clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Joseph Blandisi: The Newest Devil

In a move that came out of left field, the Devils signed unrestricted free agent Joseph Blandisi to an entry level contract on January 14th. Today we take a brief look at Blandisi's career so far, projections of his game, and provide a brief opinion of what he can offer New Jersey.

It has nothing to do with the article, but Oates' face in this picture was too funny to pass up
It has nothing to do with the article, but Oates' face in this picture was too funny to pass up
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday afternoon, Tom Gulitti reported on Fire and Ice that the New Jersey Devils signed Barrie Colts forward Joseph Blandisi to a three-year, two-way entry-level contract.  I have to say I was a bit surprised to read the headline, as I was all but certain the Devils would use their next available contract to sign Albany's Paul Thompson to a two-way deal, but perhaps that is in the cards for somewhere else down the line.  Back to task though: the Devils have a new forward, and for those unfamiliar with him, I decided to take a look at Joseph today and what we can expect from him should he make the NHL club.  I decided it would work nicely to dredge up our old prospect profile format to present today's preview of Blandisi.

Who is Joseph Blandisi?

Blandisi was originally a sixth round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche back in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.  After the Avalanche declined to offer him a contract this summer, he attended Winnepeg's developmental camp, and Buffalo's training camp before returning to the Barrie Colts of the OHL.  Here are his stats from his young career courtesy of Elite Prospects:

What Others Have Said About Blandisi

Going back to Elite Prospects again, Tyler Parchem had this to say about Blandisi's game:

Blandisi is an effective top 6 forward at the OHL level. He can be counted on to provide offense, but also to play physical and get under the opposing teams skin. Not a huge player, but is solid and strong...eventually he could project to be a bottom 6 NHL forward who plays hard every night and pot the occasional goal, Steve Ott type.

If Blandisi turns into Steve Ott for us, I'm not sure how beneficial it would be; we already have a number of forwards that are complimentary pieces rather than a main attraction.  While I certainly don't expect an overage player in juniors to become a main attraction, we really need something more than the next Steve Ott.

Rich Chere on wrote about the signing as well; in his article, he reported:

In 39 games for the Colts this season, the 6-0, 192-pound Blandisi has 69 points (30 goals, 39 assists) with 68 penalty minutes.

Lamoriello called Blandisi a "two-way center iceman, a scorer."

Some players can be late bloomers in the NHL; just look at a formerly well-respected player who didn't hit his stride until he was 27; perhaps Blandisi will be somewhat similar, as he seems to have finally found a scoring touch in the OHL.  I'm not sure about Lamoriello's assessment of his skills though, while I'm certainly not calling him a liar, a scouting report from Hockey's Future stated the opposite.

Blandisi still needs to work on the defensive side of his game to find success at the next level of hockey.

A player who needs to work on the defensive side of his game is obviously not someone you can call a "two-way" forward.  There is a chance that the scouting report on HF is outdated and Joseph has improved his defensive game; time will tell us on that side of the coin.

A Little Video

While his defense has been called into question in the past, I don't think we need to worry about Blandisi showing some offensive flare:

I realize in this video they call him "Jonathan" but after doing some research, I could not find a player by the name "Jonathan Blandisi," and if you watch the above video on YouTube, you can see it's not the only error on that video page.

My Opinion

At this point, any young forward in our system is a positive given how bare the cupboard is in terms of promising centers and wingers at the AHL level.  The kid does seem to have some speed and a good set of hands, which at this point I'd take over some of the flotsamjetsam and debris that we are currently icing on a nightly basis.  I do have my concerns as well; the fact that it took him an overage season to be able to finally "break out" could actually just be due to him playing against many younger players.  Also if the Hockey's Future scouting report is to be believed over what Lou Lamoriello is saying about Blandisi, then he really will not fit the "Devils Hockey" style of play.

I like the fact that he attended Winnipeg's developmental camp over the summer as it shows he has a desire to learn and improve his game.  Buffalo cutting him from their roster however is a bit of a red flag to me; if you're being cut from Buffalo's roster with the position they're in, either they value their own prospects a heck of a lot more than you, or you really just might not be an NHL-caliber player.

I think it's definitely worth giving him a shot in the AHL next season and seeing how he progresses from there; as I said above, we don't have much in terms of forward prospects.  This is a low risk signing with the potential for a high reward if he turns into an NHL forward, and while I may have my doubts about that at the moment, who's to say he doesn't report to Albany next season and light up the league?

Your Take

While certainly not a game changing prospect, what are your expectations of our newest signing?  Have you seen any games that Blandisi has played in and if so, how did he look?  Do you think he will fit in with New Jersey's style of play?  Will he ever be anything more than a career AHLer?  Leave any and all comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!