Apr 13, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; The New Jersey Devils salute their fans after their 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Is Joe Whitney Ready to Take an NHL Roster Spot?

Last season, Joe Whitney impressed many with the blistering pace he was on with the Albany Devils. In 73 games, Whitney put up 22 goals and 31 assists which is good enough for 53 points. In the four games Albany played in the playoffs, Whitney had 1 goal.

Joe Whitney did end up getting a chance to prove himself in the NHL and many were thrilled that the 26-year-old was finally getting his shot in the NHL. To many people’s dismay, Whitney played in 1 game and was sent immediately back down to Albany to continue developing there. Many feel that he was cheated of a real opportunity while others said it was painfully apparent that he was not ready for an NHL shot.

Joe Whitney is entering the final year of a 2-year, $1.135 million contract that will see him become an Unrestricted Free Agent in the Summer of 2015. This season Joe will make an AHL salary of $105,000 and an NHL salary of $550,000.

This season, there will be a lot of desire to get Joe on the ice in New Jersey. The only problem with that is that they are armed to the teeth in forwards as it is. There are 14 forwards under contract with a 15th in Ryan Carter possibly on the way. Will Joe Whitney even see consistent time in the NHL or will he get scratched in most of the games like Jacob Josefson?

That’s something that is completely up to GM Lou Lamoriello and Pete DeBoer. It’s clearly no secret that Lou knows the problem they face at forward right now and are most likely trying their hardest to move someone out. After all, it may be why Ryan Carter hasn’t signed yet.

Many feel that he was cheated of a real opportunity while others said it was painfully apparent that he was not ready for an NHL shot.

A similar situation to Joe’s was Reid Boucher‘s last season. Boucher was brought up, much to everyone’s delight, and immediately made an impact. He famously gave the Devils their only shootout goal until the very end of the season. He played in 23 games with the senior team and had 2 goals with 5 assists. He was producing a lot in the beginning, but started to falter as the season went on. The Devils decided to put him back at Albany for the time being.

With Joe Whitney, this year could prove to be something similar. It could merely be a test run for a new contract to see if he is in the team’s future plans. He could easily be a trade piece as well if they don’t see an immediate use for him.

Joe Whitney is facing a situation where he does (technically) have experience in the NHL, but now has to take the next step. He is now in a contract year and will need to prove his worth to both the New Jersey Devils and potentially the NHL as a whole.

Tags: Joe Whitney New Jersey Devils

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