Cuts, Camp Begins, and Visiting Old Friends

It’s been a busy few days in Devil land…and for myself as well.  With A-Devils camp officially opening for business this afternoon (and the first games coming up later this week), let’s get caught up with how training camp in the Garden State has been going.

-After Wednesday night’s loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn, the first round of cuts was announced:

Going back to juniors: goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie/OHL); defensemen Josh Jacobs (Sarnia/OHL), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops/WHL), and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL); and forwards Brandon Baddock (Edmonton/WHL), Connor Chatham (Flint/OHL), and Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie/OHL).  Alexandre Goulet, who had been in camp on an amateur tryout, was also let go.

Going to Albany: Yann Danis, Dan Kelly, Jacob Sweeney, Graham Black, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, and Ben Thomson.

The Albany seven will join Joe Faust, Max Novak, Corbin McPherson (all on AHL contracts) and Alexandre Carrier, David Shields, and Gunnar Hughes (tryouts) at Albany’s camp.

-Friday night myself and a friend called ourselves up to New Jersey to check out the first home exhibition game.  And I must say, I’m glad I made the trip.

Adam Henrique greeting fans in the Towers...
Adam Henrique greeting fans in the  Towers…
Scott Wedgewood warming up
Scott Wedgewood warming up (Gio in the background)

When you get to see the first New Jersey win of the preseason (with a former A-Devil in net in Keith Kinkaid) and reunite with your first favorite A-Devil who remembers you even though it’s been at least 3 years since you last spoke to him…it’s a perfect way to kick off your hockey season.

-This just in: New Jersey has made its second round of cuts.  The following 15 players are en route to Albany (additionally, John Quenneville was returned to his junior team in Brandon), with some likely needing to clear waivers first in order to do so:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Scott Wedgewood.

Defensemen: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Vojtech Mozik, Reece Scarlett.

Forwards: Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matt Lorito, Jim O’Brien, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, Paul Thompson.

The Devils roster stands at 27, so there may be another additional 1-2 players coming later.  By the end of next weekend, there will be a clearer picture of who will be here, who stays in New Jersey, and who may be heading north to Adirondack.

 

 

 

Off to Training Camp…

After the Devils rookies got a painful lesson in Buffalo at the Prospects Challenge over the weekend (more on that in a moment), today the veterans arrived in Newark for the beginning of regular training camp.  First, here’s the full roster of who’s in Jersey:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Yann Danis, Ken Appleby, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Defensemen: John Moore, Adam Larsson, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, David Schlemko, Damon Severson, Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Seth Helgeson, Dan Kelly, Reece Scarlett, Eric Gelinas, Vojtech Mozik, Ryan Rehill, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Jacob Sweeney.

Forwards: Jiri Tlusty, Stephen Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Tuomo Ruutu, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Jordin Tootoo, Lee Stempniak, Kyle Palmieri, Rod Pelley, Stefan Matteau, Patrik Elias, Reid Boucher, Jim O’Brien, Pavel Zacha, Ben Thomson, Paul Thompson, Mike Sislo, John Quenneville, Tyler Kennedy, Graham Black, Blake Coleman, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Matt Lorito, Chris McKelvie, Connor Chatham, Pierre-Luc Leblond, Joseph Blandisi, Blake Speers, Alexandre Goulet.

For a numerical roster just click here.

One notable name on this list is Tlusty, who was signed to a 1 year contract yesterday.  His name may sound familiar to Albany fans…he appeared in 20 games with the River Rats during the 2009-10 season, after being acquired in a trade with Toronto in early December.  He would spend the next 5+ seasons with Carolina before being dealt to Winnipeg in February.  In 416 career games with the Hurricanes and the Jets, he has put up 87 goals and 86 assists.  Stempniak and Kennedy are both in camp on tryout deals.

While the veterans were getting settled in for their first day, the rookies already have at least one week in under their belt.  After starting camp on Thursday, they traveled northwest to Buffalo to take on the Sabres and the Bruins prospects.  Saturday night was not a good night against the Sabres, as Nicholas Baptiste would score twice in 3:36 to open the game, including a goal just 25 seconds into the contest.  Justin Bailey would make it a 3 goal lead for the hosts with just over 9 minutes to go in the period.  The Sabres would add on to the lead in the second as Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues would score for a 5-0 lead.  New Jersey finally got on the scoreboard in the third, as camp invitee Alexandre Goulet would break up the shutout just 29 seconds into the period.  John Quenneville would add a 4 on 4 tally to draw the visitors to within three, but that was as close as they would get, as the Sabres would tack on a 6th goal courtesy of Sam Reinhart.  Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 32 of 38 shots in his Devil debut, while Reece Scarlett would get the lone assist.  If you have, oh, an hour or so to kill, the full coverage of the game can be found here.

The rookie contingent looked much better in their second matchup of the weekend, a Sunday night tilt against the Bruins.  Joe Blandisi would score twice and Matt Lorito added a goal, but the Devils would blow a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead en route to losing just 13 seconds into overtime, 4-3.  John Quenneville would add two assists, while Max Novak and Ryan Rehill would have one helper apiece.  Ken Appleby, a possible candidate for Albany’s #3 goaltending spot (read: the one who answers the white courtesy phone should anyone go down/get called up), got the nod between the pipes and stopped 36 shots.  Again, if you have an hour or so to kill, you can watch the entire game here.

After the rookies returned to New Jersey, Novak and Joe Faust were signed to AHL deals and will report to Albany’s camp, which should start up in just a little over a week.  Also some not so good news popped up…Reid Boucher suffered a concussion while in Buffalo, it is not known when he’ll be able to return to the ice.

Four days to go till the first preseason game…hopefully by next weekend we’ll start to get an idea of just who may be suiting up for Albany this season.

Post Labor Day Catch-up

Only a few short days away from the start of training camp!  But before that, a few news items to get caught up on:

-A third development coach has been hired, as New Jersey has brought in Patrick Rissmiller.  He just completed a 13 year playing career, spending the last two seasons in Italy after bouncing around the AHL between Rochester, Worcester, Lake Erie, Chicago and Grand Rapids.  He last saw NHL time in the 2010-11 season with Florida.  Much like Scott Clemmensen, he will be working with prospects at all levels in the organization.

-On Thursday, New Jersey released the rookie camp roster that will play in Buffalo this weekend:

Goaltenders: Ken Appleby, Mackenzie Blackwood.

Defensemen: Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett, Vojtech Mozik, Ryan Rehill, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Jacob Sweeney.

Forwards: Reid Boucher, Pavel Zacha, Ben Thomson, John Quenneville, Joseph Blandisi, Graham Black, Blake Coleman, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Matt Lorito, Connor Chatham, Max Novak, Blake Speers, Alexandre Goulet.

The group will report to Newark on Thursday before leaving for Buffalo later in the day.

-From the “I called it” department: Albany has worked out an informal agreement with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder to send one goaltender and extra players to Glens Falls during the season, after using Orlando the last two years.  Funny how after being a league rival since the Phantoms came to the Civic Center in 2009, the two cities are working together again.  But it’s not the first time this has happened…you may or may not remember that the River Rats worked with the UHL’s Adirondack Icehawks/Frostbite for several seasons in the early-mid 2000s.  Pierre-Luc Leblond actually got his professional start as a regular member of the Frostbite during the 2005-06 season, the last season of New Jersey’s original run in Albany.  Speaking of PL3…

-Earlier this afternoon, Leblond made his third return to the organization, signing a 1 year 2 way deal.  He spent the last two seasons with Devils coach John Hynes in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with one appearance in Pittsburgh.  In 121 games with the Penguins, he scored 4 goals and amassed 500 penalty minutes.  During his last stint in the Devils organization in the 2010-11 season, he played 2 games in New Jersey before spending the rest of the season in Albany, where he scored 8 goals and racked up 334 penalty minutes in 64 games.  He was traded to Calgary during the offseason and bounced between the Flames and Abbotsford in 2011-12, with a stop in Norfolk in 2012-13 before suiting up for the Penguins.

2015 Free Agent Tracker (as of 9/1/15)

Signed for 2015-16:

Raman Hrabarenka

Reid Boucher

Graham Black

Ben Thomson

Ben Johnson

Reece Scarlett

Dan Kelly

Mike Sislo

Brandon Burlon

Matt Lorito

Rod Pelley

Scott Wedgewood

Paul Thompson

Jim O’Brien (from HER 7/1)

Yann Danis (from HAR 7/3)

Marc-Andre Gragnani (from EUR 7/3)

Max Novak

Stefan Matteau

Seth Helgeson

Chris McKelvie

Entry Level Signings:

Joseph Blandisi

Ryan Kujawinski

Blake Pietila

Sergey Kalinin

Vojtech Mozik

Blake Coleman

John Quenneville

Pavel Zacha

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Darcy Zajac

Scott Timmins

Corbin McPherson

Joe Faust

David Wohlberg

Maxime Clermont

Moving On:

Scott Clemmensen (retired 6/29)

Joe Whitney (signed w/NY Islanders 7/1)

Tim Sestito (signed w/Dinamo Riga 7/15)

Cam Janssen (signed w/Nottingham Panthers 8/15)

Kelly Zajac (signed w/Lukko 8/30)