The big news today was that Jiri Tlusty just got signed by the New Jersey Devils. However, I want to give some attention first to the lesser news: Tyler Kennedy will come to the Devils' training camp on a professional try out. The team has announced this earlier this afternoon on Twitter, shortly after the Tlusty news.
This shouldn't be that much of a surprise as the Devils have indicated that a forward or two would be brought in for a try-out. Kennedy is the sort of player that would be attending camps on a try out. Ever he since he cracked the Pittsburgh Penguins roster in 2007-08, Kennedy has mostly been a bottom-six forward. According to Hockey Reference, his all-time high in average ice time was in 2010-11 in his most productive season where he averaged over fourteen and a half minutes per game, putting up 21 goals, 24 assists, and 234. However, that was his peak season. His ice time, numbers, and usage dwindled since then. Last season, he only made 25 appearances for San Jose. After being traded to the Islanders for a conditional third round pick, he appeared in 13 regular season games and three playoff games. For both teams, he averaged over eleven minutes and didn't put up much. With not much going for him as of late, Kennedy went all summer without a contract.
If there is a positive to Kennedy, then it is seen in his possession numbers. According to War on Ice, he has only had two seasons with a Corsi For percentage below 50% and only two seasons with a negative relative Corsi For percentage. While Kennedy never faced tough competition, received a lot of offensive or defensive zone starts, or even played regularly, he had one of the better CF% among Sharks and Islanders. He doesn't stick out like crazy like Vladimir Zharkov, but it's better to be above break-even than not and Kennedy has been that. For that alone, there's enough reason for me to justify the team wanting to take a closer look at him.
Plus, he's a right-shooting forward. I could be wrong, but while he's listed as a center, Kennedy may be able to play on the right side. If true, that could be a big help given the team's lack of right wings at the moment. It's all the more reason for the Devils to bring him in. It isn't a guarantee he'll make the squad. That's up to Kennedy. Still, this is a nice choice for a PTO on the eve of training camp (veterans report tomorrow).
Let me know what you think about the team bringing in Kennedy on a try-out. Do you think it's a good move? Do you think he has a realistic shot at making the Devils? What will he have to do to earn a spot on the roster? Please let me know your answers and other thoughts on Tyler Kennedy in the comments. In a little bit, I'll have a post up on Tlusty. Thank you for reading.