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NJD TV: Brian Rolston's 2007-08 at a glance

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Rolston's fearsome shot makes him a scoring threat in any situation.

email – Having spent the last three seasons in the Western Conference, Brian Rolston may represent something of an unknown quantity to some Devils fans.

It was announced Tuesday that the 13-year veteran has returned to New Jersey – which means the Prudential Center crowds should have plenty to cheer about when the puck drops in October.

For those unfamiliar with Rolston's résumé, the former Devil has developed into one of the top two-way forwards in the game. Rolston has scored 30-or-more goals in each of the last three seasons, with more than 40% of his 96 tallies over that span coming on the man advantage (39). He reached career highs in 2005-06 with 34 goals, 45 assists an 79 points.

View Rolston's career stats with the Devils.
A member of New Jersey's 1995 Stanley Cup championship, the 6-2, 210-lb. forward excels on special teams. Rolston led Minnesota in power-play goals in 2005-06 (15) and 2006-07 (13), and tied for the team lead in 2007-08 (11). He has recorded five-or-more shorthanded goals four times, potting a career-high nine for Boston in 2001-02.

As Devils' President, CEO, and General Manager Lou Lamoriello noted Tuesday, Rolston is capable of stepping in to quarterback the Devils' attack from the point. The hope is that the Flint, Mich., native can help upgrade a New Jersey power play that was ranked 25th in 2007-08 (15.6%).

One look at Rolston's body of work from last season, and it's no wonder why.

Rolston got off to a hot start last October, collecting six goals and five assists for 10 points in his first 12 games. He recorded goals in back-to-back contests on Oct. 14 [ 700K]  and 16 [ 700K ], then posted a three-game goal scoring streak from Oct. 21-25 [ 700K / 700K / 700K ].

After cooling in November, Rolston fired up the offense once again in December and January. He notched one of his eight game-winners on Dec. 8 against Columbus [ 700K] and added two more winners during a three-game goal streak (3g-2a) from Dec. 14-18 [ 700K / 700K / 700K ].

He picked up two more goals in back-to-back contests on Dec. 27 and 29 [ 700K / 700K ], then hit his stride with a season-high six-game goal streak from Jan. 21-Feb. 5 [ 700K / 700K / 700K / 700K / 700K / 700K ].

A two-goal effort followed on Feb. 9 versus the Islanders [ 700K ], and he ramped things up again with six goals and seven assists in March.

Rolston produced a goal [ 700K ] and an assist in a meeting with Atlanta on March 7, and scored in a second straight contest with a marker against San Jose on March 9 [ 700K ].

As the season wound down, the 35-year-old finished the regular season as strongly as he had started it, picking up 10 points (5g-5a) in the final 10 games, including a four-game point streak (2g-3a) from March 15-21 [ 700K / 700K ].

The 2008 playoffs brought more offense from Rolston, and he led the Wild with six points (2g-4a) in Minnesota's opening-round showdown with Colorado. He collected points in all but two games of the six-game series, and rattled off a three-game point streak (2g-3a) from April 14-17 [ 700K / 700K ].

"One of the big things for me with this organization was the players that they have; great hockey players and not a lot of egos," Rolston said Tuesday. "That's a huge thing when you want to be a team."

Rolston's addition will be significant for a lineup that already features the likes of Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur. Bobby Holik, who won Stanley Cup titles with New Jersey in 1995 and 2000, also returned to the club Tuesday after splitting the last five campaigns with the Rangers and Thrashers. 

It's a roster that makes Rolston optimistic for the season ahead.

"With all these players and a good team defense with skill and great goaltending," he said, "it sounds like a winning combination."

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