NEWARK, N.J. -- Two players with close ties to New Jersey hockey were looking to make an impression on the opening day of New Jersey Devils development camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Monday.
Goaltender Anthony Brodeur, the son of former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and forward Matthew Gaudreau, the brother of Carneys Point, N.J, native and Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, each hope to make the most of a big opportunity.
Gaudreau said he offers something his big brother doesn't.
"I don't like to say he's not a defensive guy, but I feel like in the defensive zone, I'm much stronger and can anticipate where the play is going," Gaudreau said. "Defensively, I can get my stick in the way. I'm stronger in the defensive zone, but in the offensive zone I just try to make plays. He has greater skill set than I do."
The Devils, who selected Brodeur in the seventh round (No. 208) at the 2013 NHL Draft, did not sign him prior to the June 1 deadline, making him eligible for the 2015 draft. When he went undrafted, Devils general manager Ray Shero decided to give him a chance to impress at development camp this week.
"I wasn't entirely surprised [that I wasn't signed]," Brodeur said. "My season didn't go as planned and I wasn't really happy with it, so I wasn't exactly surprised they didn't offer me a contract."
Brodeur, 20, lost his starting position with the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, when he was pulled on four separate occasions, and was later claimed off waivers by the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He was expected to excel last season after going 13-10-2 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .887 save percentage in 30 games as a rookie for Gatineau in 2013-14.
"I know last season doesn't reflect the type of goalie I am," he said. "It obviously wasn't my best season, and I know I'm better than that and I'm [at Devils camp] to prove that. I was happy to come back here, show them what I can do. I can play at a high level and can continue to play at a high level."
Brodeur is uncertain what the future holds, although he's holding out hope to be signed by a team prior to 2015-16.
"I don't know where I'm going to be this season," Brodeur said. "I'll see what the [the Devils] say after this camp; if they decide to do something with me, whether it be a pro-league contract, maybe something in the minor leagues in the East Coast league or American Hockey League. If not, I'll see if I can earn a tryout with an East Coast team or if I can play an overage year in the QMJHL."
Brodeur said he was happy to see his father sign a three-year contract as assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues on May 20.
"He's happy [in St. Louis]," Brodeur said. "He likes the city and the organization. Maybe he'll come back in a few years, but he's doing what he wants, and I'm here at Devils camp just trying to make an impression."
Gaudreau, who will be a junior at Boston College in 2015-16, had three goals, six points and a plus-4 rating in 32 games for the Eagles last season. At 5-foot-9, 145 pounds, Gaudreau is facing a similar challenge that his brother overcame in cracking an NHL roster.
"My family adviser told me that a couple of teams wanted to take a look at me," Gaudreau said. "I had an invite from the Philadelphia Flyers, but I didn't want to go somewhere where it was so close (to home). I wanted to expand out, so I came to Devils camp. They have a great program, and I just wanted to be a part of it for the week."
Gaudreau was as a fourth-line center for Boston College last season. He said he can play center or left wing.
"I'm like a playmaker and like to make plays around the net," he said. "When I do get a chance, I try and put it away, but I'm more a playmaker or passer than a goal-scorer."
Johnny Gaudreau ranked in the top five among NHL rookies in goals, assists, points, power-play points, game-winning goals and steals in 2014-15. He won the 2014 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player as a junior at Boston College.
"My brother told me to just work as hard as you can," Matthew Gaudreau said. "This is a great experience and once you get here, there's a lot of excitement and nervousness. But once you get on that ice and show guys just what you can do, you fit in and you feel normal. John told me to be myself and everything will go from there."