The New Jersey Devils season is over. While there are still games to play, the likelihood of them making the playoffs is over. It is time for some of the youth in Albany to get from NHL experience.
Pavel Zacha made his debut in the last game of the 2015-16 season. He finished with two assists in the game, which the New Jersey Devils won. With the Devils selling what they could at the deadline, it could be time for some of Albany’s finest to join the main roster.
Miles Wood is an example of a player that made his debut this year and has been a success. Who else could benefit from some NHL time?
The second cousin of Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, who is also a former Devil, is tearing it up in Albany. He currently leads Albany with 11 goals and 29 assists. Quenneville is a play who can do it all. He can score, hit, and get under his opponents skin. These are all areas the Devils desperately need help in.
Quenneville has already played in two games with the team this season. He has gone pointless and has acquired two penalty minutes. While he might need more time in Albany to develop, the experience would be good for the young forward. He is in his first year for the organization
Let’s face facts. Cory Schneider is the number one goalie for the Devils. Keith Kinkaid shouldn’t be the backup. His play is sloppy, and he is causing the team more harm the good. Wedgewood is a play who can really backstop the Devils in the crease. After all, all the real hype behind Kinkaid came because he stopped Steven Stamkos on a breakaway in his first NHL game.
Last season, Wedgewood went 2-1-1 in four stars for the Devils, with a 1.25 goals against average and a .957 save percentage. He even earned his first career shutout against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since Johan Hedberg left the team, the Devils have been in search of a solid backup. It’s clearly not Kinkaid, so why not Wedgewood? At the age of 24, it would give the team a fresh start.
Scoring is an area the Devils have needed help in for years. In 17 fewer games, Pietila has scored 11 more points in his sophomore season with Albany. Pietila is a two-way player, who uses the most of his 5’11 frame. Veron Fiddler was brought on so that Pietila could have another full season in Albany. Since Fiddler was traded, why not get the young man some games under his belt.
He has already appeared in two games for the Devils this season, both being in California, where the Devils season began its nosedive. He has also notably lowered his+/- number from -13 to -1. The Devils could use another bottom six forward. Pietila would fit that void very nicely.
First round pick Mike Mcleod is another name fans would want to see called up. He is still a few years away from being called up. Blake Coleman is another name that could bolster the bottom six. Blake Speers is another offensive powerhouse the team could call upon. The depleted defense could also benefit from a player such as Colton White. Either way, the youth movement of the Devils needs to shine bright.