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NEWS

No average Joe

Josefson's hockey smarts continue to impress Lemaire

Tuesday, 03.08.2011 / 3:44 PM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59