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Lamoriello weighs in on prospects

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson skates a drill during Day 2 of camp.

PHOTO: New Jersey Devils
Lou Lamoriello has been keeping a close eye on Adam Larsson, and likes what he sees.

Now he hopes to get him signed as soon as possible.

“We know what he can do and what he can’t do,” the Devils’ President/CEO/GM said on Day 2 of prospect camp. “He’s a quality player and as I said earlier, we’re going to do everything we can to get him signed. I like everything he does. He’s very mature for his age, very humble and yet confident. He’s going to be a good player.”

For the second straight day, players were divided into two morning sessions then competed in an afternoon scrimmage. David Wohlberg and Scott Arnold combined Tuesday to give Team White a 2-0 win over Team Red.

Wohlberg, the Devils’ sixth-round pick in 2008, buried a pass from Nick Palmieri 59 seconds into the second period. The teams played two 20-minute halves. Arnold’s empty-netter sealed the game with 23 seconds to go.

Lamoriello was upbeat about his prospects' performances, especially given the workload. After a practice and a scrimmage, players are broken up by position for a power skating session. Defensemen went Monday, forwards got their turn on Tuesday.

“I was pleased this morning with the energy that they had, especially the defensemen who were in the second group yesterday,” he said.

That made Monday a long day at the office for Larsson, who happens to be breaking in new skates. The top-ranked European skater at this year’s draft, the Devils were thrilled to grab him with the fourth-overall pick.

“Those are great players that were picked prior to him,” Lamoriello said. “There were four players that were targeted, or were out there by consensus for everybody, and yet, there were more than that, too. There were about six to eight players that all were within a high pool, so to speak. Certainly defense was a need for us. We feel good with where he was.”

• Lamoriello expects to name a head coach soon. “We will have a coach in the very near future,” he said.

• Former Devil Sergei Brylin has been helping out the coaches during camp, and although there are currently no plans to add him to the staff, Lamoriello believes he’s got all the right stuff. Brylin, a three-time Stanley Cup champion with New Jersey, spent the last three seasons playing for St. Petersburg SKA (KHL).

“Sergei certainly is going to have a great future in coaching, if he wants, just simply because of the way he played the game, the way he thinks the game, and his interaction with people,” said Lamoriello. “But there has been no conversation with him about anything else.

"There is no question that Sergei is the type of individual that you want to be in your organization and to work with kids, veterans, whoever.”

• This week, Kelly Zajac became the latest member of his family to don a Devils jersey. He’s the third Zajac to hit the ice in New Jersey, joining his two older brothers. Travis, of course, is the Devils’ top center. Darcy split time between Albany (AHL) and Trenton (ECHL) last season after signing with Albany as a free agent last June.

Kelly, 23, just completed his third season at Union (ECAC), where he collected 13 goals and 29 assists in 40 games. And there’s another Zajac in the pipeline: defenseman Nolan, who has committed to Denver (WCHA) for 2012-13. Both Travis and Darcy played at North Dakota (WCHA). Their father, Tom, skated for Denver from 1973-77.

“In the case of the Zajacs, both (Kelly and Darcy) are pretty good players,” Lamoriello said. “One of them last year played on our minor league team. The brother, who’s playing at Union College, is a pretty good player. Another brother (Nolan) is playing out west (Cedar Rapids, USHL). We invited him, but he couldn’t for different reasons.”

Those aren’t the only family ties at camp. Stephen Gionta, who has captained Albany, is the younger brother of former Devil Brian. Peter McMullen, Jr. is the son of Devils executive Peter McMullen and grandson of the late Dr. John McMullen, who brought the Devils to New Jersey in 1982. McMullen, Jr. starred at Delbarton and will play in the USHL next season.

Also taking part is Rem Vanderbeek, son of Devils’ Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek. Rem will return to Providence (HE) for his junior year in the fall.
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