The New Jersey Devils have signed Drew Stafford to a professional tryout, bringing him into camp once again. Stafford played last season for the Devils but found himself without a contract this summer after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Stafford, 32, was once an extremely effective offensive player for the Buffalo Sabres, scoring 31 goals in the 2010-11 season in just 62 games. Though that offensive has dried up in the last two seasons, he still offered 15 points in 59 games while playing extremely limited minutes in New Jersey. Averaging fewer than 12 minutes of even strength time per game, he posted even possession statistics and could be a potential option as a fourth line player or extra forward again this season. The Devils did lose their trade deadline acquisitions when Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon decided to sign elsewhere, leaving at least a possibility that a veteran like Stafford could be needed.
Still, that would likely mean that no young prospects step up for the Devils and force their way onto the roster, something that many New Jersey fans are hoping for. While the Devils are already led by a young group including Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha, other prospects like Michael McLeod and John Quenneville are expected to push for full-time jobs and add even more youth and skill to the lineup. Stafford earning a contract would be a decision in the opposite direction, though his professional work ethic and experience is nothing to overlook.