The Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils should open the 2000-01 season without a great number of new players on the roster. However, training camp should still be quite interesting for Devil watchers.
Goaltender Ari Ahonen, New Jersey’s first round pick in the 1999 draft, will be attending his first NHL camp. The 19 year old Finn has played well in his native country but the Devils are anxious to see how this will translate to the North American game.
Ahonen has no chance of being on the opening night roster. New Jersey would love for the young netminder to agree to play this season at Albany of the AHL which would likely accelerate his progress.
Six 2000 draft choices plan on being in training camp, none of whom are even being considered for spots at this time. Still, defensemen Phil Cole and Deryk Engelland along with forwards Michael Rupp, Max Birbraer, Mike Jefferson and Warren McCutcheon hope to make a lasting impression on Coach Larry Robinson.
Of that group expect 6-5, 230 lb. Rupp to get a long look. 5-9, 190 lb. Jefferson will get some attention if only due to the fact that he is likely to start some skirmishes based on his abrasive style.
Training camp opens on September 8th at South Mountain Arena in West Orange, New Jersey. The first exhibition game vs. Pittsburgh is scheduled for September 16th in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Mikael Tellqvist news: The player now widely considered to be the Maple Leafs’ “goaltender of the future”, Mikael Tellqvist, is under contract with Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League for the upcoming season … Tommy Soderstrom, the former Djurgarden starter, has retired and Mikael (the SEL Rookie of the Year in 1999 / 2000) expects to handle the bulk of the work there this year … Tellqvist was recently named to the Swedish National Team for the Ceske Pojistovna Tournament in the Czech Republic later this month and he should get the bulk of the playing time there as well … Tellqvist’s primary competition for the #1 job with the Swedish National Team, Johan Holmqvist, is not playing in the tournament as he has already left for the New York Rangers camp … Mikael feels strongly that he’d like to get at least a year of significant National Team experience before coming over to play in North America … at this time, he plans to re-evaluate his situation at the conclusion of this season … Mikael Tellqvist is an extremely important player in Toronto’s long range plans and we will be following his progress closely on behalf of all Leaf fans here at Hockey’s Future …