After posting the news on Baddock being signed, I noticed a new post at Fire & Ice by Andrew Gross. At the end of it, Gross wrote that "Reports indicate the Devils have signed Jan Mandat, a 20-year-old center who has played the last four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League." The "reports" appear to stem from Stephane Leroux, who works at RDS. He tweeted earlier today that Mandat, of Val d'Or Foreurs, did sign with the Devils - the Albany Devils. While details (amount, length) are unknown, this is an interesting pick up and maybe even a smarter one than signing Baddock to an ELC.
Here is Mandat's profile at Elite Prospects. You'll note that he's got decent size at 6'0" and 203 pounds. You'll also note that he made the jump to Canadian major junior hockey when he was younger as he grew up in the HC Dukla Jihlava system in his native Czech Republic. The move to the 'Q' did not hurt his standing with his country as he represented the Czechs in the main World Junior Championship tournament. In his overage season with Val d'Or, Mandat's 64 points in 62 games ranked tied for 35th in scoring in the QMJHL. His shot counts and point totals have increased in each of his three seasons in the QMJHL. I'm encouraged by the increase in shots on net as it means that he continues to fire away even when the pucks aren't dropping in. Also, Mandat has taken at least 750 draws in each of the last two seasons; that means he's really been playing center at Val d'Or. While Mandat was not drafted, his profile at the QMJHL website notes he was invited to Colorado's camp last year. So teams have been watching him. It appears the Devils won his favor.
That said, should Leroux's report be fully accurate, Mandat signed with Albany. That's an important distinction. This means that he can't be called up to New Jersey. He would need a NHL contract first. That is entirely possible for the future. Should Mandat apply himself well in Albany, then it could happen like Joe Whitney before him (and maybe
Max Matt Lorito if he gets a NHL deal). Even if he ends up only as depth for Albany, Mandat was at least a player that was productive in his league, he represented at an international level, and his most notable stat isn't a negative like penalty minutes. I'd rather have the Devils - Albany or New Jersey - take a chance on that prospect than handing an ELC to a sixth round bruiser with little upside. What do you think? Let me know about this minor move in the comments. Thank you for reading.