Earlier today, Tom Gulitti confirmed at Fire & Ice an report by RDS' Renaud Lavoie that the New Jersey Devils have re-signed Mattias Tedenby. Tedenby was an impending restricted free agent coming off his entry level contract. The terms of this new contract is for $600,000 for one year and it's a one-way contract, so he'll be paid that much regardless of whether he's in New Jersey or Albany.
Truthfully, this is a minor signing and that really says it all for Tedenby at this point in his career. He'll get paid $50,000 over the league minimum and the term is as short as it could be. The fact it's a one-way deal is good for him as he was making five figures when he was in the A. I get the sense that this is really a "one more chance" deal for Tedenby. The Devils think he's worth keeping around since they did re-sign him. But the fact it's such a small deal suggests he's not going to last too long in the organization.
Let me take a step back and give an overview of Tedenby's time with New Jersey and Albany so far. After showing some impressive flashes of talent in the 2010-11 season, a lost season as we all know, he failed to keep a regular roster spot in the 2011-12 season. He regularly was benched in the third period of games, his concept of defense was just that, and didn't put up nearly enough offense - be it in points, attempts, possession, etc. - to justify all that. For those who remember, the acquisition of Alexei Ponikarovsky really highlighted how that third line winger position could be (and was!) useful in place of Tedenby and the other forwards Peter DeBoer tried in that spot. In this past season, Tedenby made the New Jersey roster, played very little in four games, and did very little to justify more ice time or games. He was sent back to Albany, as he did back in the prior season and did not return.
While he did suffer a nasty facial injury in 2013 that made him miss about a month and a half of action, Tedenby has not been a particularly productive forward in the AHL. In 84 games over three seasons, he put up 19 goals and 25 assists. That's not too shabby and it's not like Albany has been loaded with talent. However, if he was a NHL-quality forward, then one would and should expect much more. Like, say, Bobby Butler, who has put up many more points (60) in the same number of games in the same league. The NHL players in the minor leagues usually don't last there long because they end up performing so well. If you get sent down and remain there because you're not exceptional at a lower level, then you're not likely going to get a call up unless the parent team needs a body.
Last year, we ended up naming Tedenby the #6 Devil in the organization under the age of 25. Should we decide to do a similar list this summer, I expect him to be far lower. He's now 23, he's got over 100 games in the NHL, and just over half of that was in a season where the Devils had little to play for. There may not be a lot of time or room to grow as a player. In the last two seasons where the Devils earned more than nine wins in the first half of it, Tedenby has managed to play his way off the roster in each of the last two seasons. I recognize that he's got speed, he can flash some great stickhandling skills, and, sure, he could do a bit better with better teammates. But he hasn't earned the right to play with better teammates, he's not good enough to go up against better competition (which comes with playing with better teammates) and succeed, and he really hasn't progressed as a player. Whatever potential you or I may thought he have had back in 2008 - and I did have high hopes for the guy - is irrelevant in 2013.
Therefore, I think the upcoming 2013-14 season is a "show up or sit down" situation for Tedenby. This is the summer to have a fantastic workout program and work on any skills as needed. This is will be the fall to have the best camp of his career. This will be the preseason to really show that you can play both ways and put out a more consistent effort. And if he ends up in Albany, then it's the time to do his best to be one of the best and make enough noise that New Jersey considers to bring you back. If these things do not happen, then it wouldn't surprise me if the Devils deal him out in a minor deal or just not re-sign him in 2014. As for now, I'm fine with the contract. It's cheap, it carries low risk, and it may not even end up being on the cap if/when he gets sent down to the minors.
What's your take on the contract? Do you think this is a sign of this being a "one more chance" deal like I do? Do you think Tedenby will make the most of it? Please leave your comments and other thoughts about Tedenby in the comments. Thank you for reading.