Big thanks to ILWT user LangsForPres for FanShotting the news that the New Jersey Devils signed HV71 left winger and 2008 first round draft pick Mattias Tedenby and Djurgardens IF center and 2009 first round draft pick Jacob Josefson to entry level deals today. This is officially the
first and second fourth and fifth signings (UPDATE: three other prospects were signed first, per Gulitti - thanks njdNYG'cuse) of the 2010 offseason for the New Jersey Devils. Also reported by Tom Gulitti that only one pick from the 2008 draft class has not been signed: Matt Delahey of the Regina Pats. If he is not given a contract by June 1, he could re-enter the draft in 2010.
For quick reference, here are Tedenby's and Josefson's basic stat line from the Elitserien website (in Swedish, unsurprisingly).
|2009-10 Season - Mattias Tedenby - HV71||43||12||7||19||7||30||0||0||10:42||78||15.4|
|2009-10 Playoffs - Mattias Tedenby - HV71||16||2||3||5||-2
|2009-10 Season - Jacob Josefson - Djurgardens||43||8||12||20||7||20||2||0||15:17||79||10.1|
|2009-10 Playoffs - Jacob Josefson - Djurgardens||14||3||2||5||3||4||0||0||12:45||22||13.6|
UPDATE #2: Thanks to this FanShot from ILWT user njdNYG'cuse, the salary details have been reported and added to Gulitti's post. Tedenby has been signed to a 3-year entry level deal for $875k per season and Josefson has been signed to a 3-year entry level deal for $900k per season.
Note: Appreciate NHL.com because the Elitserien website doesn't have all the stats you'd come to expect so easily. If you know more of their numbers, please let me know and I'll add them.
Between the WJCs and their trips to the finals of the SEL playoffs where HV71 won the championship in 6 games, the duo have had very good years. Tedenby was even nominated as a finalist for the 2009-10 SEL rookie of the year award, as noted through his Wikipedia page. However, the news articles surrounding both lead me to think that they do have more than just a long shot of making the roster for next season.
The talent level of these two are so high that it's no wonder Devils fans are excited by their future. A good description of their skill set and potential can be had here in Jared Ramsden's review of them at Hockey's Future from March. Maybe you saw a video like this one that showcases Tedenby's excellent stickhandling skills. Or you liked how #40 looked in this video focusing on young Djurgardens players from this past SEL season. Either way, some Devils fans may be elated to have read the following from Gulitti:
"In our opinion we think they should be ready to make the next step to the NHL," Lamoriello said. "They both had good seasons in the Elite League in Sweden. They’ve both had all the international competition they need. They’ll be here for the summer (rookie) camp and then training camp."
So, does that mean the Devils are planning for Tedenby and Josefson both to be on the Devils roster in 2010-11?
"In our opinion, there’s a better chance of that happening than not," Lamoriello said.
Well! That's some high praise from Lou. But I don't think he's being too optimistic based on a few news articles out of a Swedish hockey news site. I found the site through HV71's official messageboard, it's called Hockeykanalen.se, which had three articles about the signings: one for each player and one about both being signed.
Here's the one on Josefson, where Djurgardens sporting director is not pleased with the news (translated to English). Not to rub salt in the wounds of the runners-up to the SEL title, but if the president is unhappy about Josefson's departure, then it must mean he was valuable enough to his team. Which is very good for a 19 year old center. On the other hand, a later article follows up on this with the agent Peter Wallin's side of the story noting that if Josefson doesn't make it in New Jersey, he can be loaned back to Djurgardens (and so would make them happy if only to honor the "promise.")
This article on Tedenby similarly alarmed me (at first) because apparently he too has a loan clause. If he doesn't make it on New Jersey, he too can go back to HV71 for the 2010-11 season.
Either clause doesn't make me feel all that good, in my opinion, because it would just delay the necessary adjustment to the North American game, much less the AHL/NHL level of play. Sure, they could go back to their old clubs, have larger roles on their team, and they could still improve. But if they don't make New Jersey, I'd rather have them in Albany where they can get important minutes and be available for replacement should someone get injured or sent down.
That said, if Tedenby and Josefson's agent are that open about his clause, then surely Lou or someone on the Devils knew about it and are either fine with the option of him going back or truly think he'll make it stick. The article about both of them being signed with this quote on Tedenby helps put the concern in perspective. At least for Tedenby.
It is the first time that New Jersey awards maxlön (JF note: I think this means maximum length) [for] the new NHL players. Fantastic, and it shows that they believe in both Tedenby and Josefson. Moreover, New Jersey, wanted to have Mattias already in December and it shows how much they want him, "said agent Peter Werner to Sportbladen
Since December? If that holds true now, then Lou may be very willing to give Tedenby at least every opportunity to make the New Jersey team. All Tedenby may have to do at this point is do what he's asked and do it well. Loan clause or no loan clause.
As far as Josefson goes, given the team's dearth of centers on the roster much less the system overall, he'll get plenty of chances to make the team by default unless the Devils sign several pivots this summer. Between the two, I think it's more likely that Josefson would make the New Jersey team over Tedenby - and not just because of position. While Tedenby often played on the third line per the HV71 match reports (in Swedish, click on the score of a game and you'll see the lines on the right), Josefson was averaging 15:17 and playing on Djurgarden's second line. For a 19 year old to be tasked with that much responsibility in a professional league with men in their prime, fellow prospects, and former NHL players (e.g. Lance Ward), that's a huge sign of what he can do already. In the playoffs, Josefson saw his minutes drop and Tedenby saw his rise; but both were regulars for the most part.
I think it would be unfair to immediately pen them into the 2010-11 New Jersey Devils roster. I wouldn't go out and get that Tedenby or Josefson jersey (how can you, they don't even have numbers). However, I don't think they should be immediately discounted into playing in the minor leagues for a year or going back to the SEL on loan. I wonder whether if they just play a few games on the New Jersey roster to start the season, may be enough to ensure that they stay stateside for 10-11? I don't know, but I do know that they will probably have more than just your average young prospect's chance in camp to make the roster based on what I've read in those articles.
Let me know what you think in the comments about the signing? Do you think Tedenby and Josefson will make it on the New Jersey roster? Do you think one of them will but the other will go to the AHL or back to the SEL? What do you think about the quotes in the articles from the Swedish media? Again, thanks to LangsForPres for putting up the news first in this FanShot.