Unless you’re a New Jersey Devils fan you might not know who Stefan Noesen is, and that’s okay. All the winger who was claimed off of waivers from the Anaheim Ducks last season (January 25, 2017) has done this season is net four game-winning goals for the Devils – with three of them occurring during the last 30 days. A first-round pick by Ottawa in the 2011 NHL Draft, Noesen (pronounced NAY-SON) has developed into a very valuable player with the Devils and an integral part of their success, who has added a physical presence with a bit of a scoring touch as well; he now has 25 points (12g-13a) over 66 games, all are career-highs.
Stefan Noesen recorded his fourth Game-Winning Goal of his career tonight vs Carolina. All four Game-Winning Goals have come this season.
12/18/17 vs ANA
2/27/18 @ PIT
3/14/18 @ VGK
3/27/18 vs CAR#NJDevils
— Craig Seiden (@CraigSeiden) March 28, 2018
“Obviously you guys don’t see what goes on in the locker room, but no one is panicking,” Noesen told the media after the Devils rallied to win their 40th game of the season – their highest win total since 2012. “There’s no panic in our game after the first period. No panic after the second. We have confidence in our room and we have confidence in our goaltending. We have confidence in our forwards, D, our staff. Everything. Everyone’s going in the same direction and that’s how it is right now. Everyone is on the same page.”
Noesen Knows His Role
Less than a week ago Noesen was a healthy scratch for the tenth time this season, but that didn’t stop the 25-year-old from scoring the GWG against the Carolina Hurricanes with 1:33 left in regulation on March 27 to move the Devils closer to a playoff berth. “We have a lot of guys (here) that need to be able to get in (the lineup) and play,” the rugged winger from Plano, Texas told The Hockey Writers following perhaps his biggest goal in red and black.
“I’m one of the guys in the bottom six, and I know that. You have to do whatever you gotta do to stay in the lineup and I probably didn’t have the best game when we were in San Jose – I’ll be the first one to tell you that,” he explained when THW asked if the most recent healthy scratch lit a fire inside of him. “We get somebody fresh in there like Staff (Drew Stafford) and we have three or four extra guys that – they need to play. It’s no burden on me. Staff came in and contributed, I think he had an assist.”
Devils Details Pay Off
Since Ray Shero took over as GM of the Devils and subsequently John Hynes taking over as head coach, the franchise has targeted and brought in players through trades, drafting and free agency that they view as assets; more times than not its worked out. Noesen is a player like that. Others that can fall under that list: Kyle Palmieri, Brian Boyle, Jesper Bratt, Will Butcher, Sami Vatanen. Oh, and some guy named Taylor Hall. Is he any good?
“Noesen’s had quite a few points since the All-Star break and that’s when the league ramps up and gets harder and harder,” Hynes said following the win over Carolina. (No. 23 has 12 points (7g-5a) and three game-winners over 27 games) “That’s where you score and he’s had numerous tip-goals or a rebound like tonight where he gets himself into those harder areas of the ice where you have to score.”
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) March 28, 2018
“It’s nice to see him be able to get rewarded,” Hynes added, “he got scratched a game ago and I think he’s come back and played harder. That’s what we need. We need guys that stay hungry. It was a big goal for us.”
The Devils have won 40 games this season because they are a team. Everyone has a role on the team and there are no egos. It started with training camp when the players challenged each other to put their egos aside in an attempt to become a better team. It continued when they went to West Point on a team-bonding trip before the season started.
From their season-opening win against the Colorado Avalanche back in October the New Jersey Devils have played like a playoff team, have been in a playoff spot for the majority of the season, and there’s no reason to believe that they are going to fizzle out now, with six games remaining “Everyone in our room is a good player. We need everyone (in here) to win a Stan…,” Noesen said stopping himself, “to try to make the playoffs. And try to go on a nice playoff run.”
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.