltender, Glen “Chico” Resch, has been in net for multiple games. The Devils lost both of their early games with Resch in net, including a close 4-3 defeat in 1984. Instead of looking to the past, current starting goaltender Cory Schneider gets the nod. Schneider is undefeated in St. Patrick’s Day games, earning a win with the Devils (2015) and before that with Vancouver (2012).
Tweet @NJDevils and tell us who would make your St. Patrick’s Day team.