|Zajac had the shootout clincher in last Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Rangers. |
With the Devils set to resume their exhibition schedule tonight against the New York Islanders, Jacques Lemaire and his coaching staff will be watching to see which of their prospects shine the brightest.
Lemaire will have tonight at Long Island (7p, MSG Plus, streaming live on WFAN.com
), and Thursday's contest at Philadelphia to get a better sense of where his team stands with just over a week to go before the start of the regular season.
"This is the reason why we have a lot of kids in," the head coach said before boarding the team bus Wednesday morning. "We want to know what they're made of and what they can do for this hockey team. Evaluation will be done every game, and we'll take the best players – the players who show that they're ready to play."
The Devils (1-0) had a few extra skaters on the ice this morning, but Lemaire said Michael Swift and Matt Corrente would not see action tonight. He'll go with Niclas Bergfors-Travis Zajac-Jamie Langenbrunner; Brian Rolston-Dainius Zubrus-Brendan Shanahan; Andrew Peters-Rod Pelley/Tim Sestito
On defense will be Colin White, Johnny Oduya, Paul Martin, Rob Davison, Jay Leach
and Cory Murphy. Goaltenders Yann Danis and Jeff Frazee
also made the trip.
Lemaire will look at more than just goals and assists in assessing his young talent tonight.
"We want to see what he can do with the puck, without the puck, how he's going to play – his intensity," he said.
Peters, attending camp on a tryout, will be making his Devils preseason debut.
"It's nice to get back into a game, it's been awhile," said Peters, a five-year veteran with 557 penalty minutes in 200 appearances, all with Buffalo.
The 6-4, 240-lb. tough guy said fighting won't necessarily be on his agenda at Nassau Coliseum.
"I don't really plan it out too much," he said. "I've been in this League five years, and as far as fighting goes, they know what I can do. If something needs to be done, then that's what I'm here for. But I'll go out and play hard, play my game, forecheck hard and be solid defensively is basically where my head's at right now. I don't think as much into it togo out and look for fights to prove myself in preseason. I think people know what I can do."
Lemaire has commented on how much Peters' conditioning has improved during camp, and the left winger feels there's a place for him in New Jersey.
"I feel very welcome here," Peters said. "I've said it over and over again, I can't say enough about how great the guys are here and that's one of the things (Devils' Pres./CEO/GM) Lou (Lamoriello) told me he looks for the most: good, character guys. That's definitely something that he's taken pride in. He's got a great group in there, and I'm hoping that there's a spot for me."
The Devils close out the preseason schedule with two games at home: Saturday against the Flyers, and Tuesday against the Isles. They open the regular season at home versus Philadelphia on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
10:27a – Morning skate wrapping up. Players not skating tonight are taking the ice next.
10:12a – Players are on the ice for today's morning skate. The Devils (1-0) continue the exhibition schedule tonight at Long Island (7p, MSG Plus, streaming on WFAN.com), and Thursday at Philadelphia.
This morning's forwards are:
Defense: White, Davison, Leach, Corrente, Oduya, Murphy, Martin.
Goalies: Yann Danis, Jeff Frazee