The New Jersey Devils made a few minor depth deals last week adding tough guys Cam Janssen and Eric Boulton. When Jersey dumped former enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond on the Calgary Flames for a 2012 fifth-round pick a roster spot opened up for another tough guy to fill. But the acquisitions of both Janssen and Boulton gives the Devils twice the goon power for the price of one.
Janssen, a St. Louis native, returns to the Devils after spending the last four season with his hometown Blues. The Devils shipped Janssen, their former 4th round pick to the Blues for D Bryce Salvador back in 2006. Janssen is the complete opposite of a skilled player but he is a character player and was a good teammate.
Janssen is another one of GM Lou Lamoriello’s retread players. It’s almost like you can take the player out of New Jersey but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the player. From Brian Rolston to Bobby Holik they all seem to make it back to the Devils.
While in the NHL Janssen has spent most of his time busting heads first and asking questions later. During his first stint with the Devils his style and grit made him an instant fan favorite and I don’t expect anything less from this time around. In his 260 NHL games Janssen has racked up 675 penalty minutes and just 10 points. (3g 7a)
Boulton has a slightly better offensive upside to his game than Janssen. In fact many Devils fans may remember the hat-trick he collected last season during a 7-1 pounding the Thrashers laid on New Jersey. The 3 goals were exactly half of his entire season output. He finished with just six goals, four assists and 87 PIM’s in 69 games. Spanning his NHL career of 549 games with both Atlanta and Buffalo, Boulton has amassed 27 goals, 46 assists and 1,150 penalty minutes. Yes you read that correctly…1,150 PIM’s.
Boulton told Devils’ beat writer Tom Gulliti that he is not worried about fitting in with the Devils because he already has friends on the team. He knows defenseman Henrik Tallinder from his times with the Sabres as well as Johan Hedberg and Ilya Kovalchuk from Atlanta.
The addition of both Janssen and Boulton essentially will end Adam Mair’s short stint in New Jersey. Mair was signed after Leblond was exiled for his actions in a game against the Washington Capitals. In the final five minutes of a 7-2 loss to the Capitals last October, Leblond slashed Marcus Johansson then instigated a fight. Because he instigated the fight in the final five minutes of the game he was automatically suspended one game. The following day he was placed on waivers and never played for the Devils again.
It hard to say what impact these moves will have on the team but it’s obvious Lamoriello wanted the team to get tougher. Now if he could just figure out who the coach is going to be and who will actually score some goals we could all rest easier at night.
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Devils Beef Up; Add Boulton and Janssen
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