Possible New Jersey Devils Call-Ups from Albany
Following the New Jersey Devils failure to make the playoffs this season, the team will undoubtedly look to bolster their 2014/15 roster with some new faces. What better place to look for fresh blood than within the team’s own system? Their AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils, finished the season with a playoff appearance, and, perhaps most enticing, they also won some shootouts! It therefore makes sense to tag some of these players as NHL call-ups for next season.
The first for the Devils to take a look at is Joe Whitney, a 26-year-old right winger who scored a lot in both regulation and in the shootout for the Albany Devils. The Devils may have a lot of right wingers currently stocked piled, but Whitney, the Albany Devils’ leading goal and point getter, is younger than any right winger on the big-league roster by at least two years. His 22 goals and 31 assists would make him the one of the most dangerous players on the ice for the Devils, especially since Whitney went three-for-nine in his shootout attempts for Albany — just one goal less than the New Jersey Devils scored in 13 shootout attempts the whole season!
The Devils should take a look at left winger Stefan Matteau, who scored on four of his nine shootout attempts (tying the Devils whole team). Granted, Matteau is only 20, but he is already playing at a high level with the Albany Devils, has proven his ability to score in the shootout, and plays at left wing, a position that that’s underrepresented on the New Jersey roster. They presently only have three left wingers; Matteau would be the youngest at that position by 11 years. Matteau had a solid statistical year with 13 goals and 13 assists in 67 games for Albany. Of course he would need more to stay with the big club, but playing with NHL guys could provide a boost to his numbers.
Other Albany skaters that had shootout attempts for New Jersey include Mike Sislo (he was 0-1) and Reid Boucher (he was 1 for 2). Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello, commenting to Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, labeled Sislo’s winning a shootout for Albany after failing to do so for New Jersey as “ironic” (Sislo’s shootout goal propelled Albany to the playoffs, while his miss for New Jersey probably kept them from the playoffs).
Finally, New Jersey should consider calling up Keith Kinkaid, the starting goalie for Albany. In 43 games for Albany, Kinkaid went 24-13-5 with a 2.29 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. It was his great play in the playoffs that kept Albany as close as they were with St. Johns. If Martin Brodeur parts ways with New Jersey, the Devils will be in need of a backup goalie, so where better to look than inside the organization? Perhaps they will discover a budding star goaltender.