The Devils welcomed several exciting prospects into training camp, and as some head back to the juniors or the AHL, one prospect continues to shine – Jacob Josefson.
Josefson has never been a big scorer, with a career high of 31 points in 2007-2008 coming for his Swedish team, Djurgårdens IF. He’s noted for his two-way play, and scouts rave about his playmaking abilities. These have all been on display so far during the preseason, and Josefson has made the case that he deserves the third line center spot.
Since camp opened, Josefson has looked the part of an NHL center, meshing well with linemates and making sound plays. But it’s not only his abilities that have him lined up for a spot with the Devils. David Clarkson, who spent time on a line during the team’s Red and White scrimmage on September 20, said Josefson’s confidence has helped him tremendously.
“You see a lot of rookies come into the League and they’re lacking the confidence,” he said in an article on NewJerseyDevils.com. “They have the skill, but they’re lacking that confidence and he seems to have it. He seems to not be scared to take the puck and go, he seems not to be scared to get hit. It’s impressive the confidence that he has out there and I think that’s what makes him the player he is.”
He hasn’t overwhelmed offensively, with no goals or assists yet in the preseason. But he’s averaged 18:06 in ice time for the two games he’s played, and he’s made his impact known, setting up teammates and playing sound defense. He’s shown no difficulty in transitioning from the Swedish League to the NHL, something his fellow Swede Mattias Tedenby struggled with in his first game of the preseason. He’s looked comfortable and, most importantly, seems ready to contribute.
Josefson won’t win the battle for third-line center outright. He’s facing tough competition from Adam Mair, who has two goals and plays a rough and tumble kind of game. Rod Pelley, who always seems to battle for the third-line spot, also presents a challenge. That’s three guys for one spot, with one loser getting the fourth-line center position and the other finding his way into the minors or free agency.
Josefson has shown chemistry with Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus, his potential third line wingers. He’s brought excitement and immense talent to the ice. He plays that classic “Devils style”, and could be a 25+ point scorer. For a rookie on the third line, that prospect should excite coaches and fans. Sure, Josefson could toil in Albany and perfect his game. But the rookie has impressed everyone so far, and deserves a shot with the big club.
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador underwent tests today to determine whether or not he suffered any head injury during Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Salvador left the game in the first period after a big hit from James van Riemsdyk. The Devils’ defenseman returned to play one shift, but then left for the remainder of the game.
After last night’s game, the Devils insisted that Salvador was fine. But the defenseman was still feeling the effects of the hit today, so the Devils’ sent him for tests.
The issue, however, doesn’t seem to stem from a head injury. Rather, Salvador has been having some ear trouble, according to general manager and president Lou Lamoriello.
Any potential long-term injury could actually help the Devils. Salvador has a $2.9 million cap hit, and a move to the long-term injured reserve would significantly decrease the amount of space the Devils would need to clear. But no determination on his injury status can be made until a diagnosis is announced.
Fresh off the first win of the season, it’s today’s edition of the Devils’ Sports Page.
Devils get one on the power play in 3-2 preseason win over Flyers (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Jacob Josefson amused by good-natured trash talk between Devils linemates (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Former Devils defenseman Mike Mottau signs with Islanders (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Devils say Bryce Salvador is “fine” after hit from James van Riemsdyk (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Kovalchuk turns it on to help Devils earn first win of preseason; Tedenby finds room to skate (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
Zach Parise’s time to go to the salary well (Tom Gulitti/The Bergen Record)
The Devils have finally ended their preseason losing streak. After dropping three straight games, the Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, in preseason action tonight at the Prudential Center. It was the first game that ended in regulation, and now the Devils will look to build on this performance the rest of the way.
Coming into tonight, Tedenby needed to show the Devils something after being just average in his first start. The rookie did that tonight, putting four shots on net and generating scoring chances. We all know that Tedenby will probably work his way into the Devils’ lineup in the future. Tonight, he gave everyone a glimpse of what he can bring to the table.
Look who came to play tonight. Like Tedenby, Rolston put four shots on net tonight, and while he didn’t record a point, Rolston generated chances and skated well. It’s the first time this postseason that I’ve heard his name called more than once. Rolston may not be a 30+ goal scorer every season, but he needs to be a secondary scorer. Tonight was a step in the right direction.
We all know that the left-winger will face enormous, and possibly unfair, expectations this season after signing a massive contract and causing the league to amend the collective bargaining agreement. He won’t have to do everything in each game, but he showed his ability to take over a game tonight. Kovalchuk drew the penalty that led to Travis Zajac‘s tying goal, then scored the game-winner with 2:19 left in the period.
1. Devils Powerplay
Yes, the Devils scored the tying goal on a powerplay opportunity tonight. But, once again, the Devils special teams struggled, going just 1-for-5 tonight. They’re only 1-for-15 during the preseason, and even though they haven’t had a full squad, the team should be clicking at a higher percentage. The man-advantage was the Achilles heel for New Jersey last season, and hopefully that doesn’t continue this season.
Bryce Salvador left with an undisclosed injury in the first period and did not return to the game.
The teams finished the game dead even in shots, 28-28.
Adam Mair scored a first period goal. The center, in camp on a tryout contract, is looking to stick with the Devils, and continuing to put up solid performances will do that.
The Devils next preseason game will come October 1 against the Islanders.
The New Jersey Devils continued to trim their roster today, assigning 11 players to Albany of the AHL.
The 11 players to be assigned were defensemen Tyler Eckford and Olivier Magnan-Grenier and forwards Patrick Davis, Stephen Gionta, David McIntyre, Brad Mills, Tim Sestito, Mike Swift, Alexander Vasyunov, Chad Wiseman and Vladimir Zharkov.
Magnan-Grenier, Davis, Mills, Sestito and Gionta were all placed on waivers yesterday, which could allow another team to attempt to acquire them. If those players pass through the noon deadline, they will join the other six players and join Albany.
The players will practice with the Albany Devils in Albany after noon today. Albany has a preseason game against the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, so some of these players may start right away.
There’s nothing really surprising in these moves, but it once again heats up competition within camp. With the number of roster spots quickly shrinking, I’d expect to see some hard fought battles for positions. Remember, general manager Lou Lamoriello still needs to clear cap space, so some veterans are also playing for a spot on the roster.
On the eve of the Devils fourth preseason game, here’s today’s edition of the Devils’ Sports Page, a collection of all the Devils-related links from around the web.
Devils coach John MacLean expects Brian Rolston to face Flyers (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Greatest NHL players by numbers (Allan Muir/Sports Illustrated)
Marcus Nilson, Adam Mair still battling to win spots on Devils’ roster (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Parise would be willing to negotiate contract during the season if Devils approach him (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
Josefson, Langenbrunner, Brodeur, Rolston to play in Tuesday’s exhibition vs. Philadelphia (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
Rookie defenseman Matt Taormina feeling more comfortable as Devils’ camp progresses (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
30 Teams in 30 Days: New Jersey Devils (Jamie Bell/TSN.ca)
Fantasy Puck Preview: New Jersey Devils (Scott Cullen/TSN.ca)
Devils want to recapture playoff glory (Mike Morreale/NHL.com)
Volchenkov, Tallinder revamp Devils defense (Phil Coffey/NHL.com)
Kovy ready to meet increased expectations (Phil Coffey/NHL.com)
Parise shines without the spotlight (Dave Lozo/NHL.com)
Throughout the offseason and training camp, The Devils’ Den will preview the Devils 2010-2011 schedule, giving you an in-depth preview of the 29 other teams the Devils will face next season. We’ve already completed several previews, all of which can be found under the “Season Preview” tab. For the final schedule preview, we go to the Western Conference, taking a look at this season’s matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Devils vs. Blue Jackets – Historical Data
In 10 all-time regular season meetings against the Blue Jackets, the Devils are 6-2-1-1. New Jersey averages 2.90 goals against Columbus, and allows the Blue Jackets to average 2.40 goals against them. Last season, the teams faced each other one, with the Devils winning, 6-3, at the Prudential Center.
The Devils rode the hot hand of their powerplay to blow the game open. Zach Parise scored the first powerplay goal, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0, at 13:01 of the first period. Paul Martin extended the lead to 2-0 with a second consecutive powerplay goal just 1:14 into the second period. Antoine Vermette put the Blue Jackets on the board, scoring an even-strength goal at 12:32 of the period to cut the Devils lead to 2-1. The Devils powerplay would strike again, with Ilya Kovalchuk netting the team’s third straight man-advantage goal at 12:32 of the second to put the Devils ahead, 3-1.
A three goal lead wasn’t enough, as the Devils continued to pile on the offense. Travis Zajac upped the Devils lead to 4-1 with an even strength goal at 15:40 of the second period. The Devils’ center struck again at 19:07 of the period, giving the Devils a comfortable 5-1 lead. Jakub Voracek scored an even strength goal at 19:40 of the second for the Blue Jackets, sending the teams into the dressing room with the Devils ahead, 5-2.
The burst of scoring didn’t carry over into the third period. Kristian Huselius brought the score to 5-3 with a goal 6:00 into the third period. If Columbus had hopes of a comeback, Parise snuffed them out with his second goal of the game at 12:52 of the period. His score put the Devils ahead, 6-3, and ended any comeback hope for the Blue Jackets.
Devils vs. Blue Jackets – This Season’s Matchup
The Devils and Blue Jackets once this season, on March 20 in Columbus.
The Blue Jackets made little changes to a team that finished next to last in the Western Conference last season. The team re-signed most of its own talent, including Mason, who signed a two year extension. The team claimed Ethan Moreau off of waiver from the Edmonton Oilers, and will welcome back Nikita Filatov, one of the organization’s prospects, from Russia.
The Blue Jackets are better than last year’s standings would show. The team has one of the most talented wingers in the game in Rick Nash, and forwards who are possible of lighting the lamp often. However, the defense and goaltending remain a question, and it will be the answer that defines where this team will finish. Other than that, it’s a one game series, so it shouldn’t have much bearing on where the Devils finish in the Eastern Conference. This could be a trap game, since it’s sandwiched around potential playoff teams.
In nine career starts against Columbus, Brodeur is 5-2-1-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and a .902 save percentage…In 39 games against the Blue Jackets, Jason Arnott has 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) and is plus-19.