Mattias Tedenby placed on non-roster waivers

With Ryan Carter returning to the lineup against the Blackhawks following a knee injury, winger Mattias Tedenby was put on non-roster waivers by the team. The move allows for another team to claim him, but if he is not claimed, he can be sent down to Albany.

Dave Turner

This move isn’t very surprising, in fact it was a move that seemed like it was bound to happen. With Tedenby being put on non-roster waivers, it not only immediately cleared the roster space for Carter, but it does allow the Devils to stick him in Albany. At this point, it’s just a matter of if he gets claimed by any team. If he is not claimed by noon on Saturday, he will be sent to the A-Devils.

At this juncture, it would be a better move for both parties if Tedenby is claimed by another team. The speedy, former first-round draft pick has shown some flashes of strong play, but has been plagued by inconsistency in his career. He never really seemed to fit into the Devils system, which requires both strong forechecking and backchecking. 402px-MattiasTedenby

On a team that runs a more wide-open system, the Vetlanda, Sweden native has the speed and stick handling ability to make some plays. Perhaps a team out west like Edmonton or Colorado would be a nice fit for his skill set.

Not all is lost for Mattias, as he could end up going to Albany. Of course, his two-way contract of $600,000 would still count in Albany. They’d have to pay all of the remaining money on the contract if Tedenby plays either in Albany or New Jersey for the rest of the season.

The fact is, this is a move that had to be done. With more players coming back over the next few days, the Devils had to finally risk losing Tedenby via waivers. His best season with New Jersey came in 2010-2011, when he scored eight goals and added 14 assists, while playing in 58 games for New Jersey. Tedenby has just two goals for New Jersey in the three seasons since, in 62 games. He has one goal in 15 games this year, with a minus-eight rating.

Though there was so much promise surrounding him when the Devils used the twenty-fourth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to select him, it’s clear that his years of inconsistent play may find him once again in Albany, or even another team’s sweater in the near future.

Devils recent success fueled by backchecking, pinch ins and no giveaways

Jeff OConnor

If the New Jersey Devils score five goals a night, they are going to win a lot of hockey games.  That’s likely not going to be the case for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.  Three goals a night is realistic and ideal for this team to be successful.  While everyone may have been blinded by the offensive production last night, three aspects may have been overlooked that have been just as key over the last few games.

The first is backchecking.  If you were at The Rock last night, you can see the whole ice and watch the entire play develop.  I’ve never seen the Devils forwards hustle back on defense more than I did last night.  Can you even recall an odd-man rush for Nashville last night?  I can’t.  There were several times last night where Devils forwards caught up to Predator players and stole the puck in the neutral zone.  Jacob JosefsonI’m not sure if we will see it like that night every night, but that is one of the assets of this team with a few veterans out.  Guys like Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby need to take every stride like its their last.  They’ve skated like their hockey lives have depended on it and it’s helped this team win games.

The second aspect on display last night was the defensemen stepping up in the attacking zone.  It felt like 2011-12 last night.  All the defensemen were pinching up from the blue line to keep pucks in the offensive zone.  This is what made the Devils so dangerous that year.  Not only was the forecheck from the forwards ferocious, but their defense was tremendous at holding the puck in the attacking zone to tire out their other team and create scoring chances.  Now ask yourself this, when are defensemen willing to pinch in the offensive zone?  If they have trust that the team’s forwards will be there to back them up.  Last night, the other defenseman slid over to the “pinched-in” area while a forward came back up the middle to cover for the rotating blue liner.  It was executed seamlessly on many occasions last night.  If the defenseman didn’t keep the puck in, it rolled out to the neutral zone where a Devil flagged it down seemingly most every time.  The other team won’t be scoring very much if that’s the best they can do in exiting their own zone.

The lack of giveaways in the defensive end last night was very encouraging.  When that happens, that makes zone exits a little cleaner and leads to a transition game through the neutral zone.  There was one segment last night, I believe in the second period, where the team had five or six tries to get the puck out of their own end but the Preds held it in.  That was it, though.  The Devils didn’t have any giveaways that led to prime, quality scoring chances.  Cory SchneiderThe defense has played positionally sound for a few weeks now.  If they can limit giveaways on TOP of that, Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider won’t have to do much of anything.

Now, they’re not going to play like this for the next 60-some games, but it provides a glimpse of their ceiling when they are playing their best hockey.
So while scoring goals is big for this team, if they get great goaltending and excel in backchecking, pinch-ins and limiting the giveaways in their own end, this offense may not need to be great.

And if they do turn out to be a great unit, well look out then, Metropolitan Division.

Final Score: Devils 5 Predators 0

The New Jersey Devils closed out a strong weekend of play with a dominating 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators.  The win moves the Devils to 5-7-5 on the season.

- This one was all Devils from the outset, as they were fast, disciplined and controlled the play all night.

- Jaromir Jagr notched the 1,700th point of his career with his first period goal.

- Martin Brodeur turned in yet another stellar performance in net, stopping all fifteen Predator shots.

- Travis Zajac scored his first goal in seven games when he ripped a shot home in the third period to ice the game for New Jersey.

Dave Turner

It may have taken 17 games to do so, but we finally saw a complete 60-minute effort from the New Jersey Devils.

They came out flying and kept up the pressure en-route to the dominating 5-0 win over the Predators.

After a frustrating 2-1 shootout loss on Friday night, the Devils seemed to have found their legs against Nashville. Forechecking, defense, passing, it was all on display on Sunday night from Prudential Center.

The win caps a strong weekend for the Devils, who gained five of a possible six points in just three nights. They seem to be finding their stride at the right time, as they’ll travel to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night before playing a back-to-back against the Penguins and Kings next weekend.

With his early struggles so far away in the rear-view mirror at this point, Martin Brodeur might be the hottest goaltender in the NHL right now.

It was the kind of night where everything seemed to go well. Cam Janssen scored his second goal in three games when he banged home a rebound off of an excellent shot by Ryan Carter and Mattias Tedenby got his first goal of the season as well.

There’s no doubt that their confidence is high after their best effort of the young season, but it’ll take more of the same effort next week if this team hopes to even up their record at .500.

When Salvador Comes Back, Who Should Go?

When New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador returns to the team, someone will have to head back to the minors.  There are several different options to choose from for GM Lou Lamoriello, which makes the decision a difficult one.  Dave and Jeff debate who should be the odd man out that’s sent to Albany.


Dave Turner: 

This is a tough decision, but the play of Eric Gelinas has put the Devils in a tough situation. If Gelinas wasn’t playing as well as he is, the decision would be quite simple: send him back down to Albany. In the preseason he was good, and now in three games, he’s already showing signs of the big-time expectations that this club has for him.

With that being said, I believe that it’s Peter Harrold who has to go. Here is where things get tricky… Harrold would have to clear waivers if he’s sent down to Albany. That fact means that any team could pick him up if the Devils were to try to send him down. Would the Devils like to lose him? Certainly not. Like Harrold or not, he’s a decent defenseman. He’s solid in his own zone and he has the ability to make some nice breakout passes.

What it boils down to right now is that Gelinas does more for this club than Harrold does. Would it be worth it to lose Harrold for nothing in order to keep Gelinas? I believe the answer to that is yes. The former Boston College Eagle was a nice part of the 2011-2012 Eastern Conference Championship team, but we know his ceiling. At his best, Harrold is a sixth defenseman. Optimally, he’s a very good seventh guy who can step in to the lineup and compete in the case of an injury.

The other x-factor in this decision is Mark Fayne. He has stepped it up in his opportunities so far this season and he’d serve just fine as the seventh defenseman. If this was an issue of leaving the team with only six d-men, then yes, Harrold would have to stay, but with Fayne, the team has the luxury of having a seventh man on the roster.

The other issue with sending No. 10 to Albany would be that if he does clear waivers, which is totally possible, his one-way, two-year contract at $800,000 would have to be paid as is. Lou Lamoriello has said that he doesn’t want to stash an NHL contract down in Albany, so that is definitely a deciding factor.

With the new ownership, $800,000 is not an exorbinant amount of money to eat. Gelinas is making $210,000 in Albany, so really, the difference is $590,000. In the pursuit of trying to win games and make the playoffs, is that such an insurmountable number? I don’t think so.

Though it would be unfortunate to lose Harrold if he’s picked up on waivers, keeping Eric Gelinas and Mark Fayne on the roster gives this team the best chance to win. We’ve already seen a glimpse of what Gelinas can do and it’s worth the risk, even at the expense of either losing Harrold, or paying him big money in the minors.

Eric Gelinas


Jeff O’Connor

Believe it or not, Eric Gelinas should be the one heading back to Albany.  Gelinas goes back to Albany, Salvador steps back into the starting lineup. Now, Pete DeBoer shouldn’t look at him as being in the minors. The Devils should call him back up when they feel a veteran should be healthy scratched. How you can do that, is sending players like Stephen Gionta, Mattias Tedenby or Jacob Josefson through waivers.

After losing Alex Urbom on waivers, I can’t see Lamoriello letting another defenseman going for nothing, but maybe he’d let a forward go if it means he could keep all his defensemen and use them how he wants to. The Devils have a surplus of bottom line spare parts like the afforementioned three. If potentially losing one of them means, in essence, keeping Gelinas around without losing Fayne or Harrold, they should go for it.

This probably goes against all conventional front office thinking, but it could work if the Devils don’t mind losing a forward. It’s highly doubtful anyone claims one of those three anyway. If they are, they must be on their active NHL roster. A team can’t claim one of those three forwards and just stash him with their AHL affiliate. Consider that when Ryane Clowe comes back, another forward will be dropping down to Albany anyway, so there will be EVEN MORE extra forwards.

Keeping Gelinas “on the team” will make the Devils the best club they can be. Their goaltending is set, they did all they could in the offseason to re-tool their offense and now their defense can have all its assets on the big roster. If they keep Gelinas around, they are leaving no stone unturned for 2013-14 and are putting the best possible roster they can on the ice every night.

Devils trim roster to 28

The Devils assigned eight players to the AHL and returned one to WHL.

New Jersey assigned goaltender Scott Wedgewood, defensemen Brandon Burlon, Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill and forwards Stefan Matteau, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo to Albany.

The returned defenseman Damon Severson to the WHL.

The current depth chart is now:

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Instant Insight: Preseason Game 2- Islanders 5, Devils 3

Dave Turner

Game two featured the debut of quite a few new faces for New Jersey. The Islanders jumped out to a 4-1 lead after one period, but the Devils hung tough in the 5-3 loss.

Some notes and observations from the game:

- There are some who are already grumbling about Martin Brodeur’s play in his first preseason action. There’s no need to make sweeping assessments about the play of both Brodeur and Cory Schneider after one preseason game. Brodeur has been through many preseasons, and he knows how to get himself ready for the regular season. If he’s giving up four goals in a period, ten games into the regular season, sure then there’s concern. As for right now, it’s still very early.

- Jon Merrill bounced back from a bad play of a two-on-one that resulted in a goal, to finish with two points on the night. He had the primary assist off of his shot from the point that was tipped in by Rostislav Olesz in the first period. He also added a goal in the second period on a great feed from Eric Gelinas. Merrill excels offensively, but he doesn’t seem like his defensive game is quite there yet.

- Speaking of Olesz, he has quietly gotten off to a strong start in the preseason. With the likes of Mattias Tedenby and Damien Brunner garnering much of the attention, the former Florida Panther draft pick has two points in two games, after scoring in the 2nd period against the Islanders.

- Eric Gelinas is once again showing showed once again why he belongs in New Jersey.  The young blueliner has shown the kind of offensive upside from the point that the Devils haven’t seen since Brian Rafalski left for Detroit. At this point, if the Ottawa, Ontario native is able to avoid any sort of major letdown, there’s a good chance that he’ll make this team.

- Damien Brunner didn’t do much to stand out in this game. He’ll need some time to get used to the Devils system and get himself situated. With Mattias Tedenby and Olesz each with a goal and playing well, there’s definitely no guarantee that Brunner is a lock to make the team just because of what he did last season.

- On a side note, it was a funny moment to see Krys Barch and Brett Gallant of the Islanders remove each other’s helmets during their fight. A bit of chivalry? Not so much. The league implemented a new rule this week that forbids players from removing their helmets prior to a fight. The penalty for removing said headgear is an additional two minute minor. Well, Barch and Gallant found the loophole.

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Now or Never: The Clock Is Ticking On Mattias Tedenby

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Dave Turner

Though he sports a scar from the past, Mattias Tedenby is focused on the future.

After scoring a goal in the Devils 2-1 preseason win over the Rangers, the Swedish winger is hoping that he can continue to impress the coaching staff and make the team out of camp. With the recent addition of Damien Brunner into camp on a tryout, there is a logjam of players fighting for only a few spots.

The past is still too real for the young forward. While playing in Albany last season, Tedenby took a skate to the face, which resulted in a cut on his right cheek that reportedly took over 130 stitches to close. While the injury has healed, what cannot be ignored is the amount of time that he has spent up in Albany with the AHL Devils.

In fact, the former first round draft pick has seen his time in New Jersey decrease over that time. He broke into the league with 58 games played in New Jersey during his rookie year, followed by 43 in 2011-2012 and only four last season.

Armed with a new one-year contract for 2013-2014, Tedenby is down to what might be his last chance to impress the coaches and finally solidify himself as an everyday NHL player.

The goal against the Rangers was a great start, but Devils fans have seen this before from him; a good game that instantly increases expectations, followed by a streak of inconsistent play.

“To start off with a goal and a win, it feels pretty good,” said Tedenby after the preseason opener. “It’s good for the confidence and good for me personally, too.”

In an effort to be stronger on the puck, the 23-year-old winger, who is wearing number nine this year, has added some muscle. “Physically, in the corners and stuff it helps, but it takes a little bit of time to adjust to more weight.  [You] get tired faster, but if I get a few more practices, it’ll turn out good.”

There is no doubt that the Vetlanda, Sweden native has the offensive skill to put up points in the NHL. He has struggled with positioning and defensive responsibility in the Devils system, which requires forwards to backcheck consistently. He is looking to show the coaching staff that he can play a sound, two-way game.

“I thought Teddy had a very good game,” said Pete DeBoer. “With him, it’s one game at a time, like with all of the guys who are fighting for those roster spots. You play a good game and you get an opportunity to play another one.”

That was a response that sums up Tedenby pretty well. He has the speed and stick handling to make an impact, but he the biggest thing for him is to come out and play well every night. One goal helps, but it wont mean much if he can’t follow up his performance with a few more solid outings before roster cuts have to be made.For all the progress he might have made thus far, one bad game could put him right back where he started.

This is the make-or-break year for Mattias Tedenby, or else a once promising future will quickly become his past. 

Damien Brunner to Devils for camp tryout

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Dave Turner

In a move that was long rumored over the summer, Damien Brunner will be attending training camp, looking to make the club.

This is a no-brainer if you ask me. Give him a tryout, see how he does, and if it doesn’t pan out, there’s no harm done.

Brunner had 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) last year in 44 games for the Red Wings to go along with five goals and four assists in fourteen playoff games with Detroit in 2013.

The 27-year-old Swiss winger can bring speed and scoring to a team that is still looking to bolster their offense.

Where this move makes the most sense to me, is that it instantly creates a heated camp battle between the likes of Mattias Tedenby, Rostislav Olesz and Stefan Matteau. With another talented body in camp, it forces all of those players to be that much better if they hope to make the team.

We’ll get our first look at Olesz and Tedenby in just a few minutes. Any time you can create competition in camp for roster spots, it’s a good thing. Now it’s up to Brunner to prove he belongs.

More to come after the game.

Pregame Preview: Preseason Game 1 – Devils vs. Rangers

Dave Turner

It might not count in the standings, but tonight we’re finally treated to some Devils hockey for the first time since their April 27th loss at Madison Square Garden.

For some players, this is their first major chance to prove that they belong on the roster. For others, it’s a chance to get some live game action and work towards being ready for the season.

The lineup for today features a range of players, from some who are locks to make the club, to some who will most certainly be in Albany to start the year.

Here are some points for today’s game:

The first look at Cory Schneider

Tonight, number 35 will be between the pipes for his first-ever game in New Jersey. Schneider will most likely play the first two periods before giving way to backup Keith Kinkaid. Normally, a backup goalie starting a preseason game wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the battle for the number-one spot in net begins tonight.Cory Schneider

There’s no doubt that the team will be evaluating Schneider and Martin Brodeur with every chance that they get. It would most likely take an injury to Brodeur to keep him from starting opening night, but after that, those minutes are up for the taking. If the former Canuck can get off to a great start, he will put a lot of pressure on Brodeur to match him.

That being said, it’ll be a great chance to get a look at Schneider for the first time as a Devil. Preseason games always have the chance of being sloppy, and he could be tested early and often. He’s known for his excellent rebound control, and he might need it tonight.

I’m sure there will be some nerves for Schneider early on. Though the game means nothing in the standings, he’ll be looking to prove to the coaches that he is as good as advertised.

Three players with a lot to prove tonight

1. Mattias Tedenby- Another year, and another chance for the Swedish winger. He’s not a lock to make the roster and now is the chance for him to prove that he deserves some ice time during the regular season. Tedenby is basically at the end of the line in terms of his Devils career. He’ll be looked at with a microscope in the preseason. A point or two, or even some solid offensive play will go a long way for Tedenby in the eyes of the coaches.

2. Reid Boucher- Yes, that Reid Boucher. As i’ve said before, the young winger is not expected to make the opening night roster. Nothing is written in stone though, and there’s no way that the team wouldn’t take notice if Boucher finishes with a few points and plays well. If he wants to at least get himself into the conversation for a roster spot, now’s the chance. Reid Boucher

3. Eric Gelinas- I believe that Gelinas still has the best shot of any defensive prospect to make the team out of camp. Tonight will be a big first step towards that, if he’s able to play well. He’s paired with Alexander Urbom,  so the two young defensemen will be looking to make a splash. Sure, Gelinas needs to be strong in his own end, but he’ll most likely get some power play minutes tonight, and that is where he can start to set himself apart. Shoot Eric, Shoot!

Is this the year Adam Larsson takes the next step?

Adam Larsson was pretty good last year for the Devils, but pretty good wasn’t exactly what the Devils had in mind when they drafted Larsson fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Swedish d-man needs to take a step towards becoming a legitimate top-pairing defenseman. With another offseason to bulk up and soak in what he’s learned, this third NHL season for Larsson should be one where he begins to mature into a big-time player, capable of logging major minutes.

He hasn’t show much offensive upside yet, and with a different power play this year, he might get some power play time. Larsson was envisioned as a two-way player capable of being a power play quarterback. We haven’t seen that yet. He’ll most likely get some power play time tonight, so there will be a chance for him to impress in the offensive zone.

What can we expect tonight?

It’s the first preseason game, so the players are getting their first taste of full-contact play. Conditioning is still a work in progress for many, but it’s the young players that will have the most to prove tonight. For anyone that is a lock to make the team, it’s just another chance to get up to game speed. For anyone on the fringe, this is a do or die opportunity to show the coaches that they belong.

No prediction for this one, other than that we will see a hard-fought game from those who have a lot to prove tonight.

 

 

Five burning questions for Devils training camp

Dave Turner

As camp begins, the team is starting to take shape. Still, many questions remain about the roster and who will be a contributor this year. Here are five of the biggest questions coming into the season.

1. Can the defense begin to rebound?

Bryce SalvadorLast season was a tough campaign for the Devils defense.  Players like Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov struggled mightily at times. There’s no doubt that this is going to be an offensively-challenged team this season, so the impetus will be on the defense to step up their game. Salvador, who is 37, must be better this season. He’s going to be expected to log major minutes, and he has to carry the load. As the captain, there’s even more pressure on him to play well. Number 24 was so good in the 2011-2012 playoffs, that maybe the frantic 2102-2013 season was just a blip on the radar for him.

As far as Volchenkov goes, the Russian d-man had a challenging 2012-13 campaign. For a player that has made a career of blocking vulcanized rubber with all parts of his body, it seems like the rigors of his physical play have finally caught up to him. Volchenkov looked extremely slow, and that lack of speed resulted in poor positioning and many bad penalties.

It’s certainly not out of the question that one, or both of these defensemen can turn back the clock and provide a steady presence on the blue line this season. For both, there will be pressure to perform or else they’ll both end up sitting. With seven defensemen on the roster, and the glut of young, talented prospects, Salvador and Volchenkov will be under pressure to perform right away.

2. Speaking of defensive prospects, which young blueliner has the best chance of making the club out of camp?

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