The New Jersey Devils on Thursday announced the signings of defensemen Reece Scarlett and Damon Severson to entry-level contracts.
Both players were standouts during New Jersey's summer development camp in July at AmeriHealth Pavilion in Newark.
Scarlett, a sixth-round draft pick in 2011, seems determined to prove he deserved to be drafted higher. As it stands, the Devils picked him at No. 159 and now are reaping the benefits.
In his third full season with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, Scarlett logged major minutes while finishing with career-highs in goals (nine), assists (40) and points (49) in 71 games last season.
"Personally, I felt I really developed as an offensive defenseman," Scarlett said. "After the draft I really wanted to prove to everyone that I should have gotten a lot higher than I did, so I really took that to heart and went out there and felt more comfortable with myself and my ability. I knew that if I step up in the play that I have the skating skill to get back, so I jumped into play a lot more often."
Scarlett, a native of Edmonton, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 168 pounds, but he said he's working on raising that second number.
"I gained 10 pounds since last training camp and am hoping to put on 10 more pounds," Scarlett said. "It's tough. I eat six or seven meals a day and it just doesn't happen for me. It's slowly moving along and it's not something in my game where I necessarily need it for pushing guys around, per se. I'm more of a pick-my-spots, take-the-puck kind of player. Adding a few more pounds wouldn't be bad, though."
Severson, a 2012 second-round pick (No. 60) had seven goals and 37 points in 56 regular-season games with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League in 2011-12. He has 11 goals, 54 points and 133 penalty minutes in 125 games spanning two-plus seasons with Kelowna.
"The draft is one accomplishment, but making a team and moving on with your career is another one so you just have to work hard and train hard in the offseason … strive to be better," Severson said.
Both players were grateful to have Devils assistant coach Scott Stevens as a mentor at development camp this summer.
"His number  hangs in the rafters at the rink [in New Jersey], and that's the guy you want to be listening to when he says something," Severson said. "So I definitely tried to take as much as I could from him. He's just given me everything I need so that I can make myself better. He wants me here and he'll help me as much as he can."
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