Newjerseydevils.com and The Score are reporting that the New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Anssi Salmela, 23, to a pro contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed after the announcement was made by Devils President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello. Salmela, who was not orginally drafted by an NHL club, scored 16 goals and 16 assists in 56 games for Tappara of the Finnish League during the 2007’08 season.
Writer’s Note: Even though I am a devoted Devils fan, I know about as much about this guy as someone who has access to High-Speed Internet and Hockeydb.com. One thing I do know however is that the Finnish League is one of the top professional leagues in Europe, possibly only 2nd to the Russian Super League and has been getting better and better since the lockout season of 2004’05. The fact that Salmela put up 32 points in 56 games this past season means that he has an offensive upside that has tickled some of New Jersey’s Pro Scouts. New Jersey struggled to get offense from their defensemen last season (Paul Martin led the team with 32 points) and the rumour is that Lamoriello won’t bring back disappointing UFA acquisition Karel Rachunek next season.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Ezra Ginsburg.