The New Jersey Devils have decided it’s time for John Quenneville to make his mark. The former first-round pick and top prospect has been recalled from the AHL and will join the team at practice this morning. With the Devils losing their 10th straight game and dropping to last place in the Eastern Conference, they received a bit of respite yesterday when their game against the Winnipeg Jets was postponed due to weather.
A former first-round pick (30th overall) in 2014, Quenneville was a former teammate of expected first-overall pick Nolan Patrick during his junior career for the Brandon Wheat Kings. A solid prospect, the young Devils center has found success at the AHL level this season with 41 points in 52 games. That’s good enough to lead the baby-Devils, and has been a big part of their success this season.
Part of the successful Quenneville clan of hockey players and coaches, John is actually the second-cousin of Chicago Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quenneville. He’s also the nephew of Johnny Boychuk, a player he may have to face off against sooner than later in the Metropolitan Division. Boychuk is currently dealing with an injury, but the two teams face off twice more (March 31st and April 8th) before the end of the season.
Quennville is a playmaking center that seems to find his teammates whenever they separate themselves from a defender. His work in the corners and his own end will allow him to compete at the next level even if his skating is still a work in progress. Though not as tall as you might like a power center to be, he is solidly built and can use his frame well to muscle players off the puck. His creativity is there, as some fans may remember his between-the-legs breakaway goal from the Memorial Cup.
If the Devils give him the rest of the season, they would get a good look at a player who will be challenging for a full-time role on the squad as soon as next season. With New Jersey struggling so much to score goals, an infusion of talent from a young prospect might be exactly what they need. He did get into two NHL games in December, but was given less than 10 minutes of ice time in each.