New Devils by the Numbers

The Devils today announced the numbers their new acquisitions will be wearing for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

Ryan Murray will be the 34th player in team history to wear the number 22. Patrik Elias actually wore that number when he debuted in 1997 before switching to his more familiar number 26, which has since been retired by the club. Jordin Tootoo wore the number notably in 2016 while Kyle Quincey was the last to do so in 2017.

Andreas Johnsson will become the 21st Devil to wear the number 11, the first since Brian Boyle did so in 2018-19.

Free agent signing, goaltender Corey Crawford will be the second Devils player in history to don the number 50 on his back. The other was Evan Cormier, also a goalie, who did so last season briefly.

Speaking of Crawford, there was a fantastic article on the Devils app today written by Amanda Stein that notated Crawford idolizing none other than Martin Brodeur while growing up.

Crawford, Stein said, grew up in Chateauguay, Quebec, which is “just a short drive from Saint-Leonard where Martin Brodeur was raised.”

Crawford went on to say on the Speak of the Devils Podcast that the team puts out that he “had posters of” Marty on his wall growing up. He said that he “started idolizing Marty, you know, he’s unbelievable, just how good he was with the different style of play. And, you know, he was fun to watch. And I had, I still have, that ‘Heaven’, VHS, I think back home, from when they won [in 1995].”

He is, of course, referring to the 1995 Stanley Cup video put out by the NHL for the Devils. On a personal note, I wore that sucker out from the sheer amount of viewings and even had a friend who would religiously watch it each and every day for about a year to keep the memory fresh in his mind.

But back to Crawford. When the Devils were courting him as a free agent, they had a secret weapon: Martin Brodeur.

Marty spoke on the phone with Crawford, recounted Stein, trying to convince him to sign.

Corey told Matt Loughlin and Stein on the Speak of the Devils Podcast: “That was a big surprise. Obviously, I’m from Montreal, Marty was a pretty big idol of mine growing up, you know, I watched him and [New Jersey] when they were winning Cups. So, to talk to him on the phone was pretty cool. It’s pretty special. And, you know, it definitely, definitely persuaded me to think about Jersey and what they can offer.”

And what Crawford can offer the Devils is being a part of a top goaltending tandem with Mackenzie Blackwood. He will also make a great mentor for the young Blackwood. Crawford was brought here to not only take some pressure off of Blackwood and be a good 1A/1B pair, but to also be a locker room leader. He has been there; he has won Cups with Chicago. He is a proven winner and can bring a lot to the Devils via his leadership.

Corey Crawford is here to help the Devils get back to those Broderian days, to get the Devils back to the top.

Devils Acquire Johnsson from Leafs

The Devils sent forward Joey Anderson to the Toronto Maple Leafs today in exchange for left winger Andreas Johnsson.

Johnsson has three years left on a contract with an average annual value of $3,400,000 according to the Devils Public Relations release on the subject.

Johnsson, a 5-feet, 10-inch, 195-pounder out of Gavle, Sweden, was the Leafs’ seventh-round choice (202nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft. The 25-year-old had eight goals, 13 assists (21 points) to go with 14 penalty minutes over 65 games with Toronto last season. The press release also notes that he played in one of the Maple Leafs’ 2020 qualifying round playoff games against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He has 125 total NHL games under his belt over parts of four seasons, and has scored 30 goals, 37 assists for a career total of 67 points and 46 PIM to go with a plus/minus of plus-12. The press release says that his best season came in 2018-19 when he set career highs in goals (20), assists (23) and points (43) over 73 games played.

Johnsson also won a Calder Cup in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies in 2018 – where he led all skaters in assists with 14 and points with 24. He was named the Calder Cup Playoff MVP that season as well.

He played in the Swedish Hockey League with Frolunda prior to coming to North America. With Frolunda, he won an SHL championship in 2016. He also totaled 104 points (57 goals, 47 assists) over 158 SHL games and was named the SHL Rookie of the Year in 2014.

For Sweden, he played internationally in the 2014 World Junior Championship, winning silver.

Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald had the following to say about Johnsson: “Andreas is a hard-working, competitive forward who can slot up and down the lineup. The overall versatility of his game will be a great compliment to our centermen, with his skating, quickness, and scoring touch.”