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Lemaire: JJ was dynamite

Coach impressed by Jacob Josefson's performance vs. Tampa Bay

Wednesday, 03.2.2011 / 11:07 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Lemaire: JJ was dynamite
The departure of Jason Arnott has opened a window of opportunity for Jacob Josefson.

It took one game for Jacques Lemaire to give the rookie a rave review.

With Arnott gone to Washington in the deadline day deal for David Steckel, Josefson will now see more time at center. He made the most of the chance in Wednesday's win over Tampa Bay, anchoring a juggled third line with Ilya Kovalchuk, Vladimir Zharkov and Mattias Tedenby on his wings.

The 20-year-old didn't end up on the scoresheet, but he impressed Lemaire. After trying Josefson on the wing following his return from hand surgery, Lemaire expects to keep him at center.

"This kid played really well, really well," Lemaire said. "He's young, he's learning. He played much better than at wing. He's a centerman, he's not a winger. They were telling me this, but because Arnott's gone, now I have the chance to put him at center. With Arnie, he had to go on the wing so he wasn't playing as well. Hopefully, he'll keep going."

The Devils' first-round pick in 2009 says he'll play wherever he's needed to keep the Devils on their roll. He was a plus-1 against the Lightning with 8:32 of ice time on 15 shifts, including 1:59 on the power play. He was 3-for-6 on faceoffs.

"I play where the coaches tell me to play and try to make the most of it," Josefson said. "I don't know if that benefits me that [Arnott] is gone, but the most important thing now is that the team wins. That's all my focus right now."