Born February 6, 1990 (age 22) in Burford, Ontario, Canada
Center for the New Jersey Devils
I’ve heard nothing but great things about this kid all season. Adam grew up in rural Ontario and played for a midget team in his hometown before moving on to the Brantford 99’ers, a AAA midget league. It was there that he caught the eye of the Windsor Spitfires, and they drafted him through the 2006 OHL Priority selection. While he was with the Spits, he also played on the Gold Team Ontario U-17 team in the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon (wow, that’s pretty far north!).
The New Jersey Devils picked him in the third round in 2008; after that, it was two more years with the Spits before heading to the AHL and the Albany Devils. In his first (and only) season in Albany, he played just one game with the boys from Newark – in fact, the April 11, 2011 game against the Boston Bruins was his first NHL game. He made the team this past season, and he got his first goal in November 2011 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Then in January of this year, he fought Jarome Iginla before scoring a goal and an assist for a Gordie Howe hat trick! Later on in the season, after Travis Zajac was injured, he was put on the Devils’ top line with fellow MotD Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
For a time, Adam was leading all the rookies in points. He eventually slipped to third behind Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in that category, but he did end the season with the most assists (35) among the younglings. He’s also been the subject of talk regarding the Calder Trophy. Whether he wins or not, he’ll be back next season, and he can only get better.