Eric Gelinas played a few shifts on the left wing in last night’s 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is a defenseman with massive offensive upside coming from his heavy slapshot.
Gelinas, 22, was originally a forward before being converted to a defenseman at 15. He was a little timid out there, just playing it safe and not trying to make too many mistakes, but his shot, size and skating ability should help him out if he fully transitions to a forward.
Gelinas has a bright future in the NHL and with the Devils, but they now look to be unsure of which position he will be playing.
The Devils have a plethora of highly talented defensive prospects accompanying Gelinas in Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, and Alexander Urbom to just name a few. But they have few highly touted forward prospects with Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau.
So is it worth looking into transitioning him?
My personal belief is no, just because he has the potential to be a very solid two-way defenseman with his shot and size (6-foot-4, 210lbs) alone. It takes about 200-games in the NHL for a defenseman to be fully developed and at the top of his game.
He is young, so along with that will come mistakes. It is not worth changing his position and ruining his development and career just because of a few defensive mishaps that can easily be corrected with experience.
But there are some upsides to moving him to the wing.
As stated above, the Devils have very few talented forward prospects.
The Devils have fairly small forwards. Gelinas’ 6-foot-4 frame would give the Devils some size and physicality on the offensive side. He would be a similar player to Dainius Zubrus.
Lastly, since he has played defense for a long time, he would be a reliable penalty killer and two-way forward. As you may know, the Devils love forwards that play a two-way game.
What do you think? Should the Devils look into transitioning Gelinas to play on the wing? Or should they keep him playing defense?