McKelvie

Chris McKelvie | 2013-14 Season

In his fifth professional season and second with the Devils, Chris McKelvie appeared in 57 games, posting a career-high nine goals, 12 assists and 21 points. Additionally, he was a +6 with 86 penalty minutes and tallied a three game-winning goals and a shorthanded tally.

The 29-year-old, who served as an assistant captain, posted three multi-point games, producing two points Dec. 4 vs. Springfield, Dec. 13 against Bridgeport and Jan. 17 at Utica.

What Was Said by McKelvie…

I think regardless of who was wearing a letter and who wasn’t it was just a good group of leadership all around. The young guys did a really good job responding and following and we stuck together as a team all year long. We kind of went through some ups and downs throughout the year and we always found a way to kind of keep going. - Chris McKelvie (May 5, 2014)

What Was Said About McKelvie…

Some of those guys are in their third, fourth years. They are now guys we are going to look to and put that responsibility on. That was a decision in Sislo and McKelvie. Both are great pro as far as on and off the ice. - Rick Kowalsky (October 9, 2013)

Statistics

2013-14 Regular Season

GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW S
57 9 12 21 6 86 0 1 3 96

Season Highs

Goals Assists Points
1 9x, last 4/13 vs. SYR 2 1/17 at UTI 2 3x, last 1/17 at UTI
Bens2

Devils Sign Prospects Johnson, Thomson

Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils Friday signed two of their prospects – forwards Ben Johnson and Ben Thomson – to entry-level contracts. The announcement was made by Devils’ President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. As per club policy, no further terms were disclosed.

Johnson, who turns 20 next month, finished tied for third on Windsor (OHL) this past season with 53 points, including 28 goals and 25 assists, in 59 games played. The 6-0, 190-lb. forward led the Spitfires with four goals/six points during the 2014 OHL playoffs, then joined Albany (AHL) upon completion of his junior season. Johnson’s three-season junior totals showed 66 goals and 62 assists for 128 points in 191 games.

Born June 7, 1994 in Hancock, MI, he spent part of the 2010-11 season with the United States Development Program and Fargo in the USHL. Johnson was New Jersey’s third choice, and 90th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Thomson, 21, split the 2013-14 OHL season between Kitchener (12 games) and North Bay (43). The 6-3, 215-lb. forward totaled 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 points and 90 penalty minutes in the regular-season and added five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 22 playoff appearances en-route to the OHL Finals. Born January 16, 1993 in Brampton, Ont., his five season OHL totals showed 65 goals and 84 assists for 149 points and 483 penalty minutes in 303 games. Thomson was New Jersey’s fourth choice, and 96th overall selection in the 2012 draft.

Celebration

The Right Path

ALBANY, NY — Walk out of the Albany Devils locker room, make a left and a quick right. The 40-foot path leads to the Times Union Center ice. The walk has been made countless times during the 2013-14 season whether it was for games or practices.

For the next five months, the carpet leading the way won’t have to bare the load of 25-plus hockey players. The stalls have been packed, the ice has been removed and the offseason has begun for the Devils.

After splitting Games 1 and 2 on home ice in front 14,598 fans during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Albany lost Games 3 and 4 at St. John’s to close out the season. The team made its first postseason appearance since 2010.

“After we settle down for a couple of days there’s going to be a lot of positives,” said General Manager Chris Lamoriello. “Certainly the type of year that we had, getting a team in the playoffs, playing Games 1 and 2 here and certainly playing in front of the crowd that we played in front of both nights, seeing the excitement and feeling the excitement that they had, definitely there will be a lot of positives for us to be able to look back on.”

Chris Lamoriello

DEVILS TV: Watch Chris Lamoriello’s season-ending interview

The Devils entered the postseason as the fifth seed and matched up with the fourth-seeded IceCaps. Currently, the Calder Cup Playoffs are in the second round and the top three teams in the Eastern Conference have been eliminated. If the Devils had downed the IceCaps, they would have had home ice advantage for at least the next two rounds.

“We thought we had a team that could have done some damage,” said assistant captain Tim Sestito. “It will sting for a bit, but this summer when we look back, I think, everybody should be pretty proud of what we accomplished.”

The playoff race down the stretch of the regular season was tight to say the least. In 2012-13, the Hershey Bears earned the eighth spot with 81 points. In 2013-14, they missed out in ninth place with 88 points.

Albany ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak and finished with a franchise-best 40 wins and 93 points. It was a change of pace for the Devils, who stumbled in March and April during the previous two seasons to miss out on the league’s tournament.

“The last couple of years have been tough,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We’ve been in spots where we’ve been close, but we’ve always been chasing from behind. I think the difference this year is we could give ourselves a little cushion. With that being said, we still had to pretty much win-out to get in, but we did it and we did it with a lot of pressure from behind us.”

This year’s team excelled in both the offensive and defensive zones and the results fluctuated between high-scoring wins (8-6 vs. Bridgeport on Nov. 30) and low-scoring affairs (2-0 vs. Hershey on Mar. 15).

The Devils built confidence early, winning five of their first seven contests and posting a six-game winning streak between Nov. 20 and Dec. 14.

“We got off to a great start,” Sestito said. “There was a belief that we could and should do well and I think that snowballed throughout the year. Confidence was pretty high for everybody throughout the season and that’s a big part of why we made the playoffs.”

Management, coaching staff and the team’s leaders were tasked very early on in getting the most out of one of the youngest clubs in the league. Of the 35 players to wear an Albany sweater this season, 15 were either in their first or second AHL seasons.

DEVILS TV: Watch Rick Kowalsky's media scrum

DEVILS TV: Watch Rick Kowalsky’s media scrum

Kelly Zajac finished second on the team with 44 points and Reid Boucher finished tied for second with 22 goals. Blueliner Seth Helgeson played in 75 games and was a +12, while his defensive partner Corbin McPherson was a team-leading +16.

“There were a lot of positives this year,” Kowalsky said. “We were concerned at the beginning about youth and we put that to rest real quick. We relied on some young guys to do some big things for us and they did. They were a group that got along and it translated onto the ice.”

According to Sestito, the players in the room now know what it takes to not only make the playoffs, but do well once the postseason begins.

In the end, all but one team exits the current season without disappointment. But the feeling on Monday when the team held its exit interviews was one of optimism and eagerness.

“I was talking to the coach and we can’t really believe the season is over,” said captain Rod Pelley. “It doesn’t feel like it. In past years, this time of the year, you’re pretty drained. I’m ready for camp to start. It doesn’t feel like we’ve ended. I feel pretty fresh and I think that’s a positive thing.”

“We’ve raised the bar,” said assistant captain Chris McKelvie. “The expectation in the locker room is to keep pushing forward and keep building off of this year. The attitude is going to just keep improving and the tightness of the team will keep improving, which will obviously help on the ice.”

The NHL Draft and free agency will certainly change the personnel within the locker room. Regardless the Devils 40-foot walk to the ice won’t change and the grueling-fun of trying to return to the playoffs awaits the team in October.

Dan-Kelly_770x400

Dan Kelly | 2013-14 Season

In his fourth professional season, Dan Kelly served parts of the season as an assistant captain. He logged a career-high 71 games played and hit career marks with three goals, 14 assists and 17 points. Additionally, he tied for second on the team with a +13 rating.

In 233 career AHL games, the 25-year-old has posted nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points. Kelly is the franchises all-time leader with a +36 rating.

Off the ice, Kelly was named the Devils team winner of the “IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Albany community during the 2013-14 season.”

What Was Said by Kelly…

I’ve been playing in Albany for four years now and every year we’ve gotten better and every year we’ve taken a step. So to make playoffs this year was a big growth process for everyone — to get that experience. Hopefully next year we can go a little further and maybe win the whole thing.
- Dan Kelly (May 5, 2014)

What Was Said About Kelly…

He’s a competitor and always has been. He’s slowly improved and developed every year. He’s a meat-and-potatoes-type guy. Those points are just a bonus, but I think his energy, his effort, his grit and what he brings to the rink not only in games, but in practice is something that’s contagious. He’s a leader in that room.
- Rick Kowalsky (November 13, 2013)

Statistics

2013-14 Regular Season

GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW S
71 3 14 17 13 86 0 0 0 65

Season Highs

Goals Assists Points
1 3x, last 4/16 at POR 2 3x, last 1/18 vs. ADK 2 4x, last 1/18 vs. ADK
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Mike-Sislo

Mike Sislo | 2013-14 Season

Assistant captain Mike Sislo had a breakout season in his third full professional year with the Devils. His name could be found at the top of the score sheets through 59 games with Albany, giving him a chance at his first call-up by New Jersey. He posted two career highs, leading Albany with 23 goals and finishing third with 41 points. Because of his speed and versatility, Sislo was relied on heavily on the power play and penalty kill. He finished tied for first with seven power-play goals and led the team with three shorthanded tallies. The 26-year-old made his NHL debut on Jan. 3 against Chicago and played a total of 14 games during three stints in Newark this season.

What Was Said by Sislo…

I felt the coaches gave me the opportunity to have success here and I thought that went pretty well. Getting the opportunity to play up in New Jersey: it’s obviously everyone’s dream and goal to make it to the NHL so that was a real positive.
- Mike Sislo (May 5, 2014)

What Was Said About Sislo…

I think it’s just confidence. He’s been in the league for a few years now and obviously he’s played well enough to get a call-up and he played great there. Ever since he’s been down, he’s been going just as hard. He has all the tools of an NHL player and it’s only a matter of time before he’s there full-time.
- Tim Sestito (March 13, 2014)

Statistics

2013-14 Regular Season

GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW S
59 23 18 41 7 26 7 2 3 140

Season Highs

Goals Assists Points
3 11/8 at WBS 2 2x, last 12/13 vs. BRI 4 2x, last 11/30 vs. BRI
Sestito

Tim Sestito | 2013-14 Season

Tim Sestito has found himself competing at the AHL and NHL levels. In 2013-14, the Devils center logged 51 AHL games, producing 13 goals and 14 assists, and he played 16 NHL games, registering three helpers. Sestito, who served as one of Albany’s assistant captains, had an evolving role. At times he played on the team’s top line and other nights he was on the checking line. He was relied on to kill penalties and score goals. He registered a season-high four points on Nov. 30 at Bridgeport and enjoyed a four-game point streak between Nov. 16-23.

What Was Said by Sestito…

It was a fun year. We had a great group of guys. We got along really well on and off the ice. It was exciting to make the playoffs, its been a while. I think I might have been the last holdover since the last time. Disappointing. I think we thought we had a team that could have done some damage. It will sting for a bit, but this summer when we look back I think everybody should be pretty proud of what we accomplished.
- Tim Sestito (May 5, 2014)

What Was Said About Sestito…

I just think that the fact that he’s played right wing, he’s played left wing and he’s played center. The more guys you can have like that, the better off you are going to be. They can maybe get you some wins when you go through those thin times like we have. - Rick Kowalsky (January 22, 2014)

Statistics

2013-14 Regular Season

GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW S
51 13 14 27 -1 79 2 1 2 78

Season Highs

Goals Assists Points
2 10/14 vs. ADK 3 11/30 vs. BRI 4 11/30 vs. BRI
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Pelley

Rod Pelley | 2013-14 Season

This time last season, Rod Pelley wasn’t even a member of the Devils organization. He had just completed a full season playing for the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. New Jersey signed the center as a free agent on July 8. Prior to last year, Pelley was a Devil between 2006-11, appearing at both the AHL and NHL levels. Upon his return, he was named Albany’s captain on Oct. 6. He finished third on the team with 74 games played and posted 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points. The 29-year-old played his 500th professional game on Jan. 4 at Adirondack.

What Was Said by Pelley…

First off, as captain, I’m very proud of the group of guys in the room. The way they handled themselves on and off the ice, the way they responded, the character they brought to the rink every day. I think as a leader and as a captain, it made my job so easy. - Rod Pelley

What Was Said About Pelley…

You win, you have fun. It starts with Rod Pelley and [Tim] Sestito, the leadership group. This team just had a, I don’t want to say unique chemistry, but one you don’t see a lot. They just got along, and they did a lot of stuff away from the rink, and I think it translated onto the ice. I talked to Rod, this is probably the least amount of time I’ve sat down with my captains because they just had control of that room. When guys needed to be held accountable, they were there, and when they needed a pat on the back, they were there. They indentified when what I said was enough, was enough. - Rick Kowalsky

Can’t say enough about Rod Pelley as our captain. I thought he was the heart and soul of this team and I think a lot of guys followed him. - Tim Sestito

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2013-14 Statistics

GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW S
74 13 7 20 5 55 0 2 3 133

Season Highs

Goals Assists Points
1 13x, last 4/6 at ADK 1 7x, last 3/19 vs. BNG 2 2x, last 1/19 at HER
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