ALBANY, NY – Nick Lappin will have to get used to wearing a red jersey moving forward. The 23-year-old just finished his senior season at Brown University and signed a two-way, entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils Tuesday. Since his professional contract doesn’t start until next season, he signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Albany Devils.
Thursday was his first practice.
“It’s a little different — different jersey,” Lappin said. “You are at a school for four years, so that’s a different feeling. It’s really fast paced, which is a little different. Everyone was really friendly and helped me out if I had any questions. I really appreciate that.”
The Devils are hoping Lappin can fill a void at the right wing position. Mike Sislo, the team’s leading scorer, is on a recall with New Jersey and Paul Thompson, who had 33 goals a season ago, is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
“He’s played with Matt Lorito,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky, “They actually played on a line a little bit. All our people from Tom Fitzgerald down have spoken highly of this kid. With Thompson out indefinitely, not sure how long Sislo is going to be gone, he’s a right winger who we feel should be able to step right in to our top six and onto our power play.
“The organization made a commitment to him, which tells you what we think of him at this point. We’ve just got to get him acclimated to everything and get him into the lineup.”
Kowalsky indicated that Lappin could make his debut as early as Friday at Binghamton.
As an undrafted player, Lappin was a free agent after his fourth season at Brown. According to Kowalsky, he was highly sought after. In the end, it was the Devils organization that was most attractive.
“Just probably the organization: the upper level, the lower level, everyone involved and the history,” Lappin said when asked why he chose the Devils. “It just felt like the perfect fit. I’m just really excited to be here and try and contribute as much as I can.”
A call to Lorito probably didn’t hurt either.
“I gave Matty a call Monday night and talked to him a little bit about the organization and he had nothing but great things to say,” Lappin said. “After talking to him I knew right away that I wanted to be part of the Devils’ organization.”
During his time at the Ivy League school, he produced 106 points with 51 goals and 55 assists in 123 games. This past season, he led the Bears with 33 points, including 17 tallies and 16 helpers. He was named to the All-Ivy League First Team at the conclusion of the season.
Now as the Devils being their final push into the Calder Cup Playoffs, what can fans expect from Lappin, whose father, Peter, played in the NHL for the North Stars and Sharks?
Lappin: “I like to think I’m a solid two-way tight winger. I’m reliable in the defensive zone and hopefully playing smart and that leads to offense. I think I’m pretty good at creating possession for the players around me in the offensives and help create chances offensively.”
Come this weekend be on the lookout for number 25 in that red jersey.