This is a series of posts on the Devils' pending free agents (restricted and unrestricted). We'll cover their strengths and weaknesses and end up with a final verdict on whether we think the Devils should re-sign the player. There will also be a poll at the end of each post so you guys can weigh in with your thoughts.
2013 statistics: 22 games/1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points/minus-10 rating, 2 PIMs
Free-agent status: Restricted
2012-13 salary/cap hit: $900,000 (NHL)/$900,000 (NHL) (via Cap Geek)
Team history: Drafted in first round (20th overall) in 2009
What he brings: Josefson is a sound defensive centerman. He's the kind of player you can toss out on the ice on your third or fourth line and generally assume he'll keep things in order and help lock down one of the opponent's top units. He's developed into a good penalty killer and spent a lot of time on the Devils' PK units before being sent down to Albany in February. Josefson has good enough size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) that he won't get tossed around and can generally hold his own. The Stockholm native also has some nice hands and some undercover playmaking ability that shows itself now and again to be a real weapon.
What he lacks: The phrase "now and again" is pretty apt when talking about Josefson's biggest weakness: his offensive game. When he was drafted, Josefson was a promising two-way playmaker that projected as a second-line center. Unfortunately for him and the Devils, that offensive ability never made the journey from Sweden. The Devils have consistently waited for the 22-year old to show enough of a limited offensive game to justify keeping him around. Yet, time after time Josefson either shoots wide, flubs a pass or makes a boneheaded decision with the puck on his stick. You can see the ability is there -- particularly in the last week of the regular season -- but for some reason he's been unable to harness it on a regular basis.
Should he stay or should he go: Josefson spent the beginning of the year playing the most minutes he's ever seen in the NHL, but by the time he was demoted to Albany it was pretty clear he had completely lost whatever confidence he had at the start of the year. I can't even count how many times he got short-handed scoring chances as a result of the Devils' PK strategies only to lose the puck on the way into the zone or throw a helpless puck right at the opposing netminder. The thing is, there were flashes of potential, particularly at the end of the season after he was recalled from Albany. Josefson had two points (and his only goal of the season) in a six-game stretch to close out the year and looked like he suddenly was playing with confidence again. He won't cost a lot and is worth, at the very least, a shot at a roster spot in training camp. ... FINAL VERDICT: He stays.