The New Jersey Devils fell 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in the shootout. The loss has brought their record to 1-5-4 on the season.
The Least You Should Know:
- The Devils drop to 0-3 in the shootout this season after failing to beat Roberto Luongo in the skills competition.
- Rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas played in his first NHL game and scored his first career goal on the power play in the first period.
- The Devils outshot the Canucks 30-21, which included 17 shots in the third period.
- Cory Schneider took much of the blame for the loss. “Those were two bad goals there that cost us a point. It shouldn’t have even gone to a shootout,” said Schneider after the loss. “It’s my fault we lost a point tonight.”
Another strong night, yet an all too familiar result.
The Devils fell in a shootout for the third time this season after a game where they felt they played well enough to get two points.
Sure, there are positives to take away. The line of Andrei Loktionov, Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr was excellent. They connected on a first period goal that was about as pretty as they come.
Eric Gelinas stepped into the lineup and made his presence felt right away. His first period power play goal gave the Devils a 2-1 lead. Gelinas tallied 16:27 of ice time and had a great defensive play in overtime that cancelled a Vancouver opportunity.
Still, all of the strong points to their play don’t hold much merit when the results just aren’t there. One win in their first ten games leaves a lot to be desired.
“I thought we were the better team out there for the 65 minutes, said Patrik Elias. ” We had plenty of chances to win that hockey game.”
Elias returned to the lineup after a two game absence and scored on a beautiful set up from Loktionov and Jagr.
“It’s tough because there have been games where we played pretty good hockey and didn’t find a way to win and tonight is another example of that. We’ve got to stay positive, but I wish we got those two points tonight because we deserved it tonight,” added Elias.
Things won’t get much easier for the Devils as they travel to Boston on Saturday to take on the Bruins and Tuukka Rask, who has been nothing short of sensational so far this season.
“I thought a lot of guys played the right way,” said Adam Henrique. “A lot of guys were battling hard and now we have to take that and move forward, we have to do that night in and night out.”
Throughout the game, the Devils showed poise on defense, which resulted in a strong game out of the back end, with no glaring breakdowns. Offensively, they moved the puck very well at times and compiled 17 shots on Roberto Luongo in the third period. Despite the flurry of pucks towards the net, they weren’t able to solve the Canucks goaltender over the final 45 minutes.
Cory Schneider stopped 19 of 21 Vancouver shots on the night, but gave up two goals that he’d certainly like to have back. The first was a misplayed puck in front of the net and the second was a sneaky shot by Daniel Sedin from the left side that snuck under his right pad. ”Danny [Sedin] just stepped into it and I thought he was going to get it up a little bit and I was just a split-second late closing off the ice and it snuck under.”
The young netminder was quick to point out that he felt the team played well enough to get the win.
“It was just two real bad goals that cost us a point, it should never have gotten to a shootout,” said Schneider, who took the blame for the loss. “It’s my fault we lost a point tonight.”
It’s another frustrating loss for this team, but the feeling around the dressing room seems to be that this team knows that they’re playing strong enough hockey to win games.
At some point though, these efforts have to turn into wins. If not, the Devils may soon find themselves in an uphill battle towards qualifying for the postseason.
1. Jaromir Jagr - he was tenacious on the boards and won a plethora of puck battles. He assisted on Patrik Elias’s goal and was a force all night.
2. Patrik Elias - Coming off of an illness, you wouldn’t know it by his play. Elias was creating scoring opportunities all night.
3. Eric Gelinas - The rookie defenseman certainly didn’t look like a rookie out there in his first taste of NHL action. His goal was great, but he was solid in his own zone, which is just as important for him if he hopes to stay in New Jersey.
New Jersey Devils vs Vancouver Canucks, 7:00pm
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
Patrik Elias – Andrei Loktionov – Jaromir Jagr
Rostislav Olesz – Travis Zajac – Damien Brunner
Dainius Zubrus – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas – Adam Larsson
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
Some thought on tonight’s game:
1. What can the Gelinas-Larsson pairing bring? Eric Gelinas was called up after Bryce Salvador left due to a death in the family. After a strong preseason, he get’s his chance. Gelinas has a great shot and showed a lot of promise in the defensive end as well during the preseason. Though it’s likely that he’ll be sent down once Salvador returns, a strong game could certainly work towards changing that. As for Adam Larsson, he’s back in after sitting for a few games. He needs to have a strong game as well. The young Swedish defender must limit any defensive zone breakdowns and begin to show some of the progress he had made during last season.
2. Cory Schneider against his former team: take two. Schneider was good against Vancouver when the teams squared off in British Columbia just a few games ago. He did give up the goal in overtime and you have to expect that with the home ice, he wants to be even better. After a shaky performance against the Blue Jackets, the 27-year-old netminder has to be better tonight, especially with the Canucks scoring goals in bunches so far this season.
3. The new lines, will they work? Once again, the lines are switched for tonight. Though they have to find something that sticks at some point or another, Pete DeBoer is still trying to find the right combinations that will best suit his players. Andrei Loktionov with Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr is a tantalizing combination. Though Loktionov has had some gaffes in the defensive end lately, he still possesses creativity and speed in the offensive end. Put him with two hall-of-fame caliber players and he should be in an excellent position to succeed. Rostislav Olesz has almost silently been very effective this year, he’s a big, tough forechecker who can bring some scoring touch as well. Putting him with Travis Zajac and Damien Brunner may elevate all three.
Prediction: Devils 3, Canucks 2
This is a must-win game for this team. 1-5-3 is already a tough hole to climb out of and any loss at this point makes it even harder. They looked good for about a period and a half against Columbus, but got outworked in the third period and it showed. Expect a very strong effort from this team tonight as they look to show that their win against the Rangers wasn’t a fluke. Patrik Elias’s return makes this lineup deeper and it will translate into some goals.
New Jersey Devils at Columbus Blue Jackets
Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio
TV: MSG Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
The Devils come in to another Metropolitan Division matchup, but this time they’re feeling good about themselves after Saturday’s 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. Columbus has been up and down so far as a new member of the Eastern Conference. They suffered three straight defeats last week before beating the Canucks 3-1 at home. Though it’s early,
Some thought’s on tonight’s game:
1. Keep the confidence level high. There’s no doubt that this team is feeling much better about themselves after their first win of the season, but this game is pivotal as a follow up to the win over the Rangers. If the Devils grab and early lead, their new-found confidence can carry them a long way. If they surrender an early goal or two, they’re almost right back where they started. A big win tonight would help propel this team into two tough contests with the Canucks and Bruins later in the week.
2. Hello, old friend. Marian Gaborik is a division rival, once again. He’s been off to a tremendous start, with eight points in seven games. Though the Devils have done a nice job at neutralizing Gaborik in the past, they’ll have to make sure that they keep him from finding any shooting space or an odd-man rush.
3. Can Schneider get on a roll? Cory Schneider was excellent against the Rangers after a relatively strong performance against the Jets. Another good start could go a long way towards getting him into a nice groove. Can Schneider turn in another exemplary performance tonight and make Pete DeBoer stick with him for the game on Thusday against his former team?
4. Welcome back Damien. Damien Brunner returns to the lineup tonight after a one-game absence. He brings speed and creativity to the lineup. He started out hot, can he get going again after missing the last game? With Patrik Elias still sidelined with an illness, there will be more pressure on the Swiss winger to help carry some of the load, especially on the power play.
Prediction: Devils 3, Blue Jackets 1
I believe that we’ll see a loser, more composed team tonight. No longer is the zero in the win column hanging over them. They finally got rewarded with a win after falling short. Now that the first one is out of the way, they’ll be able to play their game without pressing for that W.
Look for Schneider to shut the door and the Devils to score just enough to squeak out a tough, hard-fought victory.
What Happened: The New Jersey Devils blew another multiple-goal lead on Tuesday night as they fell to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in OT at Rogers Arena. Jaromir Jagr scored in the first period and Patrik Elias netted one early in the second. The Canucks got a pair in a five-minute span midway through the second, before Jason Garrison got the winner in OT.
Star of the Game: Jaromir Jagr. The old man is doing all he can to get the Devils a win. In the first period, he buried a quick one-timer on a snap shot to give the Devils the lead. He had an assist on Elias’ quirky goal to make it 2-0.
Goat of the Game: Damien Brunner. Yes, he’s done a lot to help this club. But he’s now been on the ice for the last four goals the Devils have allowed. I won’t disagree with you if you pick out any of the six defensemen.
Turning Point: Daniel Sedin’s goal. It came just about a minute after the Devils made it 2-0. I thought at the time, it would be a wakeup call for them to keep the pedal to the floor. Wrong. Less than five minutes later, the Canucks tied it.
Offense- B-minus - A lot to like from Jagr and Elias. It may be time to start fretting about the others, though. Has Adam Henrique touched the puck this season? He’s been invisible.
Defense- C – Tough to be mad about the second goal since they were essentially shorthanded but Mark Fayne’s foolish pass at his own blue line set up the goal. None of the six had a considerably solid game.
Special Teams – B-minus - Penalty kill was sharp and the power play got one chance. Not much to grade here.
Goaltending- C-plus - Not much Schneider could do. The first goal was tipped by his own defensemen. The second one happened while an injured player was hobbling off the ice during the long change period. Screened by two guys on the third goal.
Instant Insight: Same thing as the previous three games. Some good and some bad to take. The goaltending has allowed at least three goals in all four games. The defense has been tight at points and has been manhandled during others. The offense has been the most consistent unit.
The more this winless streak builds, the more frustration builds in the locker room, regardless of whether or not they say the right things to the media. Now they have to wait a full two days to try and end this streak when they head to Calgary on Friday.
What Happened: The Devils got out to a 3-0 lead, only to see their lead evaporate behind four third period goals by Edmonton. Patrik Elias scored a shorthanded goal to force overtime, but New Jersey failed to score in the shootout once again, to fall 5-4.
Star of the Game: David Perron. Perron scored the game-tying goal off of a faceoff with a brilliant shot that beat Brodeur over his right shoulder. He also added the eventual winning goal in the shootout, with a slick backhand shelf shot to light the lamp.
Goat of the Game: The entire team in the third period. Defensive breakdowns galore. The first goal was an inability to clear out the net. The second goal was a shot from the point that no one got in front of. The third, all possible because of Travis Zajac’s inability to win a faceoff in the defensive zone. The fourth goal was by far the worst, as Anton Volchenkov and Andrei Loktionov both went towards the puck, leaving Taylor Hall all alone to beat Brodeur.
Turning Point: The power play goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was when it all went south for the Devils. The Oilers were crashing the net hard and Nugent-Hopkins grabbed a lose puck and got the Oilers back in the game. The rest is history.
Offense- A-minus – They moved the puck well, scored early goals and looked very good through the first 40 minutes of play. They scored four goals. If that’s not enough to win a game, that’s on the defense. Seeing Jaromir Jagr rip a gorgeous shot for his first goal as a Devil is a good sign.
Defense- D - More breakdowns in their own end. Those are quickly becoming a theme so far this season. They needed to do a better job of clearing bodies out of the crease on the power play goal that got everything started. The fourth goal was the worst breakdown, as Anton Volchenkov was not in position, which allowed Hall the space in front.
Special Teams – C-plus -The power play got an early tally. As a whole, the man-advantage has looked solid so far. They’re moving the puck and creating chances. With time, the PP has potential to be a strength. As for the PK, they failed to keep the Oilers off the board at a crucial moment. For a team that likes to crash the net such as Edmonton, they needed to do a better job of clearing people out.
Goaltending- C-plus -Brodeur wasn’t terrible. The first goal was a scramble in front and the second seemed like it was slightly tipped. Was Brodeur great? No, but outside of getting beat 1-on-1 by Hall and giving up two goals in the shootout, he played a decent game.
Instant Insight: This is a tough pill to swallow for this team as they blew a huge lead and failed to pick up another point when they had the chance. Just like the first two games, there are positives and negatives to take away. If that’s going to be the theme, then this team is going to struggle to win games. Sure, it’s nice to see Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder off to good starts.
The worst thing out of tonight, was the shootout loss. Eight shootout attempts, zero goals scored. In an 82-game season, where you’re most likely going to have ten-plus shootouts, if the Devils are going to be completely uncompetitive in the end-of-game skills competition, then they will most likely be on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. You can’t just give up the extra points like that.
Tomorrow night’s contest in Vancouver becomes an even more important contest, as the Devils are still winless after their first three games. We’ll have the scoop on Cory Schneider’s return to British Columbia tomorrow.
New Jersey Devils at Edmonton Oilers, 9:30 pm
Rexall Place – Edmonton, Alberta
TV: MSG+ Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am
The Devils head out west to begin their five-game road trip. Up first is the 0-0-2 Edmonton Oilers. Both teams are in search of their first win of the season, so something has to give tonight. While the Oilers are not a great defensive team, they have a tremendous amount of speed on offense. Give them space through the neutral zone and they will make you pay.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returns for the Oilers tonight and Jason LaBarbera will be in goal, after Devan Dubnyk played the first two games of the season.
Here are the Devils lines for tonight, as reported by Tom Gulitti of the Record.
Dainius Zubrus – Patrik Elias – Jaromir Jagr
Adam Henrique – Travis Zajac – Michael Ryder
Ryane Clowe – Andrei Loktionov – Damien Brunner
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Steve Bernier
Bryce Salvador – Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene – Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov – Peter Harrold
Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
Here are some thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Scoring first is key - The Oilers have given up a ton of goals in their first two games. The fact is, they’re not a great defensive team. Throw in the fact that their backup goalie, Jason LaBarbera is making his first start of the season and it should be a recipe for success. Scoring first would go a long way towards the confidence of the Devils as they continue to feel out these lines. Couple in the fact that the crowd in Edmonton can get pretty rowdy, an early tally by New Jersey would do a lot to silence the crowd as well.
2. Stronger play in the neutral zone is paramount - When the Devils have been beaten for goals this year, they have come as a result of breakdowns in neutral ice. Certainly, working in all of the new players has something to do with it, but at some point the team needs to backcheck more efficiently and limit chances. The Islanders torched the Devils with their speed through neutral ice on Friday and the Oilers are a team with similar amounts of speed.
3. Play Eastern Conference hockey. These two clubs haven’t met since January 11th 2012. The contrast in styles is stark. The Oilers are content to push play forward and use their speed to create turnovers and odd-man rushes. As for the Devils, it’s still about working the puck in deep and using their forecheck to their advantage. The Oilers are not a very physical team, so if the Devils are able to establish their forecheck early and possess the puck, they should find some success. Though New Jersey has some weapons, the last thing they want to do is get caught up in an end-to-end game that would play into Edmonton’s favor.
4. How will the new lines work for New Jersey? Patrik Elias is centering Dainius Zubrus and Jaromir Jagr to start the night. Putting Jagr on this line seems like an attempt to get him going. A goal for #68 would go a long way towards getting his confidence up after struggling on Friday night. The line of Clowe, Loktionov and Brunner should be a nice mix of speed and size.
Prediction: Devils 4, Oilers 2
The pressure is mounting for the Devils to get their first win. Another loss, with a showdown tomorrow night against the Canucks, would force New Jersey into what would almost be a must-win situation in Vancouver. A big W tonight would alleviate some of the pressure and also help to lessen much of the burden on Cory Schneider’s start in his return to British Columbia.
As long as the Devils are able to establish their forecheck, they should be able to work the puck around and find some holes in the Oilers defense. Look for the Oilers to come out strong at first, with the return of Nugent-Hopkins to the lineup. In the end, the Devils physical style will be too much and they’ll skate to their first win of the season.
We’ll have our Instant Insight article up after the conclusion of tonight’s game.
By Jeff O’Connor
There’s nothing like a five-game road trip over 11 days for a team to get to know each other better. While the sky may be falling for some Devils fans, there’s more reason to believe than there is to worry.
After being shut out in the first game, they answered back with three goals on Friday. The defense had a bunch of breakdowns on Thursday. In Game No. 2, they played a much cleaner contest in their own third of the ice. The special teams have been sharp as well. The penalty kill is perfect thus far and the power play looks a lot smoother to this point in time.
The goaltending wasn’t hot, but that won’t stay that way for the whole year. Yes, there have been some little things like spacing and guys bumping into each other, but that’s to be expected.
“It’s a working process for these guys,” said Patrik Elias. “We play a certain style and we have to trust each other on the ice that everyone plays that way. If you have one guy maybe who’s still trying to second-guess and isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do out there, it affects the whole line and the whole team.”
As far as the eye test goes, things could look a lot worse. For the first two games, they’ve controlled the tempo of play, held possession for extended times in the offensive zone while not allowing much sustained pressure for the opposition. So while they don’t have a win yet, a lot of the little things have already appeared.
We mentioned on Friday, that once the Devils took that zero after the scoreboard, they would play looser and more fluid. Same goes for tonight. Getting that zero off the front of the record will go a long way towards building team chemistry and confidence. The longer it lingers, the more they’ll pop up in the media for all the wrong reasons.
Don’t get me wrong; there becomes a certain point where it’s time to worry. There’s no way to give this team a true grade until they conclude this road trip. It’s shortsighted to jump the gun and give this team an identity, for better or worse.
There were injuries in the preseason and lines were constantly mixed.
“Sometimes you still find yourself thinking out there, but that’s what practice is for,” said newcomer Michael Ryder. “That’s why you have to keep some things more simple until you get a little more comfortable out there.”
There’s no easy way to do this for Pete DeBoer. Right now, improvement, no matter how big or small, is what he wants to see every night. He’s seen a glimpse of what Ryder and Damien Brunner can do. It’s tough to evaluate Ryane Clowe because he hasn’t had any notable shifts yet. As for Jaromir Jagr, he may need more time than anyone. He didn’t play a single preseason game and lightly practiced. Then he got thrown into back-to-back games against full NHL rosters.
This trip will give the team time to bond, whether it’s hanging out in the hotel room or going out to grab a quick bite after the game. Throw in the bus rides from the hotels over to the rink and the team is around each other for about 15 hours a day, give or take. They’re going to have no choice but to get to know each other, talk hockey, talk life and overall and most importantly, get closer as teammates and humans.
“It’s a slow process,” said goaltender Martin Brodeur. “I think everyone wants it to be a fast process but the fact is, there are a lot of new players learning a lot of different things about our system and jelling as lines.”
“Sometimes it takes a little time.”
So while some may view a five-game road trip right out of the chute as a tough draw, it’s a blessing in disguise. The sky’s not falling. Once this team builds some chemistry, the sky is the limit.
What Happened: The New Jersey Devils dropped their home opener to the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout. The Islanders twice battled back from one goal deficits, behind two goals by Michael Grabner, before Frans Nielsen tied the game up at three, only 1:01 into the third period. The Devils battled back with a third period goal by Damien Brunner to force overtime and the subsequent shootout.
Star of the Game: Michael Grabner is quickly becoming a big-time Devil killer. The speedy winger had the first two Islanders goals, then assisted on the Nielsen goal. His tremendous speed has plagued New Jersey in the past and tonight was no different. Also, a nod to Evgeni Nabakov for stopping six Devils shots in the shootout.
Goat of the Game: The Devils shooters during the shootout get the dubious honor tonight. Six shooters up, no goals scored. Considering how important that the extra point may be throughout the season, coming away without a single goal was tough. Also, Martin Brodeur stood on his head in the shootout and with any help, the Devils would have won.
Turning Point: Matt Moulson of the Islanders scored in the 6th round of the shootout to give New York the win. Until that point, it was a dead heat from the 7:34 mark of the third.
Offense- B - As a whole, the forwards were better last night. They created chances and they finished, something they weren’t able to do against Pittsburgh. In the neutral zone, the team seemed to be a bit off. The Devils allowed far too many odd-man rushes. Those kinds of things happen because of breakdowns at neutral ice and with time, those mistakes will be corrected. They passed the puck well and had a plethora of scoring chances late in the third that could have won the game in regulation. Damien Brunner is starting to quickly show why the Devils brought him in. He has a relentless motor and has a knack for making plays.
Defense- B – Again, not a terrible night for the d-corps, but not quite a stellar effort, either. Adam Larsson, who looked like he was on his way towards taking a big step forward during the preseason, had his second tough game in a row. He failed to pick up Grabner on his first period goal. Anton Volchenkov was decent once again and you have to give the defense credit for the two big penalty kills as well.
Special Teams – B-plus - The power play moved the puck, but was unable to score. At some point the power play will begin to click, as the new faces begin to work well together. As for the penalty kill, they were able to kill of two huge Islanders power plays, including one in the third period once the game was tied. If the PK can be a strength like it was two years ago, that will go a long way towards winning some games
Goaltending- B-plus - Martin Brodeur was solid in his return to the net for New Jersey. Though he would have liked to have had the first Grabner goal back after it slid under his pads, Brodeur was sensational when it mattered. The veteran netminder came up with some key saves late in regulation and in overtime. Normally, making five straight saves in a shootout would be plenty enough to get a win. Brodeur was great in the shootout as well. He gave the Devils a chance to win by keeping the game close down the stretch.
Instant Insight: The Devils certainly would have liked the second point tonight, but it wasn’t in the cards. When Pete Deboer was asked if he thought the team played better in Pittsburgh on Thursday, he agreed with that statement. There are some things to clean up on either end, but this team will get a chance to work out the kinks during their five-game Canadian road trip.
Two games in and there are definitely some positives to take away. Now, it’s about developing chemistry throughout the lineup.
By Dave Turner and Jeff O’Connor
We’ll be doing a weekly mailbag article each week during the season, so if you have a question or comment, feel free to tweet us @SNYDevils or tweet Dave and Jeff directly @DevilsInsiders.
Jake Wakely – @NJDFan4Life – “Is it too big to say he (Gelinas) is like Shea Weber, that’s what he was compared to when he was drafted?”
(Dave) Though Eric Gelinas has a lot of potential, I think there is a big difference between being very good, and being Shea Weber. Weber is one of the best defensemen in the entire league. He hits, he’s positionally sound, and he’s a monster on the power play.
I believe that Gelinas will turn into a very serviceable NHL player, who will see a lot of minutes once his defensive game becomes more polished. The young blueliner showed what he can do with his shot in the preseason game against the Rangers. It seems like a bit much to compare him to Weber, but he has the potential to be a highly productive offensive defenseman that might top out with 45-point ability out of the back end.
Jonathan Harpula – @Statpula – Can our “interchangeable” forwards score enough for a playoff run? Will loss of Ilya = a Ewing-theory type revival?
(Dave) I love the Ewing theory reference. For those of you who don’t know, the Ewing theory is the idea that even though Patrick Ewing was a sensational player both with Georgetown and the New York Knicks, his team somehow always managed to play better when he was off the court.
This is a team without a big-time scorer. There isn’t anyone on this roster who can give you 40 goals, it’s just not going to happen. With that being said, I think this team will have four lines that are capable of scoring. The additions of Michael Ryder, Ryane Clowe, Jaromir Jagr and Damien Brunner (if he makes the team) will definitely provide offense.
Realistically, this team will not be in the top half of the league in scoring, but I think that somewhere in the 16-20 range in goals scored is realistic. Though they lost Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson, they replaced their 26 combined goals with 47 combined goals from the aforementioned offseason acquisitions. Of course, you can’t go comparing numbers as if they’re the end-all be-all, but at the very least, this a deeper team than they were last year.
Jonathan Harpula – @Starpula – Is Brunner the perfect signing to give Jagr and Elias periodic rests?
Travis Coolidge – @TimOconnor11 – Does Brunner make the team ?
I do think that Damien Brunner will make the team. He has the speed and playmaking ability to warrant a spot. Unless he really struggles in the preseason games, or they come to an impasse with a contract, Brunner should be a Devil in 2013-2014.
Brunner would be a great signing because he was a guy on pace to score approximately 20 goals last season over an 82-game span. The way the Devils are currently constructed, I’m not sure we know enough about the offense where Pete DeBoer will have the luxury of sitting Jagr or Elias just to get them a breather. If Henrique and Zajac continue their struggles into this year, PDB can’t afford to have his most experienced and productive guys watching from the stands.
Pat Kelly – Who do you see being the top 3 shootout players for the devils since Kovy and Clarkson are both gone? I see it being Elias, Henique, and Ryder?
(Dave) That’s a great question. The Devils squandered so many points in the shootout last season, so it’s an area that they have to be better at if they expect to push for a playoff spot.
I would think that Elias is a lock, but after that, things get cloudy. Damien Brunner has the highest percentage on the team, scoring twice in seven attempts. Looking at the statistics, this is an area where the Devils may struggle. They MUST be better in the shootout this year, there are too many important points at stake.
If I had to pick a shootout lineup right now, I’d go Elias, Zajac and Jagr, based on their stats and what i’ve seen from them. Zajac has a deceptively strong shot and Jagr is a wily veteran who can still get a goalie to bite on a fake.
Here are the statistics for current Devils during the shootout in 2012-2013:
Damien Brunner: 2 for 7 – 28.6%
Travis Zajac: 1 for 4 – 25%
Patrik Elias: 2 for 8 – 25%
Jaromir Jagr: 2 for 9 – 22.2%
Ryane Clowe: 0 for 3 – 0%
Adam Henrique: 0 for 2 – 0%
Andrei Loktionov: 0 for 1 – 0%
Michael Ryder: 0 for 1 – 0%
We received quite a few questions about the Carter-Gionta-Bernier line. With the amount of players fighting for roster spots, there is a chance that the line might be broken up.
Fabio Torres – @fabio_torres – With all the new players and young guns wanting a spot in the lineup, is the CBGB line on borrowed time?
Avid Devils Fan – @NJDMCP – Would you break up the CBGB line or scratch Josefson?
Jon Bouchard -You know I love Stephen Gionta- with the upswing of young talent for NJ (Boucher, Tedenby, Cislo, Zajac) and the addition of potentially strong offensive additions (Olesz)… is his job in jeopardy? Is someone else’s from CBGB?
Great question, guys. Personally, I’d break up the CBGB line to start the season. I’d put Jacob Josefson between Carter and Bernier. Lou Lamoriello and Pete DeBoer need to make one final evaluation of Josefson. Gionta is a known commodity at this point; he’s going to grind and hustle. He probably will get 8-10 goals at year at best. I’m not sure the Devils know what Josefson can be yet. While healthy last year, he logged the most PK time for any forward. He’s responsible in his own zone and has a good hockey sense. The offense just hasn’t come consistently. The Devils need to give him one last shot to squeeze whatever talent he has in him and try to salvage their first round draft pick from 2009.
It’s easier to forget he’s only 22 still, despite playing during the course of three seasons. It wouldn’t shock me if Gionta starts the season with the big club, comes in for Josefson 15 games into the season or 40 or maybe he even stays in the minors the whole year. I think Josefson should take Gionta’s spot not because Josefson is a better player; he’s not, Gionta has proved more valuable than him over the last two seasons. The reason Josefson should replace him is that the Devils still not what he can be and if he reaches somewhere close to that first round pick he is, he’s more valuable than Gionta.
Lou Lamoriello is making the rounds today. Earlier Wednesday, he spoke to Rich Chere about some of the Devils’ lower-level free agents. Now, Tom Gulitti has some updates on some of the more high-priority free agents.
That second tweet is far more important than the first one. It’s no surprise Lou is talking to their agents. Hell, he BETTER be talking to their agents with free agent less than six weeks away. The question is how many, if any, of them are willing to sign before free agency opens. For someone like Elias, who has spent his whole career with N.J., it makes sense for that to get done in advance. A guy like Zubrus that likes Pete DeBoer and knows where he fits on the team and in the system also might be willing to sign before the market opens.
However, for Clarkson and Zidlicky, this could mean they’ve played their last game in a Devils uniform. Clarkson is HIGHLY unlikely to strike any sort of deal before allowing a bidding war to start on the open market. Also, Zidlicky is likely to fetch more in free agency in terms of dollars than the Devils would likely be willing to pay him. That said, this is a wise move for Lou in my opinion. There’s no reason to get sucked into any sort of bidding war for any of these players, regardless of how much Clarkson means to the team and the franchise. I thought that Clarkson would eventually re-sign with the only team he’s ever known, but it sounds like I was wrong.