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Who will make the final roster? Speculation on who may win the final spots on the New Jersey Devils

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The Devils trimmed down their roster again yesterday sending Jeff Frazee to Albany and Eric Gelinas to his junior team, Chicoutimi (QMJHL).. Additionally, Marcus Nilson returned to Sweden to resume a career in the Swedish Elite League. Taking those players off the roster leaves the Devils with the following players still in camp, per


Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Dainius Zubrus - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Brian Rolston - Adam Mair - Mattias Tedenby
PL Letourneau-Leblond - Rod Pelley - Nick Palmieri

Alexander Urbom - Henrik Tallinder
Colin White - Matt Taormina
Andy Greene - Anton Volchenkov
Mark Fraser - Matt Corrente

Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg, Mike McKenna

Right now that leaves the team with 29 players in training camp.  Assuming a full roster of 23 and also that no other players from Albany would quickly re-join the roster (as Lou Lamoriello alluded to yesterday) there are 5 spots available for 7 players that can be considered up for grabs. I am also not counting Anssi Salmela who will begin the season on IR.  Since it is also likely that Nick Palmieri, Mike McKenna and Rob Davison will soon be sent to Albany, I am not counting them either. The 7 players fighting for roster spots are:

Alexander Urbom, Matt Taormina, Mark Fraser, Matthew Corrente, Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Adam Mair


Who will make it? After the jump I will place odds on each player's chances.

Now considering the cap issues the team currently has I will assume that the following players wont be on the active roster to start the year:  Bryce Salvador and 'Ubiquitous Lame Duck Forward' (this can be Brian Rolston, Dainius Zubrus, Jamie Langenbrunner or David Clarkson.  Basically anyone you have heard about in trade/demotion rumors, take your pick)

That said, I if I was setting odds with the 7 players in contention for roster spots, I would lay out the odds like this:

Jacob Josefson:  2-1

The third line center possibilities were discussed by John back in July here.   Taking into account the demoted players, lack of cap space for free agents and the fact that Zubrus/Rolston are question marks to start the year, it's Josefson's job to lose.  Josefson, since the beginning of camp has centered Zubrus/Clarkson and in the two pre-season games he has played in he has not looked out of place on the ice.  He is only 9/21so far in faceoffs (7/13 in one game and 2/8 in the other) but the Devils are trusting him with defensive zone faceoffs (8/21 so far) more so than you think they would.  Of course I could be reading too much into preseason boxscores but unless he plays terribly or gets injured I think it is safe to say he makes the roster. 

Adam Mair: 4-1

Considering the reasoning that Nilson went home (Lou Lamoriello was quoted as saying "I think that we have to go with the younger players if there’s any parallel whatsoever")I think it is safe to assume Mair will make the team.  While I haven't been that excited by his attendance in camp (even less after John's write-up about him) he has provided some good energy as a 4th line player.  I think he has also shown that he will jump in and protect a teammate.  If he can provide the same energy he has in the pre-season I wouldn't be averse to Mair being on the team.  Hey, he at least 'met expectations' to Sabres fans last year.  That's something right? 

Mark Fraser:  9-2

Fraser  was solid last year in a 'protected' role where he didn't face tough competition and wasn't asked to start in the defensive zone that often per his zone start data from   Fraser's salary of $500K might earn him a roster spot because of the Devils cap troubles.  As a 3rd pairing defenseman the Devils could do a lot worse than Fraser and unless the coaching staff thinks that he is totally being outplayed. I would expect him to make the team. 

Matt Taormina:  6-1

Taormina, the undrafted defensemen from Providence has survived two rounds of cuts.  I had thought tthe roster spot for this type of player (puck mover, power play specialist) would be Tyler Eckford's to lose but obviously John MacLean knows best (he coached both last year at Albany) and the chances he has given Taormina so far lead me to believe he will make the team.  Besides a turnover in the Devils zone because of an ill-timed pass by Colin White, Taormina has looked solid and more comfortable as the preseason has progressed.  The fact that he could provide the team with a second power play quarterback to backup Andy Greene and his effectiveness moving the puck may secure him a roster spot.   That being said, I might be a little biased here as I have been rooting for him to make the team since I wrote a profile of him in July (which may have been ignored as some other big news happened the day it was published).

Alexander Urbom: 8-1

Urbom, who will either be in Albany or New Jersey this year  (per Lou Lamoriello) also have earned himself a roster spot with solid play for a 19 year old.  Called the team's best prospect by Lou Lamoriello he has played a majority of minutes in the pre-season with fellow countryman Henrik Tallinder.  Since I can't see the Devils using that pairing once the real games start I am skeptical about his roster chances as I am not sure how he would fare on a 3rd pairing with a player like Mark Fraser. Another area of concern would be his salary of $870K as opposed to the savings of $300K-$350K with giving Fraser or Eckford a roster spot.  If he does make the roster his quick movement through the system could make it two (If Josefson does make it) 19-year olds that would be on the Devils opening day roster.

Matthew Corrente:  10-1

The offensive skills of Taormina, the potential of Urbom and Fraser's contract/experience may make Corrente the odd-man-out to start the year.  While I can envision a scenario where he acts as a 7th defenseman and 4th line forward, he will likely begin the year in Albany waiting for an injury, trade or for one of the younger defensemen who do make the team to struggle.  I do think he will get an extensive look this year, just not at the beginning of the season. 

Mattias Tedenby:  25-1

I would be very surprised to see Tedenby make the roster.  Unless the team loses a few wingers due to salary cap trades I don't see much value in providing Tedenby 4th line minutes in the NHL.  It would make more sense to have him develop in the AHL for a season and compete for a spot next year. 

So what do you think?  Am I too high on Taormina, too dismissive of Tedenby?  Will Corrente or Urbom make it?  Sound off below!