On Wednesday, the Devils announced that they have recalled Sergey Kalinin from the American Hockey League after what Ray Shero described as a "paper transaction" yesterday. In a corresponding move, the Devils also returned forwards Reid Boucher and Joseph Blandisi to the AHL in addtion to defensemen Marc-Andre Gragnani and Seth Helgeson.
The return of Kalinin to the NHL was a no-brainer. As noted, Shero referred to it as a paper move, just to make roster space and ensure Gragnani could be called up to possibly fill-in for Adam Larsson or David Schlemko, both who were ill during the week. The return of Helgeson to the Albany Devils may signify that defenseman John Moore is close to returning from his injury as well.
In regards to Blandisi and Boucher, it is possible they could suit up and play for Albany during the break. The Albany Devils will have three games this week and if the Devils feel as though Blandisi and Boucher would benefit from extra playing time in the AHL then they may play this week. Albany, who has been struggling as of late would certainly welcome the return of the two forwards who seem to have found a niche in the NHL.
According to Tom Gulitti of the Record, the Devils will evaluate after the weekend what to do with Blandisi and Boucher. This allows the Devils flexibility and to determine whether both forwards will benefit from more seasoning in the AHL.
Players Impact in New Jersey
Though these players are returning to Albany, possibly just for the week, it is expected that some of them may be back with the big club before the Devils return to action next Tuesday against the Rangers.
Among the players that have made a notable impact is Joseph Blandisi. Blandisi, who was signed last January by New Jersey has thrived in his most recent NHL stint alongside Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. Finally being rewarded for his work, Blandisi put up a three point performance against the Senators and scored his first NHL goal. In his 8 games during this call-up he has registered six points and has arguably been New Jersey's best forward since arriving. His ability to create space and speed to create scoring chances.
On the other hand, Reid Boucher, who has been in New Jersey sparingly over the last few seasons has slowed down from the beginning of his call-up. Since scoring 2 points(a goal and assist) against Calgary on January 19th, Boucher has failed to register a point in three straight games. Boucher, who struggles to create scoring chances by himself, relies heavily on his shot and has only registered 1 shot in these past three games he's been held pointless.
How do you view the return of these players to Albany? Will extra time in the AHL improve Blandisi's play? Boucher's? Based on what we've seen this year, will Helgeson finally be able to secure an NHL roster spot next season when the defense is less crowded? Let us know your thoughts and thank you for reading.