Mattias Tedenby gave the New Jersey Devils a spark two years ago as part of the youth movement that produced NHL talent like Mark Fayne, Jacob Josefson, Adam Henrique, and Nick Palmieri. Then, as suddenly as Mattias Tedenby hit the scene, the offensive skills many presumed would translate to immediate NHL success seemed to evaporate.
This season, it appears that Mattias Tedenby will be battling for one of the final skater slots on the NHL roster of the New Jersey Devils. After a miserable season last year, Tedenby represents one of the most interesting position battles of the upcoming season. The New Jersey Devils have plenty of forward depth, even after the departure of Zach Parise this offseason. Mattias Tedenby will need to display more of the potential that had Devils fans buzzing a few years ago if he wants to make the NHL roster.
Enter the 2012 NHL lockout: a greed-driven tragedy unto the hockey world. Maybe Devils GM Lou Lamoriello knew what he was doing as he remained quiet throughout the 2012 offseason. If nothing else, the 2012 NHL lockout will be a good opportunity for the New Jersey Devils to properly evaluate Mattias Tedenby and the rest of the Devils’ top prospects.
Tedenby is already something of a disappointment for Devils fans after a miserable NHL effort last season. Associating him with the NHL lockout can only heighten those feelings of disdain. Undersized and overwhelmed, Mattias Tedenby scored just one goal in 43 NHL games with a -15 differential last year before finishing his season in Albany. However, he recovered from a disappointing NHL season to post 20 points in just 35 AHL games – numbers more in line with the 22 points the 22 year old produced in 58 NHL games two seasons ago. As painful as it has been to follow the sapling career of Mattias Tedenby, there is plenty of scoring potential to be excited about.
The 2012 NHL lockout allows for a unique situation in the AHL, particularly for the New Jersey Devils. Mattias Tedenby will have the opportunity to play alongside the best young talent the New Jersey Devils have while playing in Albany. Under normal circumstances, it is unlikely players like Adam Henrique would be assigned to Albany. Because of the NHL lockout, Mattias Tedenby will have the opportunity to develop chemistry with NHL players while playing in a super-talented AHL league with more NHL-ready competition. For young players on the cusp of the NHL, the lockout could provide a very special opportunity.
Because of the 2012 NHL lockout and AHL roster loopholes, the New Jersey Devils gain an extra opportunity to evaluate their players. The Devils have questions about the future of the franchise that remain unanswered entering the 2012 NHL season. New Jersey needs to find more offense, a new generation of defensemen, and most importantly, make a decision regarding a goaltending replacement for Martin Brodeur. With NHL-level scorers playing in the AHL, the Devils get a real look at their top goaltending prospects and borderline-NHL talent like Mattias Tedenby as they continue to develop with the Albany Devils.
It’s not pretty, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it a silver lining, but hockey will go on for the New Jersey Devils through the NHL lockout, at least in a conciliatory capacity.