When the Devils brought back tough guy and fighter Cam Janssen yesterday it was a sign that the Devils weren’t going to take kindly to getting pushed around by the likes of the Flyers and Rangers anymore. Janssen’s signing on top of today’s signing of former Thrashers and Sabres ruffian Eric Boulton should mean that the Devils are going to be doing more of the pushing than taking it.
New Jersey signed Boulton to a two-year, one-way contract and while Boulton is better known for the work with his fists, he had his career best game against the Devils last season. On December 18th 2010, the same night former Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk made his first appearance in Atlanta for the season, Boulton recorded a hat trick as the Thrashers rolled to a 7-1 over New Jersey. Boulton’s offensive output was shocking especially since those three goals made up half of his season total for goals scored.
Boulton won’t be coming to New Jersey for his sneaky and rare goal scoring ability though, he’s being brought in to provide protection on the ice and leadership in the locker room off of it. Boulton was a strong leader in the community for the Thrashers even going so far as to speak up against the Atlanta Spirit Group when they failed to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.
At 34 years-old, Boulton’s been through it all and with how young part of the Devils team will be next season, having his presence there will help them all out both on and off the ice. Boulton can do a bit more than fight and he does play a physical, defensive game. Last season he racked up just 87 penalty minutes, his lowest total since 2006-2007 when he played in just 45 games and had 49 PIMs. Back in 2008-2009, Boulton had 176 penalty minutes, his second highest amount over a ten year career, only eclipsed by the 178 he had in 2002-2003.
One thing’s for sure next season, if you’re going to start anything with the Devils, you’d better be prepared to finish it as with Boulton, Janssen, David Clarkson, Mark Fraser, and Colin White there’s a few guys that can handle themselves well physically all around on the ice. Let’s just say that our interest in Devils games against the rest of the Atlantic Division just got a lot more interesting.