Devils send 15 down including Blandisi

The Devils trimmed their roster down to 27. Earlier today, they sent down 15 players to Albany. They included forwards Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Letourneau Leblond, Matt Lorito, Jim O’Brien, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo and Paul Thompson. Joining them are defensemen Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Vojtech Mozik, Reese Scarlett along with goaltenders Ken Appleby and Scott Wedgewood.

Forward prospect John Quenneville was reassigned to his junior team the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. The 19-year old 2014 first round pick posted 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 57 games. He tallied 10 goals and nine assists in the postseason.

Following a solid preseason that saw him score a goal and set up another over the weekend, Blandisi will start the season in Albany. A former Colorado 2012 sixth round pick, the Devils signed him as a rookie free agent. As an overage player, he exploded for 52 goals and 60 helpers totaling 112 points for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. The 21-year old Blandisi had six goals and eight assists in the postseason.

Twenty-seven players remain in training camp for New Jersey. Here’s the breakdown:

G Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid

D Eric Gelinas, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Andy Greene, Seth Helgeson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, John Moore, David Schlemko, Damon Severson

F Reid Boucher, Mike Cammalleri, Patrik Elias, Stephen Gionta, Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefson, Sergey Kalinin, Tyler Kennedy, Stefan Matteau, Kyle Palmieri, Tuomu Ruutu, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty, Jordin Tootoo, Pavel Zacha, Travis Zajac

Kennedy and Stempniak are bidding to earn spots on pro tryouts. First-year coach John Hynes has some tough decisions. The Devils are set at goalie and their top six D is Greene, Larsson, Severson, Merrill, Gelinas and Moore. Hynes will choose from Helgeson, Gragnani and Schlemko for the seventh defenseman.

The Devils up front are Cammalleri, Elias, Gionta, Henrique, Josefson, Palmieri, Ruutu, Tlusty, Tootoo, Zajac. Boucher looks to have played himself on and Matteau probably should make the cut too. That leaves Kennedy, Stempniak, Kalinin and 18-year old rookie Zacha to choose from. The Devils probably will opt to see what Zacha can do before making a decision on his future.

Elias hasn’t participated in games yet due to a injury. His status is uncertain. Meanwhile, Star Ledger writer Rich Chere wondered if the Devils will trade Zajac to the Maple Leafs. There have been rumors due to former GM Lou Lamoriello now running the Leafs. If it happens, the most logical candidate would be Tyler Bozak. For now, it’s just speculation.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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