The New Jersey Devils remarkable season is becoming more and more real each day. At first a nice story, then a “prove it,” then “what next,” the 19-4-1 Devils now sit among the NHL’s most elite teams this season with little evidence they’re slowing down. The team had another busy offseason, however the bulk of the talent on the roster isn’t much different than the same group that put up just 63 points last season. One of the several changes that has seemingly turned the tide in New Jersey is the development of some of their less-heralded prospects, including forwards Fabian Zetterlund and Jesper Boqvist.
As the Devils’ own Amanda Stein profiles, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff recently pulled both players aside and informed them that they should “get a place.” In other words, the two had been living in the team hotel in New Jersey without a permanent home, neither considered a firm part of the roster. However, a player being told to find a more permanent living situation implies that their spot on the roster is fairly safe. New Jersey had certainly hoped that both players could be a part of the long-term plan for them, however neither had really secured that status just yet. Now, 24 games into the season entering tonight, the Devils have found a winning recipe, and while it includes big names like Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt, it’s also quite clearly been impacted as well by players like Boqvist and Zetterlund.
- The Colorado Avalanche have had to weather more than their fair share of injuries this year and much to their credit, the reigning Cup champions have been able to keep themselves in playoff position despite the injuries. However, the team was dealt another tough blow during tonight’s contest against the Boston Bruins with winger Artturi Lehkonen leaving the game with an undisclosed injury, says Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater. Acquired at last season’s trade deadline, Lehkonen has fit in well during his time in Colorado and is currently enjoying a phenomenal breakout season, tallying seven goals to go with 11 assists in 21 games coming into tonight.
- With the postponement of the 2024 World Cup of Hockey, the NHL will need to find a host for their All Star Game and of course, won’t have an issue finding interested parties. On this evening’s 32 Thoughts portion of Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that there is expected to be a good amount of interest in hosting from Canadian teams, with Toronto being one that is expected to make a bid. Friedman added that there are some who have wondered if the NHL would consider a rotation of 7-to-10 cities where players may want to travel to during the winter months (presumably the warm climates of the American south and the west coast), but as Friedman adds, that’s not of interest to the league. The last All Star Game to be held north of the border was Ottawa back in 2012, with Montreal in 2009 before it.