Joseph Blandisi leaning on experience prior to Devils' training camp

August 24, 2016 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Joseph Blandisi is ready for a big camp after gaining valuable NHL experience last season.

POINT PLEASANT - Joseph Blandisi missed Devils Development Camp in July when ankle swelling wouldn't let him fit into his old skates and getting a proper pair in time wasn't possible.

But the small hiccup hasn't deterred Blandisi's summer preparation, and with training camp just around the corner, it's full steam ahead for the Devils forward.

Q&A: Bruce Driver on Devils' offseason

The skate issue was resolved quickly, and now the center is ready for a big camp after gaining valuable NHL ice time last season. 

"I think my experience last year is definitely going to help me this year. I know what to expect now and I think I've been preparing for that the whole summer," Blandisi said. "I'm excited for that, and looking forward to doing what I have to do to make the team and just go from there."

Blandisi played in 41 games for the Devils during his rookie season, contributing five goals and 17 total points.

After going through camp last season, plus the regular-season time with the Devils, he understands the rigors and the grind better than ever, and he plans to use that to his advantage in what he expects to be a competitive camp. 

"Physically, I know I'm ready, and I'm just going to get my stamina up for camp," Blandisi said. "I know it's going to be a long camp, a lot of hard work, too, so I don't want to get fatigued throughout it, and I think that's going to be my main focus over the next month."

After acquiring Taylor Hall and going through free agency, the Devils said they would look internally for options to round out the roster, opening plenty of chances for Blandisi and younger players. 

Blandisi understands that, like everyone else in the organization, and he knows that competitive drive will be a benefit.

"It's going to be a competitive camp, but I don't the coaching staff wants it any other way," Blandisi said. "There's going to be guys battling for spots, and that's going to create a good competition within the team. Once the team's picked, the bond's going to happen pretty quickly."

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

 



Ex-Devil Raman Hrabarenka earns camp invite with Toronto Maple Leafs

August 23, 2016 - The Star Ledger - View Full Article

Former New Jersey Devils Raman Hrabarenka signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a professional tryout. Watch video

Raman Hrabarenka will officially not be returning to the Devils when training camp opens after the defenseman signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a professional tryout.

Hrabarenka signed the deal on Monday, officially closing the offseason action on all of the Devils' restricted free agents. Hrabarenka did not receive a qualifying offer from the Devils in June and became an unrestricted free agent.

Q&A: Bruce Driver on Devils' offseason

While the Devils agreed to deals with Devante Smith-Pelly, Beau Bennett and Jon Merrill -- three other free agents that did not receive qualifying offers -- the team chose not to return Hrabarenka.

Hrabarenka played spent much of the past four seasons with Albany Devils, playing in 176 games in the AHL. He recorded 62 points and a -11 plus/minus. He appeared in one NHL game for the Devils in 2014-15.

Chris Ryan may be reached at cryan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.