At one point, Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson were the Devils two best offensive prospects and were expected to plug one of many holes left by various players such as Scott Gomez, John Madden, Brian Gionta and one Zach Parise. Now both players find themselves struggling to succeed at the most prestigious level in Hockey. Mattias Tedenby was selected by the Devils in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, which was held in Ottawa with the 24th overall selection. The Devils orginally held the 21st overall selection in Round 1 of that respective draft, but opted to trade down to accumulate more picks in later rounds. They ended up trading the 21st overall selection to Washington for their 23rd overall selection and their later round pick. When time came for the Devils to select at number 23, they again opted to trade down and did so with the Minnesota Wild for their 1st round pick at number 24 and a later round pick. And finally, they made the Tedenby selection.
Tedenby played for HV71 Hockey Club in the Swedish Elite League in the city of Jonkoping, Sweden. In 99 career SEL games he compiled 18 goals and 11 assists. Also, he compiled 8 goals and 6 assists in 39 career SEL playoff games for HV71. Now, I know these numbers might be low, but the Swedish Elite League is a very tough league to get high numbers in. Tedenby began his North American Career with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League, which is the Devils top minor league affiliate. In 78 games with the Albany Devils, which included 3 different stints down there, he has 18 goals and 24 assists, so its like a good NHL season for him. He made his New Jersey Devils debut in November of 2010 and through 105 career NHL games he has 9 goals and 20 assists and is a minus 9. This season he has no goals and 1 assist before being demoted to Albany and is currently recovering from a deep facial cut.
The expectation this year for Mattias Tedenby was to not completely fill the void left by Zach Parise, but play up to part of the expectation. Though, he is 5-10, he does have a physical edge and has the tools and skills necessary to play in the NHL. However, the problem with Tedenby is his decision making and his play in the defensive zone. Sometimes, he gets lost in a play, which can be very simple. Coach Peter DeBoer gave Tedenby a chance on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac, but he did not succeed. Now comes the question, Is the Tedenby experiment over for the Devils and does the trade down at the Draft in 2008 diminish his expectations? I think he will get one more shot, but he will be on a very short leash and the Draft day trade down has nothing to do with his expectations, but a round 1 pick usually has huge goals.
Now, the attention turns to Jacob Josefson, the Devils first round selection in the 2009 Draft in Montreal with the 20th overall pick. Josefson was selected at number 20 overall and the Devils opted to trade up to get him. He is known as a two-way-player with good defensive skills and good ice vision. But, with Josefson the reason for his struggles are more attributed to 3 different long-term stints on Injured Reserve (IR). Before Albany, he played in Djurgarden IF in the SEL (Swedish Elite League) in Stockholm, Sweden, where in 94 games, he had 23 goals and assists and in 14 playoff games, 3 goals and 2 assists in the SEL. Josefson made his NHL debut in October 2010 against the Colorado Avalanche, a game I attended. He has tremendous upside and definitely has the smarts to be an NHL caliber player. But, early in his NHL career he suffered a torn tendon in his thumb and missed 2 months. Once, he was ready to return, the Devils assigned him to Albany, where he began his North American career in 2010. Anyhow, in Albany, also in 3 different stints he has 14 goals and 23 assists in 53 career AHL games.
In 2011, Josefson was considered a fixture on the Devils 3rd line and was going to be a premiere penalty killer. In fact prior to his 2nd injury, it looked as if he was finally ready to break out in his young NHL career. However, in a game against the Sharks in 2011, he broke his clavicle and missed 2-3 months and never found his rhythm until towards the end of the season. But, yet again once he seemed to get things going, he got hurt in a game against the Islanders, which I attended in April 2012, where he broke his hand and missed the rest of the regular season and half of the playoffs. His NHL career is compiled by 5 goals and 15 assists in 84 games. He is also a +7 and had 1 assist this season before his trip back to Albany. Josefson had a few good games early on this season, but like Tedenby, he was given a chance with Kovlachuk and Zajac and failed. I think Josefson will return stronger and determined in the NHL now that he has Andrei Loktionov to light a fire under him. He definitely has more potential than Tedenby, who I think the Devils will try and move to get some value in return.