The New Jersey Devils will begin their preseason tomorrow night against the New York Rangers at the Rock. Consider this part of a preview, as both Tom Gulitti and Rich Chere have reported the Devils' roster for tomorrow's game. It's a mix of prospects and new players (highlighted in italics) and Devils regulars from last season. Which should be of no surprise for the team's first preseason game. The lines itself might, though.
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Brendan Shanahan
Brian Rolston - Dainius Zubrus - Niclas Bergfors
Vladimir Zharkov - Patrice Cormier - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Rod Pelley - Ilkka Pikkarainen
Bryce Salvador - Cory Murphy
Mike Mottau - Johnny Oduya
Mark Fraser - Alexander Urbom (who signed an entry level deal today per Gulitti)
Incidentally, based on Gulitti's report, no one from this afternoon's session in training camp is on this roster. Given that session featured Lowell and Trenton Devils regulars among other prospects, they may be more likely to represent the Lowell Devils in tomorrow's free-to-the-public preseason against Hartford at the Devils' practice rink. I wouldn't say that those in that game will definitely not have a chance for action with the New Jersey Devils, but don't be surprised if they remain with the minor league squad.
Still, the prospects on this roster should see tomorrow night as a golden opportunity to make their mark. If only because head coach Jacques Lemaire has told Gulitti a few days ago that he wants to make his first cuts soon. He didn't specify a date yet, but it could easily be Thursday.
Keep an Eye On: Niclas Bergfors - He's 22, he's got a few games in recent seasons, and there's spots to be earned on the New Jersey roster. He's tentatively slotted in on a scoring line, more appropriate to the type of game he plays. I believe a solid game from him tomorrow night will go a long way in considering him as a scoring winger instead of just depth.
Also, you may want to pay more than a little attention to Rod Pelley centering a gritty fourth line and Cory Murphy playing his first game since breaking his foot last season. If only to see how they'll do.
Which Devil prospect are you rooting for to give a good performance tomorrow night? Are any of the selections on this roster surprising to you? Won't it be interesting to see Shanahan line up with two, relatively young and definitely swift forwards for that first line? Leave your answers in the comments.