With Devils prospects reaching the halfway mark of this week's rookie camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion, Lou Lamoriello was upbeat Wednesday about what he's seen so far.
"There's no question," said the Devils' President, CEO and General Manager. "I think that the group of defensemen as we've said is as quality as we've had as well as quantity. We have a couple of forwards here that how far they are away we'll find out in training camp when they get with the veterans."
2012 first-round draft pick Stefan Matteau did not skate for a second straight day and is unlikely to return to the ice this week.
"He's still sore," Lamoriello said. "He's sitting watching practice and there's no use pushing it. He's fine. He could have skated if we wanted him to, but for two days it's not worth it."
Skaters were divided into two morning sessions before getting the afternoon off. The first group included goaltenders Scott Wedgewood and Anthony Brodeur; defensemen Eric Gelinas, Brandon Burlon, Reece Scarlett, Jon Merrill, Damon Severson, and Seth Helgeson; and forwards Ben Thomson, Ben Johnson, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Coleman, Myles Bell, Graham Black, Blake Pietila, Reid Boucher, Riley Boychuk, and Artur Gavrus.
Gavrus, who spent the last two years with Owen Sound (OHL), will join Dinamo Minsk (KHL) for the upcoming season.
"This group are people we have to make decisions on," Lamoriello said. "They'll certainly all be invited to training camp. The second group, they're going to college or they're people we just invited for numbers. This group here is mostly the ones who will be invited to training camp."
Lamoriello hopes prospects use the five days to gain a familiarity with the organization and potential future teammates.
"They feel comfortable, they know the trainers, they know the equipment people and they interact with the coaches so it gives them an opportunity to feel good and make it easy," he said. "In past years, it was only training camp and it was so short with the pressures of getting into games. As you cut training camp shorter and shorter as we have over the years, this became more beneficial."
Camp will continue Thursday with an afternoon scrimmage.