If you haven’t heard about New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas yet, maybe you should. The 22-year-old has just 15 games worth of NHL experience, but he’s already earning high praise.
Hall of Fame defenseman and former coach Larry Robinson remembers thinking that Gelinas reminded him of Chris Pronger when he saw him in training camp a few years back.
Since then, Gelinas has enjoyed a couple solid seasons in the AHL before getting his big break when the then 1-5-3 Devils summoned him. The 6-foot-4 defenseman has contributed eight points and 24 hits to help New Jersey bounce back with an 8-4-2 stretch.
Those are pretty good numbers for a rookie defenseman, but if anything, Robinson thinks that he can do better.
“I think he probably just lacks some confidence. The more he plays the more confidence he’s going to get,” Robinson told the Star-Ledger. “He could always pass and shoot the puck. He’s got a rocket. That’s kind of the way it is when you’re a rookie. You don’t always use all your tools.”
For his part, Gelinas is flattered by the praise, but emphasized that he still has a lot to learn. He also noted that Pronger “was a little more mean” than he is, although he’s interested in being more physical.
He’s been paired up with another promising young defenseman, Adam Larsson, but unlike Gelinas, Larsson has struggled significantly since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Still, the Devils hope that those two blueliners end up being major parts of their organization for years to come.