Jacob Josefon has been an interesting guy to watch play this season. On one hand, he started out on the fourth line in training camp and stayed there to start each of the Devils’ first five games. Yet, sure enough, by the middle or end of those games, Josefon had seen time in the top six forwards, not to mention a lot of penalty kill time. While the Devils consider him a natural centermen, Josefon, who shoots lefty, has the ability to play the wing and has slid into that role in the past.
So it makes sense that Pete DeBoer is finally giving Josefon a shot to start Thursday’s game on the wing of the Devils’ top line, which has been filled by roughly five or six players through the first five games.
“It’s game to game,” DeBoer said of Josefon’s chances to stick in that spot. “He’s gonna get an opportunity there. I like some of the things he brings to the table in that spot. He smart enough and quick enough to skate with those guys, so we’ll see how it goes.”
DeBoer isn’t necessarily sold on the idea of Josefon as a full-time winger, but he’s able to do so because of the Devils’ flexibility up the middle.
“They’re all so versatile,” DeBoer said. “Patty Elias has played the wing before. (Josefson) can go to the wing. Zubrus can go to center. The versatility of our group is one its strengths.”
Corey GriffinI wrote about the seemingly rotating list of players at this spot when Stefan Matteau got his first crack at it, but Matteau never seemed to last past the first period. Josefon, like I said above, stands out as an interesting fit here. He’s a bit of an X-factor for the Devils this season. It be a huge boost for the forward-needy Devils if Josefon is able to contribute on a 40- to 45-point pace in this shortened season while playing 18 minutes a night. The Devils simply don’t have a guy like that. He becomes even more valuable if you add in his ability to kill penalties and the fact that he can be very dangerous offensively even when short handed. While Dainius Zubrus could still end on the left side on the top line once Adam Henrique moves back to second line center, I think it’s becoming obvious through five games that Josefon very well could be the difference between the Devils simply making the playoffs and them being a dangerous team on a nightly basis that can skate with and beat any other team in the East.