(NJ) While most of the fans are focusing on the Devils playoff chances this year (the team has an 8 point lead in the division just past the midway point), some of the team's front office is already looking at next season. That's because several of the teams younger players look ready to take a big leap forwards in their development. While players like Tomas Vanek, Nathan Horton, and Ryan Getzlaf are seeing sporadic ice time this season, each seems ready for a big role next year. The team is counting on Vanek and Alexander Semin to be 30+ goal scorers next season, and with good reason. Each has already eclipsed that mark in the NHL this season. Horton and Getzlaf should reach the 25 goal mark with enough ice time. The question for Horton will be whether he remains at center or moves to the wing. Add in goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who although erratic at times has established himself as a starting goaltender (despite an awful defense infront of him) and the future looks bright in New Jersey (or at least it would if you could see it through the air pollution). Before the lockout, the Devils were a team on the brink of disaster, as GM Rich Epstein decided to tear down a borderline playoff team and rebuild. At the time Epstein decided that the team, full of veterans and not much in the prospect pool, didn't have the chips to improve, and settling for 7th/8th place wasn't good enough. The fans were not happy about the decision. A last place finish, followed by another season out of the playoffs didn't help matters. But all that is in the past now. The fans are back and the team, which finished first in the division before a dissappointing playoff loss to eventual Cup champion Buffalo, has the look of a team that will be in the playoffs for years to come. Besides the aforementioned players, the team has veteran forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Gaborik, both yet to reach their 25th birthday but amongst the league's top goalscorers. The team also resigned top center Chris Drury and defensive stalwart Sami Salo to multi-year contracts. It hasn't only been the young stars that have stepped up this season. Five more players seem to be ready for at least a depth role: Maxim Lapierre and Nick Tarnasky have seen a regular shift on the fourth line, while defensemen Randy Jones, Greg Zanon and Bruno Gervais have all cracked the top-6 for their NHL teams.