My first year wasn’t like that. Coach Lemaire liked me. After that it’s been so-so.
New Jersey Devils 24th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Mattias Tedenby, has decided to leave the team and hop the puddle to the KHL’s Czech based HC Lev Praha.
The undersized forward, listed at 5-foot-9 174 lbs, was drafted for his speed and quick hands. However, he was never a huge impact for the big club. In 120 NHL games, Teddy scored 10 goals and had 30 points for an average of .25 ppg. The problem is, 22 of those points (73%) came in his rookie season back in the 2010-11 season when he played 58 games. What is even more alarming is since then, Tedenby went minus-23 while only notching eight points in 62 games. So what happened?
It is simple, a coaching and style change happened. Once Tedenby signed his new contract with Lev Praha, he had some comments on his time with the Devils
“I didn’t get ice time that you can do much with. But still, it went alright. I wish we’d played a style of hockey that’s a bit more fun. We’re playing pretty defensive hockey, but it is what it is.” says Tedenby.
The latter part of his comment is what makes me believe Tedenby was not a draft bust, but more of a misfit for the Devils. There is no doubt he is a skilled player. We have seen him make some great plays in his time with the Devils. One particular play stands out to me. On Nov 10, 2013, Tedenby scored the Devils’ fifth goal in the final minute of a 5-1 rout of the Nashville Predators. Here it is:
Clearly Tedenby has the skill, quickness, hands, and finesse to be a solid contributer on an NHL team. But he cannot do it with the Devils and their defense-first mindset. He especially cannot do it without proper playing time and an opportunity.
On average, Tedenby played about 10-minutes in each NHL game. With only 10-minutes, he was not given the amount of ice time and quality line mates to get quality chances with. His next comments may reveal the reason why.
“My first year wasn’t like that. Coach Lemaire liked me. After that it’s been so-so.” He said.
With that said, I would not go as far as saying Tedenby was a first round draft bust, but more so a misused asset. Put him on a more offensive style team like Pittsburgh, Toronto, or Chicago and Tedenby would produce like magic. In his rookie season he posted a 37.9% ppg, which is pretty good for being on a defensive-minded team. Imagine what he could have done if he was drafted by another team.
It is a shame his career had to go the way it did, but we wish Teddy luck in his future endeavors in the KHL and hope he makes an attempt at an NHL comeback.