The New Jersey Devils have an interesting problem on the blue line. They have a glut of young talent itching to stay in the NHL.
Defensemen Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, and Adam Larsson are all players the Devils value highly, yet Merrill is the only one currently on the New Jersey roster as older veterans hold down the fort.
So what gives? GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t looking to speed up their development as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice shares.
“Adam Larsson, Gelly and Merrill, they’re all going to be in the NHL. They’ll all be here,” Lamoriello said. “We’re not going to rush them. We’re going to make sure – if they have to go up, if they have to go down – they get their complete game together so that it’s on a consistent basis. It’s nothing personal with them. It’s nothing that they’re doing wrong. It’s the experience that’s needed. Different styles of play need different experiences. We’ll do everything we can so once they’re here they’ll be a solid contributing factor and play the minutes that are necessary to play.”
A big thing to keep in mind here: Gelinas and Merrill are 22 years old and Larsson is 21. It’s not like they’re rotting on the vine in the AHL at Albany. With veteran players like Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, and captain Bryce Salvador locked in place, there’s not much room for the younger guys.
They’ll eventually have their time in the sun, it’s just not going to be right away. Sorry Devils fans, Lou’s orders.