NEWARK, NJ - When training camp opens on Thursday morning, it is going to be a very full house. 57 players will walk into Prudential Center for a morning of physicals before hitting the ice on Friday. A healthy mix of veterans, rookies and invited players will arrive refreshed from an off-season in the sun and ready for another year of competition. Six goaltenders, 19 defensemen and 32 forwards will all work under the tutelage of John Hynes and his coaching staff, as well as the Binghamton staff lead by Mark Dennehy and the Devils development staff, with all hands on deck.
Plenty of players will meet each other for the first time, after general manager Ray Shero spent much of the summer active on the market to bring in further internal competition into the mix. Among the new faces are veterans P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds, while at 27, Russian forward Nikita Gusev joins the NHL for the first time.
This will be a first opportunity for several players to go through the NHL motions for the first time, with forward Gusev arriving from Russia for his first NHL experience at 27 years old. Similarly, this will be a first experience for forward Jesper Boqvist and several 2019 draft selections, including Jack Hughes.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Skim through the roster and you'll notice two number changes heading into the new NHL season. Forward's Kevin Rooney and Joey Anderson have had their numbers lowered. Rooney goes from 58 in his first 46 games to 16, while Joey Anderson changes from 49 to 14. Colton White, who has played just 3 NHL games, changes from 68 to 2.
For his first-ever NHL number, Gusev will make history with his number 97 jersey. He will be the first Devil to wear the number, which also marks the highest jersey number in Devils history. Prior to Gusev, Doug Gilmour's 93, worn last during the 1997-98 season, was the highest number worn.
WHERE IN THE WORLD:
23 Canadians are on the Devils training camp roster, the most of any country. 18 American's make up the second largest contingent, along with four players each from Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. While the roster also has one of each a Finn, Slovak, Czech and Belarussian.
SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED:
Here's a breakdown of the type of contracts on the Devils training camp roster:
Signed Players: 46
Unsigned Draft Choices: 7
American Hockey League Contracts: 4
SHOOT YOUR SHOT:
On the defensive roster, the Devils will have 20 defensemen hard at work. 13 of the Devils defensemen at camp are left shooting, while the remaining seven shoot right.
THAT'S MY GENERATION:
There is a healthy mix of older and younger players attending camp on the initial roster. Of the 57 players, seven of them were born in the late 1980's while another seven represent the next generation born in 2000 or later.
AWAY WE GO:
It won't be long before the first official preseason game is underway. Devils fans will get a double dose in the first day of preseason play with split-squad matchups. One roster will play the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center, while another group will head to Montreal to take on the Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Monday, September 16th. Both games begin at 7 p.m.