Dec 13, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils center Jacob Josefson (16) carries the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) defends during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Can Jacob Josefson Live Up to the Contract?

As Jacob Josefson moved into Restricted Free Agency, many wondered what his actual contract would look like. Jacob ultimately received a 2-year, 1-way, $800,000 contract.

Is it worth going through all of this trouble for Josefson?

In what seems to be a series of articles, my latest one polled the readers on what the Devils should do with Josefson: Sign him and look for a trade, sign him and play him, or let him walk. There was a tie for first with 21 votes. It was the first and last option. 20 people voted for signing and playing him.

Personally, I would like to see Jacob play because in his limited time on the ice last season, he played fairly well. He played like a guy who gets rotated into the lineup once in a blue moon. That’s fitting considering that was his role.

Jacob received a $75,000 raise per season, but that’s not what we are really concerned about. It’s the fact that his contract is 2 years. The Devils would have received RFA rights for Josefson for a 1-year deal, so why did they add the extra year? (Just an aside, Josefson’s deal still makes him an RFA at the end of the contract.)

I think this is Lou’s vote of confidence for Jacob and we may just see more of him in the lineup this season. To be honest, this money is a waste if Josefson plays the same amount of games he did last season (which was 27). He isn’t a forward that can jump back and forth to Albany like Mike Sislo and Tim Sestito. Unless the Devils want to put him on waivers, Josefson will be in the NHL for the entire season.

Josefson is now the team’s 13th forward on the roster and would probably move farther back in the depth chart if Ryan Carter re-signs with New Jersey. If the Devils do not move a forward, there isn’t really a place for Jacob Josefson on this roster.

So once again, I ask: Why 2 years?

I would like to think the answer is that Lou and Pete finally want to give him a shot, whether it be this year or next. The Devils have 5 forwards becoming UFA’s next off-season (Michael Ryder, Jaromir Jagr, Damien Brunner, Martin Havlat, Steve Bernier). If they lock Jacob up now, he could be important to next season’s campaign as well.

Based on last season’s performances, those 5 are probably:

Safe

Brunner

Questionable

Havlat (need stats in NJ)
Bernier (even this off-season was questionable)
Jagr (retirement)

Out

Ryder (let’s be honest)

Even though these projections could get turned on its head by next summer, that’s still 4 of the 5 questionable to return. The possibility of needing him for 2015-16 is definitely there.

Can Jacob Josefson be “The Answer”? No, I don’t think so. I do think that he can develop into a 3rd-4th line forward at the very least but we will never know for sure until he plays consistently. Hopefully this new contract will lead to more Josefson on the roster in the near future.

Tags: Jacob Josefson New Jersey Devils NJ Devils Off-Season

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