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No average Joe

Josefson's hockey smarts continue to impress Lemaire

Tuesday, 03.8.2011 / 3:44 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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No average Joe
Jacob Josefson                                    GETTY IMAGES
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Jacob Josefson never did get the puck from his first NHL point. But if the early feedback is any indication, the Devils’ rookie will have plenty more milestone pucks to gather down the road.

Josefson assisted on Ilya Kovalchuk’s goal in Sunday’s shootout win on Long Island. He carried the puck out of his own zone before dishing to Kovalchuk inside the Islanders blueline. It was the kind of play that reflects not only his offensive abilities, but also his keen hockey smarts.

“This kid has it, there’s no doubt,” Jacques Lemaire said of the Devils' 2009 first-round pick. “He just turned 20 a couple of days ago. He’s a good player right now. If you look at his stats, his stats are not that great, but as a hockey player, you want him on your team.”

So far, there’s a lot to like about Josefon’s game.

“I think how he understands the game, where he goes on the ice,” Lemaire said. “When he plays when he doesn’t have the puck, what is he going to do; when he has the puck, what he’s doing with the puck. He’s quick, he’s strong, he’s got good hands, sees the ice well. So he’s got a lot of qualities. As soon as he gets that scoring quality, he’ll be a player.”

Josefson appeared in just six October games before suffering a left hand injury that required surgery. After a stint in Albany, he finally returned to the New Jersey lineup on Feb. 19.

Josefson’s time in Albany was an important part of his rehab. He centered a line with Matt Anderson and Adam Henrique while putting up three goals, nine assists in 11 games.

“I think it helped me a lot,” Josefson said. “After the injury I had to play a lot of games because before the injury, I played [six] games. The most important thing for me back then was to play hockey and that’s what I did in Albany. I got my confidence back so I could handle the puck and make some passes.”

The Feb. 28 trade of Jason Arnott to Washington opened up an opportunity at center for Josefson, who has blossomed under Lemaire’s tutelage.

“Since I came back here to New Jersey, I’ve learned some stuff from Jacques, especially in the defensive game in our own zone,” Josefson said. “I think the way we’re playing back there makes it very easy for the centerman to always have an option when you get the puck. That’s good.”

He finally collected the assist in his 11th game, but never got impatient for that first point.

“As soon as the team was winning, I didn’t really care,” he said. “But you always want to put up some points and I was kind of relieved that the first one went in there. It was fun.”

The Stockholm native has been a quick study and continues to adjust to the North American game. He has already made measurable gains.

“When you don’t think, that’s where you want to be,” said Josefson. “When you’re in your zone, you just play. In the first games here, I thought a lot where I had to be on the ice, but I think that I really feel more comfortable now and know how the team should play and where I should play.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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