The New Jersey Devils have always seemed to have trouble finding the back of the net. That problem has seemed to trickle down to the Devils AHL team in Lowell in recent years.
Over the past three season, the Lowell Devils have not finished better than 24th the league in goals-for and last season finished last netting a mere 183 goals. Each of the past two season there have been two 20-plus goal scorers. Two of those players are with the Devils right now, Clarkson (20 goals in 06-07) and Vrana (20 goals in 07-08). One of the other players is Barry Tallackson (22 goals in 07-08) who has been up and down with the Devils and probably would have made the team this year if it was not for emergency heart surgery. In fact, Petr Vrana is the only player to eclipsed the 50 point mark over the past two seasons (20G-41A-61PT).
After missing the playoffs each of the last three seasons, the Lowell Devils are looking forward to a better season both on offense and in the standings. Thus far the Lowell Devils are 1-0-1 and have netted 9 goals in their first two games this season. With a much more talented roster than in the past few seasons, rookie prospect Matt Halischuk and Vladmir Zharkov have scored 6 of the teams 9 goals. Halischuk tied a team record when he scored five points (4G-1A) in the 6-4 win over Worcester in the teams home opener.
Besides Zharkov and Halischuk, who you could see in NJ in the next year, the Lowell Devils will also count on Nicholas Bergfors. Bergfors, the Devils 1st Round pick in 2005, is looking to bounce back after an injury plagued 07-08 campaign. Bergfors has already posted 5 points this season (1G-4A) and is off to a good start for a player who never scored more than 17 goals or 40pts in his professional career.
The Devils have also gotten production from Jon Disalvatore (1G-4A), who saw time in the pre-season with the Devils. The San Jose Sharks 4th round selection in 2000 has averaged 22 goals a season in his five year AHL career.
Along with other top prospects on defense Matthew Corrente and Tyler Eckford, the Lowell Devils enter this season more talented and younger than they have in the past few seasons. With a roster that is finally filled with players who we could see in NJ or the NHL in the near future, the Lowell Devils should have no problem winning games and putting the puck in the net this season.