Why Signing Brian Rolston is Saving the Devils Headaches Now

I know Brian Rolston didn't have the best year last year. He was largely a non-factor for most of the season after injuring himself pretty early on in the year with a high ankle sprain.

But it was also because if you remember, the Devils had a pretty solid second line of Zubrus, Elias and Gionta, so Rolston spent much of his time either with John Madden or even Bobby Holik. Rolston wasn't exactly given a lot of opportunity to prove that he was worth the lengthy contract. But I think in many ways as I'm sitting here still hopeful that the Devils sign Saku Koivu to center that second line, that Rolston could be giving Lou that oh-so-comfortable feeling right now if Koivu does what most expect him to do and that's sign in Minnesota to play with his brother.

See Rolston is probably best suited for the wing, but he's also a very capable center iceman . He can definitely play the pivot role and would likely make a very nice second line center between Elias and even someone like a Niklas Bergfors. I mean if the Devils really want to finally give opportunities to the young players on their team, they have the opportunity to do just that. Rod Pelley could take the Madden role. Bergfors could be ready to step in and make a difference as a second-line player. And Matthew Corrente might just be ready to step in and be an NHL-caliber defenseman.

At the same time, Rolston could also give the Devils the flexibility to go ahead and sign one of the remaining wingers out there. An Alex Kovalev or someone like that (even a Sykora/Elias reunion). And the truth is that there are a lot more available talent on the wings as opposed to centers (although the guys on NHL Live seem to think a Chad LaRose is a perfect Devil).

So the beauty of the signing last year is that the Devils can use the flexible Rolston in a role to help them adjust to what's left on the market and give them the option to see if some of the young kids are ready to make that jump. Sure Rolston seemed like a bust after last year. But remember he wound up injured, playing for a coach who didn't use him properly. I'm certainly glad the team has him now.

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