For a vast majority of their existence, the New Jersey Devils have been a competitive hockey club. With three Stanley Cup wins and five total appearances, as with any team on the brink of greatness, it often takes many moves within the organization to find the right group of guys to unlock the winning formula, which can lead to players drifting through the team over the years.
Number 5- George McPhee
Today, George McPhee is known as the President of Hockey Operations for the Vegas Golden Knights, and former GM of the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, but at one time McPhee was a prominent prospect and player. Winning the Hobey Baker award in 1982, though he was undrafted in the NHL. He signed his first NHL contract with the New York Rangers, where he spent parts of five seasons. His career was marred by a back injury and later a shoulder injury. On September 30, 1987 he was dealt from the Rangers to the Winnipeg Jets, but just seven days later he was traded to the New Jersey Devils. McPhee played six games with the Devils over the following two seasons, but more often than not was on IR. He retired from the NHL in 1989.
Number 4- Rob Niedermayer
Rob’s brother Scott was the first Niedermayer to carve out a career with the New Jersey Devils throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Scott later left to join Rob in Anaheim, where the duo helped the Ducks in a Stanley Cup in 2007. After Scott retired in 2010, Rob Niedermayer left the Ducks organization as a free agent and on September 25, 2009, signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils. He played 71 games, scoring 10 goals and 22 points as well as suiting up for five playoff games. The Devils opted to not re-sign Niedermayer in the offseason, ending the Niedermayer brother’s time in New Jersey for good.
Number 3- Niclas Havelid
Niclas Havelid’s NHL career is best remembered for stints with the Ducks and Thrashers over the course of his decade-long career. At the 2009 trade deadline the Thrashers were unsurprisingly out of the playoff picture and looking to get some assets for veteran players. On March 1, 2009 Havelid was traded to the Devils in exchange for prospects Myles Stoesz and Anssi Salmela. Havelid played in 15 regular season games, registering four assists and seven playoff games posting a single point. After the season Havelid returned to his native Sweden where he would play another four seasons before retiring.
Number 2- Mike Dunham
Dunham is best known as the first starting goaltender for the Nashville Predators, but his career originated with the Devils. Selected by New Jersey 53rd overall in 1990, he spent much of his time in the Devils organization with their AHL affiliate the Albany River Rats. When he was recalled, he often rode shotgun to Martin Brodeur, who was well on his was to carving out his legendary career. Dunham only played in 41 games as a Devil in his five years with the organization, before he was selected in the 1998 expansion draft by the Predators.
Number 1- Doug Gilmour
Doug Gilmour’s 20 year NHL career saw him play for seven different organizations, most famously the Toronto Maple Leafs. After six seasons in Toronto, the Leafs were struggling and Gilmour was dealt to the New Jersey Devils at the 1997 trade deadline. He finished out the 1996-97 season with the Devils, and played the entire 1997-98 season in New Jersey as well. In the summer of 1998, Gilmour left the Devils via free agency and joined the Chicago Blackhawks.
Klee is best known for his nine-year stint with the Washington Capitals through the 1990’s. Signing with the Maple Leafs for the 2003-04 season, he played one and a half seasons in Toronto, but with the Leafs in the midst of a disappointing season, Klee was dealt to the New Jersey Devils at the 2006 trade deadline in exchange for Alex Suglobov. He finished out the last 18 regular season with the Devils, going pointless, as well as six playoff games where he scored one goal, his only point in New Jersey. In the offseason he signed a one year deal with the Avalanche, ending his short stint with the Devils.
Asham was a journeyman depth enforcer in the NHL for 15 seasons. Suiting up for six different teams, his shortest tenure with any club came during the 2007-08 season when he signed a one-year contract with the New Jersey Devils. Asham played 77 games in New Jersey, scoring six goals and 10 points, as well as racking up 84 penalty minutes. He played in 10 playoff games for the Devils in 2008 as well before signing a deal with the Flyers in the offseason.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: zimbio.com