The 2016 season is officially upon us, as the Devils played their first pre-season (split squad) games in Montreal and Philly respectively on Monday. The Devils won both contests and there were overall good performances by many of the youngsters and vets alike.
These games were more about establishing some early chemistry between new teammates as well as evaluating many of the younger players looking to make an impact and possibly earn a spot on the club.
It was great to see Taylor Hall in a Devs sweater for the first time. While he didn’t wind up on the score sheet, his speed, transition game and scoring chances were on point—he should be a dynamic force for this team and will be exciting to witness for sure. Adam Henrique found the back of the net twice as did Nick Lappin (not in tonight’s lineup) who impressed with his play all over the ice. 2016 1st round draft pick Mikey McCleod chipped in with a goal and Ben Lovejoy played a very solid team leading (21+ minutes) on the back end. Goaltending was solid all around.
As far as tonight’s tilt with the Flyers, it seems that many of the vets are resting, as this seems like more of a prospects game.
According to Andrew Gross of the NJ record, the line up is a bit “light.” The morning roster looks like:
Devils morning lines:
Devils morning D-pairs:
Goalies: Anders Lindback, Keith Kinkaid.
Seems the Devils are saving up for their matchup Thursday with the cross-river rival Rangers. To which, neither Kyle Palmieri or Cory Schneider will be available as they’re both resting from the World Cup of Hockey tournament but could possibly be ready to play by Thursday.
Up front, Josefson and Blandisi are the only “vets” skating, which is ironic as they’re both still trying to solidify themselves as NHL regulars. Games against the Flyers are always spirited, regardless of the time of year and tonight should provide some of the youngsters a taste of it.