Welcome back all to the Devils 26th year of hockey. At the Red Line’s parent site, njdevils.info, is also celebrating its 10th year in operation, and I hope you’ll spend a minute of your time there, as I spent most of the off-season adding a fresh look to the site and new content.
Now in the Hockey world, anyone else watching games and scratching there head as to some of the names that are sewn to the back of Devils jerseys’? Here’s a quick rundown on some of the fresh faces to the club:
#22, Arron Asham: Acquired as a free agent on August 7 this summer. He plays RW, but doesn’t make big numbers in the points department. Last season he played 80 games with the Isles, had 11 goals and 12 assists. He pretty much brings 209 pounds to a team that was pushed around too much last season.
#12, Nicklas Bergfors: Signed by NJ in the 2005 draft, has only seen action in the minors until this season. He’s only played two seasons in the minors before seeing a game so far this season. He’s in the roster to fill gaps left by Colin White, Cam Janssen, and Jamie Langenbrunner. Don’t expect to see too much of him this season.
#8, Sheldon Brookbank: Has seen 6 seasons in the minors before being picked up by Columbus as a free agent. He was dropped off of their rosters and put on waivers, and was claimed by the Devils October 2 of this year. He’s a solid defenseman with some accolades behind him, including the Eddie Shore Trophy as the AHL’s top defenseman last season. He’s an active scratch that is holding Colin White’s spot on the roster. Expect to see him play a couple of games, but spend most of his time in Lowell.
#23, David Clarkson: Finally you now have a new name to sew on the back of your old Scott Gomez jersey. We saw him a few times last season; Clarkson has a decent shot at making a name for himself, but he has some anger issues. Thankfully hockey has a great anger management program: sit out for 5 minutes, and then get back to work. I saw him as a Lowell Devil fight his way through the game.
#6, Andrew Greene: (aka, Andy) was a member of the new defensive team the Devils are still trying to construct ever since they lost Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, and Scott Niedermayer. He doesn’t look that half bad on skates, but I think he needs more practice in the AHL before he really has a shot up here.
#27, Mike Mottau: He’s seen action all around, playing for Boston College, Hartford Wolf Pack, even the NY Rangers and the Calgary Flames. He was picked up by the Devils and played last season in Lowell. He’s moved around a lot 3 and 4 years ago, but had his longest sting in the Rangers organization, a total of 3 seasons. Although he plays Defense, he’s already scored a goal in 48 minutes played this season.
#10, Rodney Pelley: Playing Center, Rod played for Ohio State from 2002 through 2006 and signed up with Lowell in 2006-07. He saw 9 games with no stats other than 11 average minutes a game, a -3 +/- average, and 8 shots on goal. I can’t fairly say whether or not he’ll be an asset, but he seems to be a seat filler at the moment.
#28, Karel Rachunek: Pronounced “Racoonic”, Karel played for the Rangers last year and had a decent season of 66 games played, 20 assist and 6 goals, and a relatively small amount of penalty minutes: 38. Prior to playing with the Rags, he saw 4 and a half season with Ottawa. He had good +/- numbers with Ottawa and -9 with the Rangers in two seasons. The Right Winger brings 230 lbs. to the team – another “size” acquisition by Lou Lamoriello this summer.
#2, Vitaly Vishnevski: He’s seen 7 years with the Ducks before being dumped to Nashville at the trade deadline. The Defenseman is yet another physical presence the Devils need on the ice. This plus the Devils new head coach Brent Sutter’s plans to make the team more aggressive is pretty much what the Devils are looking to to get them past Round 2 of the post-season this year.
#16, Dainius Zubrus: Dainius has seen action with Philly, Montreal, Washington, and even a brief 19 game stint with Buffalo. With regular ice time, expect him to post a 25+ goal season with the Devils.