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Sabres 3, Devils 0 (Prospects Challenge) | GAME STORY

The Devils dropped the opening game of the Prospects Challenge to host city Buffalo

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

BUFFALO, NY - New Jersey dropped the opening contest of the round-robin style Prospects Challenge tournament to host Buffalo, 3-0, at LECOM Harborcenter Friday night. 

Buffalo, which had the edge in shots 26-22, received goals from Brett Murray (power play), J.J. Peterka and Peter Tischke (empty net, shorthanded). Goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen posted a shutout.

Here are some observations from the game… 

Video: First Impressions | REPORT

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Devils at Sabres (Prospects Challenge) | WATCH LIVE

Watch live as the Devils Prospects take on the Sabres Prospects plus individual Devils goal highlights posted throughout the game right here

by Staff / NewJerseyDevils.com

Devils Prospects face off against the Sabres Prospects to kick off the 2021 Prospects Challenge in Buffalo.

You can watch the game live below via YouTube starting with our Pre-Game Show at 6:45 PM with post-game reaction and analysis to follow on our Post-Game Show. 

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Devils at Sabres (Prospects Challenge) | PHOTO GALLERY

Take a look at some of the best photos from Friday's game against the Sabres Prospects in Buffalo

by Andrew Maclean / NewJerseyDevils.com

Take a look below at some of the best photos from Friday's game against the Sabres Prospects in Buffalo:

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Devils at Sabres (Prospects Challenge) | PRE-GAME REPORT

Devils open the 2021 Prospects Challenge against the Sabres

by Marc Ciampa and Sam Kasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils open the 2021 Prospects Challenge tournament against the host Buffalo Sabres. 

You can watch the game streamed live right here on the Devils website with Matt Loughlin and Chico Resch on the call starting at 6:50 PM ET. 

Read the game preview below and check back after morning skate for the Pre-Game Report, lineup updates, videos and more. 

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Hughes Caps off Big Summer with Media Tour | FEATURE

Jack Hughes ran through the media gauntlet in Chicago, representing the Devils for the first time at the League event

by Chris Wescott TheChrisWescott / NewJerseyDevils.com

By now you've seen the footage. Everyone has.

The scene is burned into the memories of hockey fans as a moment of wholesome and unbridled joy. Devils forward Jack Hughes exploded into a state of uncontrolled euphoria and launched himself at his younger brother in celebration following Luke's selection, fourth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft, by New Jersey. The image made waves in the sports media community and around the NHL. And this summer, Jack has been asked about it a million times.

Video: Jack Hughes NHL Media Tour | BTS

So, what's a million and one?

Jack kindly obliges, always willing to talk about his brothers and the bond they share.

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Devils Announce 2021 Prospects Challenge Roster I RELEASE

Challenge games to take place Friday, Sept. 17 through Sunday, Sept. 19 at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, N.Y.

by Devils PR NJDevils / NewJerseyDevils.com

The New Jersey Devils announced the roster for the 2021 Prospects Challenge to take place Friday, Sept. 17 through Sunday, Sept. 19 at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY. The Devils will join the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins in participating. All games will be streamed on newjerseydevils.com in promotional partnership with MSG Networks.

2021 Prospects Challenge Schedule:

  • Friday, Sept. 17, Buffalo vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 19, New Jersey vs. Boston, 1 p.m.

New Jersey's 23-man roster includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders. It features three players who played NHL games last season (Nolan Foote, Kevin Bahl and Tyce Thompson), four former NHL first-round picks (Alexander Holtz, Chase Stillman, Dawson Mercer, Foote - TB), two second-round selections, five third-round choices and 13 former Devils draft picks overall. Bahl, Jeremy Groleau and Fabian Zetterlund will serve as the three alternate captains.

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First Pro Season Gave Clarke Blueprint for Success | FEATURE

After playing his first professional season with the Binghamton Devils, Graeme Clarke learned where he can improve as he fights for an NHL roster spot for the 2021-22 season

by Catherine Bogart catherinebogart / NewJerseyDevils.com

When Graeme Clarke prepared for the 2020-21 season, he expected to be back in the Ontario Hockey League once again. However, with the OHL cancelling the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clarke shifted his plans and ended up getting his first year of professional hockey under his belt.

The right wing started the year in Slovakia with his younger brother, Brandt, while the duo were on loan to HC Nove Zamky. After six games, Graeme returned to North America and played 31 games with the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League. During his first full season representing the Devils franchise, Clarke scored eight goals and had 10 assists for 18 points in his rookie campaign. Although the year did not go the way he anticipated, the Devils 80th-overall pick in 2019 was happy with how things worked out.

"I think it almost worked out for the best," Clarke said about playing in the AHL. "I really got my feet wet, first pro season, and got good ice time and I was able to run with that. It was fun.

"(My) all-around game really helped. Pro (hockey) is a lot different than junior. Junior you can get away with a lot more but in pro, if you make a mistake guys are going to put the puck in the back of your net and then you're sitting on the bench. So I think that was a big learning curve, but by the end of the year, I think it really helped me a lot with my development."

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Devils Sign Three Players to Professional Tryout Contracts | RELEASE

Forwards Jimmy Vesey, Mark Jankowski and Defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon to Attend Training Camp

by New Jersey Devils NJDevils / NewJerseyDevils.com

NEWARK, N.J. - The New Jersey Devils announced today that three players- forwards Jimmy Vesey, Mark Jankowski and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon- have signed PTO contracts. They will join New Jersey when all players report to NHL camp on September 22 at Prudential Center. 

Vesey skated in 50 games last season between Toronto and Vancouver, tallying five goals and five assists for 10 points with 58 total shots. Since his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season, Vesey has also played with the NY Rangers and Buffalo. Between 2016 and 2019 Vesey was a member of the Rangers, where he had his best offensive seasons with 16, 17 and 17 goals respectively. His career-high point total came during the 2018-19 season with 35 in his final season with the Rangers. The 28-year-old, left-shot winger has 64 goals, 56 assists for 120 points and 92 penalty minutes in 354 career regular-season NHL games. The native of Boston, MA, added one goal and four assists in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Vesey has been assigned jersey #16.

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'These Guys Chose Us' I FEATURE

The recent signings of the past offseason prove that New Jersey has become a desirable destination for NHL players

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

There are a lot of factors that a player must consider when entering the unrestricted free agent market. Of course, there is the contract details: money and term. But deciding with which team to sign goes much further than just a dollar value or the length of a deal.

Players, and their agents, must weigh the quality of the team and how things are projected to go in the future, the management in charge of running said team, the city and lifestyle, and lastly, the willingness of ownership to invest in creating a winning product.

The Devils and general manager Tom Fitzgerald understood those factors when they sent e-mails to free agents prior to the start of free agency promoting New Jersey as an attractive landing spot.

"Slap Shots has learned that the team has sent an email to agents extolling the virtues of playing for the organization in New Jersey," wrote Larry Brooks of the New York Post. "The email includes a link to a dedicated site meant to be shared with prospective free agents that features ownership, the organization ('FIRST CLASS ORGANIZATION'), the staff, the fans and the community." 

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An Unexpected Beginning | FEATURE

Michael Vukojevic wasn't expecting his pro career to start so suddenly, but he took the ball and ran with it

by Amanda Stein amandacstein / NewJerseyDevils.com

Michael Vukojevic was a frequent visitor to Mark Dennehy's make-shift office at Prudential Center between January and the end of the American Hockey League season. 

No, he wasn't being called into the principal's office for too many penalties or detention, or for lack of effort on the ice, in fact it was Vukojevic himself who was doing the knocking on a regular basis to talk to his first coach in a professional league. 

"I was in his office, probably, well, too much," Vukojevic said with a chuckle, "wondering if the (Ontario Hockey League) was going to start back up. And I kept telling him that I don't want to go, I can stay and stuff like that, and (Dennehy) kind of calmed me down and probably got sick of me walking into his office wondering if I had to go back."

You see, under normal circumstances Vukojevic would not have been eligible to be playing in the AHL, playing his professional season. But with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the Ontario Hockey League, Vukojevic's season with the Kitchener Rangers was wiped out. For a while, the OHL hadn't officially canceled their season and had they started up and running, Vukojevic would have had to return to Kitchener, ending his time in the AHL. 

Then Binghamton head coach Dennehy, who has been recently promoted to Devils Chief Scout, Amateur Scouting, remembers those knocks on the door from his worried player. 

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