D Anssi Salmela signs with New Jersey

The New Jersey Devils made news last Friday by signing undrafted free agent defenseman Anssi Salmela to a one year entry-level contract. The 23-year old blueliner most recently played for Team Finland in the 2008 IIHF World Championships, where he logged 15.23 minutes per game and finished with a +3 rating. Salmela also made a splash by fighting current St. Louis Blues forward David Backes at the end of Finland’s May 11th game against the US. Salmela drew interest from several NHL clubs after a strong 2007-08 season in which he led all SM-Liiga defensemen in goals (16) and played for the National Team. Anssi, known for having an edge to his game, should figure to compete in 2008-09 for one of the top six spots in New Jersey’s lineup.