Devils Reveal Roster for Prospects Challenge

I know I should have really combined all of these posts, but the news just keeps on coming here.

The Devils announced via a press release today their roster for the Prospects Challenge that will take place in Buffalo from September 6 to 9.

They will be participating in a round-robin style tournament at the HarborCenter in Buffalo against the Sabres, Bruins and Penguins.

The roster includes 15 forwards and nine defensemen and three goalies according to the press release.

The press release breaks this down as “three of the Devils last four first-round picks – 2019 NHL Draft #1 overall, Jack Hughes, 2018 #17 overall Ty Smith and 2016 #12 overall Michael McLeod.” Notably missing, obviously, is 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier – who is by now an established NHL player.

The presser says that five players on the Devils’ roster have NHL experience: Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, McLeod, Blake Speers and Colby Sissons.

Also included are “2017 second (Jesper Boqvist) and third (Fabian Zetterlund) round picks and 2016 second (Nathan Bastian) and third (Joey Anderson) round selections.

Overall, the roster looks like: Anderson, Bastian, Boqvist, Graeme Clarke, Brandon Gignac, Mitchell Hoelscher, Hughes, Ludvig Larson, Mikhail Maltsev, McLeod, Nikita Popugaev, Yegor Sharangovich, Speers, Marian Studenic and Zetterlund at forward. On defense is: Xavier Bernard, Nicholas Canade, Jeremy Groleau, Noah King, Nikita Okhotyuk, Sissons, Smith, Michael Vukojevic and Colton White. The three goaltenders are: Evan Cormier, Akira Schmid and Gilles Senn.

Once again, the tournament takes place September 6 to 9 and we will try to have something up for each game the Devils play.

Devils to Allow Fans to Vote for 2019-20 Goal Song

The Devils have decided to use a new goal song for the 2019-20 season and are letting us, the fans, have a say.

If you go to the team’s official Facebook page, there is a link to a form allowing you to nominate a song to be entered into the running to be the new season’s goal song.

Open nominations are from today to September 9. The fans will then vote for the top three songs on September 9 to 12 and then final fan voting for the new goal song will be held from September 13 to October 1. The new goal song will be revealed at the Devils’ home opener on October 4 against the Winnipeg Jets (assuming they don’t get shut out of course).

I am kind of torn on this one. While you have to guess the team is expecting fans to spam the email boxes with Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2,” the team’s longtime goal song dating back to the days in Denver. The Rockies, coincidentally, invented the use of the goal song with that tune – which is why it is so special to Devils fans. Bringing that song back would be a nice return to history for the team.

On the other hand, “Howl” by The Gaslight Anthem has been a great goal song over the last few seasons. It is by a local Jersey band and has grown on a lot of people since being introduced.

The last time the team did something like this – when the new ownership was trying to excise “Rock and Roll Part 2” – it was an unmitigated disaster. If I recall correctly, it ended up with Bon Jovi’s “This is Our House” being used briefly (Jon Bon Jovi being a Ranger fan and all, this certainly didn’t really sit well with many fans).

I could also go out on a limb and assume that this is also ownership trying to eliminate the “you suck!” chant to the tune of the goal song. This has been a thing the owners have been trying to accomplish since taking over. Unfortunately, the fans have been rebelliously working that into every song that they choose. We even were able to get it into the beginning of “Howl”!

Whether this is actually a search for a new song, a “mea culpa” by ownership resulting in “Rock and Roll Part 2” coming back or the new regime trying once again to stamp out “you suck!” chants remains to be seen.

But no matter what, it looks like we are destined to have another goal song this year.

Brian Gionta: US Hockey HOF, Class of 2019

According to Amanda Stein of the Devils’ official website, former Devil Brian Gionta will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame this December.

Gionta, who played for the Devils from 2001 to 2009, was drafted by the team in the third round (82nd overall) in 1998. He also played for the Montreal Canadiens (whom he captained), the Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins, where he signed in 2018 following his time representing Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics. He was the American captain at those 2018 Olympics. He played a total of 16 NHL seasons.

Gionta, a Rochester, New York native, had his finest season as a Devil in 2005-06 when he scored 48 goals and added 41 assists for 89 points. That goal mark is a Devils’ single season record (besting Pat Verbeek’s 46 goals in 1987-88). That high-water mark also was his best season in the NHL overall.

According to Stein’s article on NewJerseyDevils.com, Gionta ranks 43rd in scoring among American-born NHL players. He totaled 595 points (291 goals/304 assists) over 1,026 games.

Stein lists the other new members of the US Hockey Hall of Fame as former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, “two-time U.S. Olympian Krissy Wendel,” Neal Henderson, who was the “co-founder of the Ford Dupont Ice Hockey Club in Washington” and current NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

The five will be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Eveleth, Minnesota, site of the Hall of Fame and Museum in December.

Congrats to all of the inductees and, especially, to Brian Gionta.