The Case To Keep Stephen Gionta On New Jersey Devils

By Nick Villano
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It seems, according to New Jersey Devils fans, that the final spot on the roster will belong to either Stephen Gionta or Jacob Josefson. They seem to be on different sides of the spectrum. They both bring very different games to the table for the Devils.

Josefson was a first-round pick back in 2007. He is a two-way forward and is very good on the defensive side. He is great at playing center overall and excels on the defensive side. He seemed to be on his last shot with the team when they brought him back on a one-year deal. He has a ton to prove this season.

The opposite might be true for Gionta. He brings more of an offensive-minded game to the Devils. He likes to get underneath and be in the action on the offensive side. He may be a little bit of a liability on the defensive side, but that is hidden with the line he plays with.

He is part of the CBGB line with Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter that broke out in that special run the Devils had two seasons ago. He made the lineup at the last minute, and his goal in that game was all coach Pete DeBoer needed to see to put him on the postseason roster. The line took the hearts of America (or Canada, whoever was watching) during the Stanley Cup run and made up a fourth line that wasn’t just a throwaway.

Who is worth more? If you go with Josefson, you are hoping that he is finally ready to live up to the potential everyone expected him to show. If you go with Gionta, you’re sticking with the guy who showed you what he can do. The upside for Josefson is definitely higher. Gionta is actually seven years older than Josefson, so he can actually correct what has been wrong in the past two seasons.

On this team, they have to go with the player they know. There are already plenty of players who play both ways, and they need guys who can make their own chances when given the opportunity. Gionta gives the team something they need.

More than anything, however, he is part of a line that has shown to have the best chemistry of anyone. The CBGB line should not be touched. With all the changes that have happened with the forwards, chemistry is something they are going to work on all season. When they have a line that has played so well together, they need to stick with it.

Josefson may become a good player eventually. He will be the first guy called upon in case of an injury. Gionta needs to be in the lineup to start the season. Say what you want, but he is going to give they team everything every single night. That everything is a lot when he is in the right situation.

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