Admittedly, one of my weaker points of hockey knowledge is the prospect pool. With so many players in several countries, I haven’t had the time to catch up on the big names and the late-round steals.
Thankfully, Jared Ramsden does this all the time. Ramsden writes for Hockey’s Future, specifically covering the New Jersey Devils. He found some time to answer a few questions I sent him about the Devils’ prospects and this year’s draft. Here is the interview:
Nick Palmieri has three goals in nine games this season. Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/AP Photo
1. We’ve seen players like Nick Palmieri, Mattias Tedenby, and Mark Fayne have an impact this season. What can we expect to see from these rookies as they continue their development?
Tedenby has obviously shown flashes of what he can bring to the table, and now that Lemaire seems to be satisfied with his understanding of his system and the defensive zone, it’s going to be pretty hard to keep him out of the line-up. He’s supremely skilled and very confident with the puck on his stick, What also stands out for me is that for a guy of his stature, he is very strong on the puck. He has the makings of a 25-30 goal scorer.
It’s a little harder to get a read on Palmieri, but I think the team has high hopes for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a little more time in the AHL this year. However, he’s really close to breaking through and sticking. He brings a different dimension than a lot of the other prospects do, in that he has power-forward potential. It might take a little longer for his development to reach full bloom, but he’s on the right path.
Fayne obviously has been somewhat of a surprise this year given that it is his first year as a pro. While he hasn’t been a stand-out and had some up’s and down’s, he’s played quite well for a guy that was playing in the NCAA last year. His upside isn’t that of a Jon Merrill or Alexander Urbom
, but he’s a big kid who can skate well and he might be a prefect fit to have on the third pairing. He still has a little bit of learning to do, but he’s a guy that is likely going to get more and more confident each and every game.
After sitting for nine straight games, Tedenby has found himself back in the lineup. Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/AP Photo
2. How do you project Tedenby to develop? Could he become the next Zach Parise?
I’m not sure if he’s going to reach the status of Parise (35-40 goals, 80-90 points), but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the team and fans alike to see him scoring 25-30 goals, 60-65 points on a fairly regular basis once he’s fully developed. He is blessed with so much natural skill, and what’s he’s shown briefly this season, is only going to magnify once he matures and gets more confident.
3. The Devils have replenished the system a bit in the past few years, but how is the overall health of the Devils’ system. Where is the organization weakest/strongest?
The health of the Devils system is vastly improved from years past, and what we are seeing now is the first wave of prospects coming from the AHL. More than half of the prospects in the system are either in their first or second years of pro hockey, and are getting to the point where the team knows what they have in certain players and if they are going to be part of the future or not. Guys like Tedenby, Vladimir Zharkov
, Palmieri, Fayne and Corrente are getting chances to strut their stuff right now, and guys like Adam Henrique
, Jacob Josefson
, David McIntyre
, Alexander Vasyunov
and Urbom are right behind them.
The team could definitely use a little more top end talent at any position, and they may just get a chance to address that this year if they end up drafting in the top 5, which at this point is very likely. The goaltending depth is defintiely a weak point, but with the addition of Scott Wedgewood
and Maxime Clermont
last draft, this is an area that is starting to be addressed and will be continued to be addressed over the course of the next two-three years.