Finnish import Anssi Salmela recorded his first goal of the pre-season last night in a 3-0 victory over the Islanders. Salmela scored with the Devils up 2-0 and a little less than six minutes remaining in the game. The Devils’ coaching staff has been impressed with the Nokia, Finland native, and have rewarded him with consistent ice time in his four games. Through four pre-season games, Salmela has averaged over 17 minutes per game while managing seven shots on goal. Salmela has exhibited versatility, showing the ability to be physical and also play point on the power play. After last night’s game, New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur praised Salmela, “He’s pretty slick out there. He’s not a huge guy (5-11, 195), but he’s pretty physical and sees the ice real well. He turns on a dime. It’s amazing. The quick move he made when he got the puck kind of threw the defenseman off. He’s got a decent shot. He just overpowered the goalie.”
With only two pre-season games remaining, Salmela appears to have the inside track on a roster spot. The Devils open the regular season on Friday, October 10 at home vs. the New York Islanders.