Back to Work!

Tomorrow, a new season begins.

Earlier today, New Jersey released their full training camp roster:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Mackenzie Blackwood, Ken Appleby, Evan Cormier, Anders Lindback (PTO).

Defensemen: John Moore, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, Ben Lovejoy, Damon Severson, Brandon Gormley, Yohann Auvitu, Steve Santini, Seth Helgeson, Reece Scarlett, Andrew MacWilliam, Karl Stollery, Vojtech Mozik, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Colby Sissons (tryout).

Forwards: Beau Bennett, Taylor Hall, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Reid Boucher, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Luke Gazdic, Kyle Palmieri, Brian Gibbons (PTO), Devante Smith-Pelly, Nick Lappin, Pavel Zacha, Vernon Fiddler, Blake Coleman, Michael McLeod, Ben Thomson, Miles Wood, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, Carter Camper, Rod Pelley, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Jan Mandat, Kevin Rooney, Max Novak, Brandon Gignac, Nathan Bastian, Joe Blandisi, Blake Speers.

Notice one big name missing from this list?  For the first time in quite a long time, no Patrik Elias.  Kind of sad for me, considering I still remember him as a River Rat nearly 20 years ago (yeah, I’m old).

A few names to keep an eye on for possible Albany roster spots:

-Gibbons, another former Penguin, spent all of last season in Hartford, picking up 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists) in 63 games.  He has 66 games worth of NHL experience with Pittsburgh in 2013-14 and Columbus in 2014-15, scoring 5 goals.

Sexton was signed to an AHL contract earlier this afternoon.  He spent last season with Providence, appearing in 29 games and picking up 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist).  Prior to joining the Bruins, he spent four years at Clarkson.

-Sissons was the only tryout from the Prospects Challenge to earn an invite to camp.  But with his age (18), don’t expect to see him anytime soon.

-But two signings today may affect the Albany roster late this season or the beginning of next season: Blake Speers and Colton White both signed entry level contracts.  They will return to Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL if they don’t crack New Jersey’s roster.

Everyone will report tomorrow for photos, physicals, first media meetings, etc.  Friday will see the first day on ice, in preparation for Monday’s preseason debuts at home and in Montreal.

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Prospects Challenge in Review

Not a bad showing for the Devils rookies in their second visit to the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo over the weekend, going 1-1 and scoring 9 goals over the two games.

9/17 vs. Buffalo: 6-3 W

First game of the challenge came for New Jersey on Saturday night, as they took on the host Sabres.  After a scoreless first period, where Evan Cormier would stop all 9 shots faced, Nicholas Baptiste would put Buffalo on the board with a power play 7:30 into the second period.  John Quenneville would tie the game up, only to see Baptiste score his second late in the period to put the Sabres back in front.  But just as quickly, Blake Speers and Nathan Bastian would each score to put the Devils ahead 3-2 after 40 minutes.  Blake Coleman and Brandon Gignac would score 30 seconds apart early in the third period to put the Devils ahead 5-2.  Baptiste would complete the hat trick late in the game to cut the lead to 5-3, but Gignac would score an empty netter to seal the win.  Ken Appleby would enter the game in the second and stop 18 of 21 shots.  Miles Wood and Kevin Rooney would each contribute two assists.

If you have about an hour or so to kill, here is the full video of Saturday’s game:

9/18 vs. Boston: 4-3 L

24 hours later, it was back on ice in Buffalo, but this time the Devils would face the Bruins.  Cormier would once again draw the start in net, but again only played the first twenty minutes.  Just 2:31 into the contest, a Colton Hargrove power play goal would put Boston ahead 1-0.  Speers would tie it up late in the period with a power play goal of his own.  The Bruins would not be kind to Mackenzie Blackwood in the second, as Anton Blidh (shorthanded) and Jake DeBrusk would score to put Boston up 3-1 after two periods.  The Devils would try to mount a rally in the third, as Gignac’s third goal of the weekend would cut the lead to one.  Rob O’Gara answered with an even strength tally to put Boston ahead 4-2.  Speers’ second goal of the night would cut the lead to 4-3, but New Jersey could not get any closer.  Cormier stopped 13 of 14 Bruin shots in the first period, while Blackwood stopped 22 of 25 in his 2 periods of work.  Gignac and three other Devils each contributed an assist.

No full video, but here’s a quick highlight reel:

With the Prospects Challenge over, time to look ahead to later this week and the start of training camp on Thursday (I will post the roster once released), then the preseason begins on Monday night at The Rock (FYI…I will be in Section 13) and in Montreal.

 

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Ready for a Challenge

It’s been awhile since I had anything much to blog…but now that we’ve reached the near beginning of training camps and the World Cup of Hockey is getting underway, business is about to start picking up around here.

Earlier today New Jersey released their roster for the Prospects Challenge next weekend in Buffalo:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Evan Cormier, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Forwards: Nick Lappin, Pavel Zacha, Blake Coleman, Mikey McLeod, Miles Wood, John Quenneville, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Jan Mandat, Kevin Rooney, Brandon Gignac, Nathan Bastian, Joe Blandisi, Blake Speers.

Defensemen: Steven Santini, Josh Jacobs, Marcus Crawford, Colton White, Colby Sissons, Ralph Jarratt, Alexander Kuqali.

A quick breakdown of the roster:

-9 players appeared in at least one game with Albany in 2015-16; 5 appeared in at least one game in New Jersey.

-16 players are New Jersey draft picks, including three first rounders.

-4 players are invitees:

Crawford, 19, spent last season with Evan Cormier in Saginaw (OHL), appearing in 66 games with 34 points (2 goals, 32 assists).

Sissons is an 18-year-old who just completed his second season in Swift Current (WHL), appearing in 71 games with 22 points (3 goals, 19 assists)

Jarratt, also 18, just finished his second year with Victoria (WHL), picking up 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 69 games.  He also appeared in 13 playoff games, with only one assist.

Kuqali is someone to keep an eye on for a potential callup to the Albany roster.  The 25-year-old signed with Florida of the ECHL in early August after completing his collegiate career at RIT.  Over four seasons in Rochester, he scored 59 points in 153 games.

The group will report to New Jersey on Thursday, September 15th, then head to Buffalo shortly thereafter.  They will face the Sabres prospects on Saturday, September 17th at 7 PM, then face the Bruins on Sunday, September 18th, also a 7 PM start.

 

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2016 Free Agent Tracker (as of 9/1/16)

As we turn the calendar to September…we are down to two players still in need of a home as the season gets closer.  Raman Hrabarenka became the latest to join the Moving On category, as he will be attending Toronto’s training camp on a tryout basis.

Now for the last updated tracker of the offseason:

Signed for 2016-17:

Pavel Zacha

Joe Blandisi

Damon Severson

Ryan Kujawinski

Vojtech Mozik

Blake Coleman

Blake Pietila

Ken Appleby

Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson

Scott Wedgewood

Seth Helgeson

Josh Jacobs

Nick Lappin

Yohann Auvitu

Jan Mandat

Brandon Baddock

Carter Camper (via Washington/Hershey)

Andrew Macwilliam (via Winnipeg/Manitoba)

Karl Stollery (via San Jose)

Max Novak

Kevin Rooney

Rod Pelley

Reece Scarlett

Brandon Gormley (via Colorado)

Reid Boucher

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Yann Danis

Corbin McPherson

Moving On:

Brian O’Neill (signed with Jokerit 5/20)

Chris McKelvie (retired; named assistant coach at Army 5/25)

Graham Black (traded to Florida 6/10)

Paul Thompson (traded to Florida 6/10)

Matt Lorito (signed w/Detroit 7/1)

Pierre-Luc Leblond (signed w/Tampa Bay 7/1)

Mike Sislo (signed w/Colorado 7/1)

Jim O’Brien (signed w/Colorado 7/1)

Dan Kelly (signed w/San Jose 7/11)

Marc Andre Gragnani (signed w/Dinamo Minsk 8/1)

Brandon Burlon (signed w/Tucson (AHL) 8/3)

Joe Faust (signed w/Idaho (ECHL) 8/11)

Raman Hrabarenka (signed w/Toronto 8/22)

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2016-17 Schedule Reveal…

…Finally.

After having to wait since early June (or in my case, mid-May), and seeing both the ECHL and NHL release their schedules, AND having to wait on the NBA to finish theirs, the AHL finally released the 2016-17 slate on Monday afternoon.

As for the Devils:

-They will open the season on the road in Providence on Friday, October 14th against the Bruins.  St. John’s will come in the next afternoon at 5 PM for the home opener.

The full schedule:

OCTOBER

14–@ Providence, 7:05 PM

15–ST. JOHN’S, 5:00 PM

21–BINGHAMTON, 7:00 PM

22–UTICA, 5:00 PM

23–@ Providence, 3:05 PM

26–@ W-B/Scranton, 7:05 PM

28–TORONTO, 7:00 PM

29–TORONTO, 5:00 PM

NOVEMBER

2–@ Bridgeport, 11:00 AM

5–@ Hershey, 7:00 PM

11–HERSHEY, 7:00 PM

12–ST. JOHN’S, 5:00 PM

16–@ Rochester, 7:05 PM

18–@ Binghamton, 7:05 PM

19–@ Syracuse, 7:00 PM

23–TORONTO, 7:00 PM

25–@ Hartford, 7:15 PM

26–ROCHESTER, 5:00 PM

29–@ Bridgeport, 7:00 PM

DECEMBER

2–UTICA, 7:00 PM

3–@ Utica, 7:00 PM

4–BINGHAMTON, 3:00 PM

7–BINGHAMTON, 7:00 PM

9–@ Syracuse, 7:00 PM

10–PROVIDENCE, 5:00 PM

14–@ Utica, 7:00 PM

17–@ Toronto, 1:30 PM

18–@ Toronto, 3:00 PM

21–BINGHAMTON, 7:00 PM

26–PROVIDENCE, 7:00 PM

30–TORONTO, 7:00 PM

31–@ Hartford, 5:00 PM

JANUARY

1–BRIDGEPORT,  3:00 PM

4–ST. JOHN’S, 7:00 PM

6–@ Utica, 7:00 PM

7–@ Lehigh Valley, 7:05 PM

11-@ Springfield, 7:05 PM

13–SPRINGFIELD, 7:00 PM

14–@ Binghamton, 7:05 PM

18–SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM

21–@ St. John’s, 4:00 PM NST (2:30 EST)

22-@ St John’s, 4:00 PM NST (2:30 EST)

27–@ Rochester, 7:05 PM

28–ROCHESTER, 5:00 PM

FEBRUARY

2–SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM

3–LEHIGH VALLEY, 7:00 PM

4–@ Binghamton, 7:05 PM

7–PROVIDENCE, 7:00 PM

10–@ Rochester, 7:05 PM

11–@ Toronto, 5:00 PM

12–@ Toronto, 3:00 PM

15–SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM

17–W/B-SCRANTON, 7:00 PM

18–BRIDGEPORT, 1:00 PM

20–UTICA, 1:00 PM

24–@ St. John’s, 7:30 PM NST (6:00 EST)

25–@St. John’s, 7:30 PM NST (6:00 EST)

MARCH

3–@ Providence, 7:05 PM

4–@ Utica, 7:00 PM

10–@ Binghamton, 7:05 PM

11–@ Bridgeport, 7:00 PM

17–SPRINGFIELD, 7:00 PM

18–@ Syracuse, 7:00 PM

19–@ Springfield, 3:05 PM

22–BRIDGEPORT, 7:00 PM

24–UTICA, 7:00 PM

25–PROVIDENCE, 5:00 PM

31–@ Providence, 7:05 PM

APRIL

1–HARTFORD, 5:00 PM

2–ROCHESTER, 3:00 PM

5–SYRACUSE, 7:00 PM

7–ST. JOHN’S, 7:00 PM

8–@ Syracuse, 7:00 PM

12–HARTFORD, 7:00 PM

14–@ Rochester, 7:05 PM

15–ROCHESTER, 5:00 PM

(home games in CAPS)

The Breakdown:

-8 games each against Providence, St. John’s, Binghamton, Utica, Toronto, Rochester, and Syracuse; 6 against Bridgeport; 4 against Hartford and Springfield; and 2 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Hershey, and Lehigh Valley.

-Saturday leads the way with 26 games, followed by: Friday with 23; Wednesday with 14; Sunday with 8; Monday and Tuesday with 2: and 1 on Thursday.

-Only 7 3 in 3 sets, with 6 on the weekend and one Thursday-Friday-Saturday.

-Saturday home games remain at 5:00 (cue incessant groaning from the fanbase…not from me anyway), except for February 18th, a 1 PM start.  All weekday home games are at 7:00 with the exception of February 20th, a Presidents Day 1 PM matinee.

-Longest homestand: 4, which happens twice (February 15th-20th and April 1st-7th).

-Longest road trip: 6 games, from February 24th-March 11th.

-April is very friendly, as 6 of their final 8 games are on home ice.

-One morning game this season, in Bridgeport on November 2nd.

One final scheduling note: a second preseason game will take place in Cromwell, CT on Sunday, October 9th at 1 PM against Hartford.

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Offseason Notebook #9

Getting you caught up on the news of the week:

-The last of the restricted free agents came to terms, as Reid Boucher agreed to a new 1 year, 2 way contract on Wednesday.

-Adding another name to the Moving On category…fill in defenseman Joe Faust, who spent the last two seasons as mostly an extra, signed an ECHL deal with the Idaho Steelheads.  Updating the list…that’s 12 players who have left (that’s more than half a normal lineup!), and three that still need a home for the new season.

-On Thursday, the NBA released their full schedule for 2016-17.  And why is this significant?  With two teams (Lake Erie…I mean Cleveland…and San Antonio) sharing their building with an NBA franchise, this is the last hurdle to cross before the 2016-17 AHL schedule is ready to go.  The last two seasons it took till nearly the end of August for a schedule to drop, if there’s any indication.

And finally a few links:

All About the Jersey gives an early roster preview.

NHL.com picks their top 5 Devil prospects.

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Offseason Notebook #8

This week in the Notebook:

-What had been rumored for several weeks became official on Monday, as Marc-Andre Gragnani became the second Devil to head overseas, signing on with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.

-Also in the Moving On category: Brandon Burlon became the first signing for the Coyotes AHL affiliate in Tucson, signing a one year AHL contract.

With Burlon leaving for the desert, 11 players that finished the season in Albany have moved on to other teams, with 4 still in need of homes for the upcoming season.

-For the second straight preseason, New Jersey prospects will join the Bruins and Sabres in Buffalo for the Prospects Challenge, to be held September 16th-19th at the HarborCenter.  All three teams will play a round robin tournament, with two games for each team.  The Devils will take on Buffalo on Saturday, September 17th, then face the Bruins the following day.

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