Jan 23, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
New Jersey recalled forward Joe Whitney from AHL Albany on Thursday and, if GM Lou Lamoriello sticks to his word, Whitney could be in line for quite the NHL debut tomorrow.
“With everybody becoming healthy we’ve got to try to find a left wing for Travis [Zajac] and [Jaromir] Jagr,” Lamoriello said, per NorthJersey.com. “So we’re going to give Joe a chance.”
Whitney, 25, was an undrafted free agent out of Boston College that signed an AHL pact with Albany in 2011. A diminutive skater — he’s listed as 5-foot-6, 170 pounds — Whitney has been a productive scorer at the American League level and currently leads Albany in goals (16), assists (20) and points (36).
If Whitney’s story sounds familiar, it should. New Jersey already features another undersized, undrafted ex-BC forward that worked his way to the NHL — Stephen Gionta, who spent years in the AHL before making his big-league debut at age 27.
Lamoriello says Whitney has earned his chance with the Devils.
“He’s leading us in scoring in the minors, and he led us last year,” Lamoriello explained. “He deserves the opportunity.”
According to this morning’s line rushes, Whitney looks as though he’ll indeed skate with Jagr and Zajac. The Devils next play on Friday in New Jersey against the Washington Capitals.
(Headshot courtesy TheAHL.com)
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