Home > Analysis > The New and Improved Second Line: Now With Tedenby!

The New and Improved Second Line: Now With Tedenby!

The New Jersey Devils offense, woeful through the first 23 games of the season, finally showed some signs of life recently. It wasn’t a re-discovery of Ilya Kovalchuk’s scoring prowess or a goal binge by Brian Rolston. Rather, a rookie call-up keyed the turnaround.

Mattias Tedenby, a short right winger who didn’t play hockey in North America until this season, finally gave the Devils offense life. The rookie helped provide excitement and, more importantly, keyed an awakening of the second line.

Mattias Tedenby has helped linemates Patrik Elias and Jason Arnott find their offensive game. They've also played a little defense too. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Through the first 14 games of the season, New Jersey’s second line massively underperformed. Both Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias couldn’t find their old chemistry, and the addition of Jamie Langenbrunner did little to help their production. Each forward carried a negative plus/minus rating, and goals were difficult to come by. A line that began with such promise during the preseason seemed to crumble into a lackluster, mismatched failure.

With the team battling several injuries, Tedenby earned his call-up for the Devils’ November 10 game against the Buffalo Sabres. During the pre-season, Tedenby seemed to struggle with the smaller ice surface and physical play in the NHL. As a result, the organization sent him to Albany to gain experience. In 10 games, Tedenby collected five points (three goals, two assists), hardly numbers worthy to get excited about. The Devils’ rookie right-winger collected his first career NHL point, an assist, in the 5-4 shootout loss. It was an uneventful start. But the rookie would continue to improve and make the most of his NHL call-up.

Tedenby celebrated his “coming-out” party against the Edmonton Oilers two nights later. The rookie put five shots on net, and scored his first career goal. It took a superhuman effort from Oilers backup Devan Dubnyk to keep Tedenby from scoring through two periods. The right-winger ultimately won the battle, beating Dubnyk with a re-direction for the game-tying goal. The Devils would go on to win that game, 4-3, and Tedenby would continue to grow. Since then, he’s collected six points. He’s used a beautiful backhand move to beat two goalies, including one in a penalty shot opportunity. Tedenby provided energy and spark to the second line, and both coaching staff and players took notice.

“Teddy always makes something happen when he’s out there, so it’s exciting,” Devils coach John MacLean said to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger. “He’s a young guy with great confidence with the puck. You have to let his creativity come.”

“He uses his speed well and it adds another dimension to our line,” Arnott said to Michael Mazzeo of ESPN.com. “He just wants to go, go, go all the time. He’s improved every game. And that’s a great sign. He’s shown more confidence to drive to the net, and he’s not afraid to get in there.”

The evidence of Tedenby’s impact is found in the stats. Through nine games, the second line combination of Elias – Arnott – Tedenby created eight goals, compared to the seven the second line created in the 14 previous games. Since joining the line, both Elias and Arnott are plus rated players. The line seems to generate several scoring chances per game, and looks like the best line MacLean can put on the ice.

While Tedenby’s positive presence brought success to the line, the rookie still needs to improve. Goalies are beginning to learn his patented backhanded move, evidenced by the shootout save by Brian Boucher during Saturday’s game. He also needs to skate with his head up. Some teams, especially the Boston Bruins, were able to knock Tedenby down pretty easily. If he continues to improve, the possibilities are endless.

Right now, Tedenby’s linemates enjoy playing with the rookie. Arnott even used the word “fun” to describe the rookie’s presence on his line.

“It’s been fun playing with him,” Arnott said. “He certainly keeps our legs going, that’s for sure.”

  1. Steve
    December 1, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I think Tedenby has been great with Arnott and Elias. I wish MacLean would keep the together. He has reminded me of a young Sykora on that line.

  2. Steve
    December 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I think he has looked like a young Sykora while playing with Arnott and Elias. It would be nice for MacLean to keep that line together.

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