Well, in nine days the Devils will start training camp and there will be a few no shows. As usual the holdouts that take place in New Jersey is no surprise, but what is a surprise is that NJ’s top pick this past draft Ari Ahonen will bypass his opportunity to make an impression on the Devils top brass.
Ari Ahonen, chosen 27th overall, will skip this camp and work on becoming the No. 1 goalie in the first-division Finnish Elite League. Although the 6-2, 172-pound Ahonen is highly regarded, he is only 18.
“He won’t be here,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “He’s going to be a No. 1 goalie at 18. It’s good, but you like to see your young kids brought along slowly.” Ahonen played for Jyvasklya in the Finnish Junior League last season. Lou feels Ari will be a starting goalie in the NHL in the future. With the progress of JF Damphousse developing a lot slower then the Devils hoped, it only made sense to go out and draft another netminder. A lot of heads turned when Lou Lamoriello choose Ahonen, but NJ who has one of the best scouting system in the league was sold on him from the beginning. It’s rumored that when NJ was scouting slick skating defensman Brian Rafalski they found Ahonen also. “I always take into account what Dave says” (Devils head scout David Conte) “And he came to me and told me that Ahonen was very talented and polished even at 17, we could not take a chance on passing him up.” said Lamoriello