Although NHL training camps officially begin less than a month from now, from where we stand it feels like an eternity. ESPN's E.J. Hradek has found a clever way to pass the time, by going through all 30 teams and listing the franchise's all-time greatest player at forward, defenseman, and goaltender. To date, he has only completed the Pacific Division, so I'd like to do him a favor and list the all-time greatest Devils forward, defenseman, and goaltender. Of all the teams in the league, the Devils list may perhaps be one of those least up for debate, but it should be interesting to see how a fan's opinion stacks up against that of an objective analyst.
Greatest Forward: John MacLean
Of the three categories, this is likely the only one to garner any sort of disagreement. Patrik Elias was really the only other strong contender, and maybe one day down the line, Elias will in fact hold the title. However until Elias catches up with the team's all-time leading scorer, Johnny Mac will reign supreme.
Greatest Defenseman: Scott Stevens
Stevens is also the team's greatest captain, leader, etc., and is only one of two choices for greatest Devil of all time, at any position (guess who the other one is...). His open ice hits are infamous around the league, and will leave you with nightmares for years (just ask Slava Kozlov, Eric Lindros, or Paul Kariya.) It's amazing to think of what could have been had the arbitration court not ruled in favor of the Devils when the Blues signed away Brendan Shanahan in 1991.
Greatest Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
Do I really need to explain this one? No one even comes close! Brodeur, the only active player of these three, already holds every Devils goaltending record ever except for one (best career GAA as a Devil belongs to John Vanbiesbrouck at 1.75), and should he finish out his current contract, there is little doubt he will hold the NHL's all-time marks for wins and shutouts.
While we're at it, I think we should throw in greatest offensive line, which in the case of the Devils would go to the 'A' line: Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott, and Petr Sykora.
For the record, Devils training camp starts September 15th, and I personally cannot wait for hockey season!