Today, veterans reported to the New Jersey Devils for the beginning of their training camp. Media is being performed. Physicals and other initial activities are happening. Preseason games will begin in a week. Yes, the 2021-22 season is upon us. As such, the New Jersey Devils announced their full training camp roster this morning.
And also new pants. Yes, the Devils prospects in their two Prospect Challenge games did have something new that perhaps you noticed. Their black pants had a grey Devils logo on them. That will be permanent for this season. The Devils announced that it is their third pant set ever in franchise history. It is nice. I am more than fine with displaying the best logo in sports in more places. But it is also hockey pants. It does not mean a whole lot. It does not command a lot of excitement. Sure, pants are the fabric that holds our society together; but outside of people on the Internet wanting to be clever, they do not mean much other than to be part of the uniform.
Speaking of bodies, there are plenty of them in this year’s camp. Here is the full list in jersey number order within each position:
Forwards (29): Alexander Holtz, Andreas Johnsson, Tyce Thompson, Nico Hischier, Mark Jankowski (PTO), Jimmy Vesey (PTO), Yegor Sharangovich, Dawson Mercer, Michael McLeod, Nolan Foote, Joseph Gambardella, Pavel Zacha, Frederik Gauthier (PTO), A.J. Greer, Miles Wood, Brian Flynn, Chase De Leo, Nate Schnarr, Fabian Zetterlund, Janne Kuokkanen, Chase Stillman, Jesper Bratt, Marian Studenic, Jesper Boqvist, Aarne Talvitie, Ryan Schmelzer (AHL), Jack Hughes, Tomas Tatar, Graeme Clarke
The following forwards from the Prospect Challenge are not on this list: Patrick Grasso, Tyler Irvine, Jordan Kaplan, and Luke Stevens. Grasso, Irvine, and Kaplan signed with Utica so they will likely appear when the Comets have their camp. Luke Stevens was on the rookie camp roster on a try-out. Best wishes for him in the future.
Best wishes to Frederik Gauthier’s first name too. He is listed as Freddy Gauthier on the Devils’ site. OK. That is a bit new. Also new is Ryan Schmelzer. The 28-year old forward is signed with Utica, so he is new to this camp. He is certainly not new to the organization as he has been with Binghamton for the last three seasons.
Defensemen (15): Colton White, Dougie Hamilton, Ty Smith, Damon Severson, Reilly Walsh, Ryan Graves, Tyler Wotherspoon (PTO), Robbie Russo, Jonas Siegenthaler, Jeremy Groleau, P.K. Subban, Michael Vukojevic, Nikita Okhotiuk, Christian Jaros, Kevin Bahl
Joe Masonius and Zach Biggar from the rookie camp roster are not with the veterans. Masonius did sign with Utica so he will likely re-appear when the Comets have their training camp. Biggar was brought in from major junior hockey, so a return to Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL should be no shock.
Goaltenders (6): Mackenzie Blackwood, Akira Schmid, Scott Wedgewood, Jonathan Bernier, Nico Daws, and Mareks Mitens (AHL)
The only surprise here is that Mitens did make it to camp. It may be to fill out the numbers such that the Devils can rotate three tandems. He is still here. Mitens is on an AHL contract so his future will be in Utica. Still, he made it and credit to him for doing so.
Unless I miscounted, the Devils have 50 players in this year’s camp with 4 players on PTO and 2 on AHL deals (meaning they are ineligible for the NHL). The work now begins for the Devils to cut down from 48 players to 23 players by Opening Night. For a good chunk of this roster, there is no question they will make it to the active roster. Their goal in camp is to establish where in the active roster they should be, what units they will play on, and who they can play with. Preparation is the name of their game. For a few others, they know Utica is their destination so they can use this time in camp to make a good impression for a future call up and prepare for the AHL season. For those more on the fringe such as Marian Studenic, Jesper Boqvist, Christian Jaros, Fabian Zetterlund, and the four PTO players, this year’s camp and preseason will be their opportunity to tell the coaches and management whether they belong in New Jersey or in upstate New York (or elsewhere in the case of the PTOs).
The preseason starts next week. I hope all 50 players are able to stay healthy throughout workouts, drills, sessions, and scrimmages. I also hope they show a little confidence like captain Nico Hischier:
Nico Hischier on people who say #NJDevils aren't good enough to make the playoffs:— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) September 22, 2021
With a smile.
"Wait and see."
What do you expect to see out of the Devils coming out of camp? Who do you think stands to make the active roster that you would not expect? Who makes your 23-man roster as of right now? Do you care about the new pants? Please leave your answers and other thoughts in the comments. Thank you for reading.