5 New Jersey Devils to Watch as Training Camp Begins
Few organizations in professional sports have been forced to endure the gauntlet of controversy, pain and betrayal the New Jersey Devils have over the past 14 months.
First, there was the bitter defection of Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild in July 2012. Then, barely a year later, the stunning betrayal of Ilya Kovalchuk's retirement from the NHL. Looming over both situations was the team's dire financial straits and the constant rumors and innuendo swirling around the organization.
Monday, with Parise and Kovalchuk becoming distant memories and the team under new ownership, the Devils prepared to open training camp a vastly different team than the one that went to the Stanley Cup Final two seasons ago.
An eclectic mix of prospects, grizzled veterans and “interchangeable parts,” this training camp should reveal much about what type of team will take the ice in Newark this season. Here are five players to watch as training camp begins this week.
New Jersey's fourth-round selection in the 2011 NHL draft, Boucher broke Steven Stamkos' OHL record by scoring an amazing 62 goals for the Sarnia Sting last season. The 20-year-old was impressive in the team's prospects camp in July, and no one is ruling him out of making a Devils roster that promises to be short on goal scorers this season.
The 41-year-old winger signed a one-year deal with the Devils in July, his seventh NHL team and his fourth since 2011. He turned in a respectable 16-goal, 19-assist season in 2012-13 while splitting time between the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins, and the Devils will rely on him to add some punch to the power play this season.
Tedenby was drafted by the Devils in the first round (24th overall) in 2008 and has not lived up to his billing thus far. He's bounced between Newark and Albany and has recorded just nine goals and 20 assists in 105 career NHL games. He sustained a horrific cut to the face from a skate in Albany last February, costing him most of the season. Now that he's healthy, it's time for Tedenby to produce at the NHL level.
Larsson was selected fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and made the NHL roster for the 2011-12 season.
This season will determine whether Larsson makes the leap to a potentially elite defenseman or simply becomes another bust.