Before training camp opened in September, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello vowed "if we've got a young player that's better than a veteran, then it's our job to make room for him." Nearly five months later, young defensemen Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, who played pretty well for the Devils earlier this season, are stuck in the AHL with no indication that they'll be called back up when the team resumes play after the Olympics on Feb. 27. Larsson, the fourth pick overall in the 2011 draft, began this season as one of the Devils' top six on defense and was playing some of the best hockey of his young career before he injured his left knee Nov. 23 in San Jose. When he was healthy enough to play again, he was assigned to Albany on Jan. 9 to get back his game sharpness. More than four weeks have passed since then, but he's still in the minors. Gelinas, 22, struggled defensively at times before he was sent down on Jan. 31, but his offensive skill, particularly his powerful point shot, had given the Devils a big boost. When he was sent down, Gelinas ranked second in the NHL among rookie defensemen with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists). His biggest contribution came on the power play, on which he had four goals and nine assists. In 13 games without Gelinas prior to Friday's contest against Edmonton, the Devils' power play was just 5-for-43 (11.6 percent) and in the 44 games he did play, the power play was 28-for-125 (22.4). Lamoriello insists they are doing what's best for both and that "the best players have to play.'' At this point, however, Lamoriello does not consider Larsson and Gelinas to be among the Devils' best. He expects them to be in the future, though.
Minors best place for young Devils defensemen Eric Gelinas and Adam Larsson
North Jersey | Feb 9