<
>

Sykora signing could pay dividends for Devils

Petr Sykora earned a second stint with the Devils after an impressive preseason tryout with the club.

In four games, the 34-year-old scored two goals and also had a hat trick during a team scrimmage.

The Devils reportedly signed Sykora, a two-time Stanley Cup winner who has notched 302 career NHL goals, for just one-year at $650,000, making it a low-risk but potentially high-reward move.

Even though he's three seasons removed from a 25-goal campaign in Pittsburgh, the Devils are hoping that Sykora can rediscover his prowess for putting the puck in the net.

After all, they ranked last in the NHL in goals scored last season, so why not give this a try?

Sykora also gives the Devils some versatility up front given his ability to play both on the wing and in the middle.

Head coach Peter DeBoer could elect to play Sykora at right wing with Patrik Elias and Zach Parise on the team's top line, or have him play with young pivots like Jacob Josefson or Adam Henrique on the bottom two forward combinations. The veteran Sykora could be used on special teams as well.

Maybe Sykora doesn't give the Devils an 81-point season like he did a decade ago. Maybe he plays like he did in Minnesota in 2009-10 and they have to waive him after just 14 games.

But given the cost, it wouldn't be such a big deal if it came to that.

The Devils aren't asking for Sykora to be the Sykora of old per se (there's a reason they're paying Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk the big bucks), but if he can come in and provide leadership along with a goal now and then, it would do wonders in helping them get back to the postseason after missing it last year.