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2022-23 Top 10 New Jersey Devils Prospects

The Devils have been quickly rebuilding their team and now have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL. With six first-round picks in the past three drafts, the prospect pipeline will continue to infuse the roster with premium prospects for the foreseeable future.

The Devils have more players under 25 years old than over on the roster including core players Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Dawson Mercer. There are several other players getting time in the NHL as prospects on this ranking and the list of graduates in the near future will be extensive.

The Devils scouting staff has done an excellent job identifying prospects to target in the draft, and the organization has also done well developing. Players such as Miles Wood, Jesper Bratt, and Yegor Sharangovich were all selected after the second round and have developed into NHL players.

1. Luke Hughes, LD – University of Michigan (NCAA)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-2/183
Drafted: 2021 round one, fourth overall by New Jersey Devils

The youngest Hughes brother joins Jack as the Devils first-round selection from the 2021 draft. Older brothers Jack and Quinn have both gone on the record to say that Luke may be the best of the brothers when all is said and done. That is pretty high praise considering the impact Quinn and Jack have already made.

Luke is already the biggest standing at 6-2 and has dominated the NCAA since being drafted. As the star player for an All-Star Michigan Wolverines roster, Hughes recorded 39 points in 41 games as a freshman, including 17 goals. He has represented the USA at two WJC scoring 11 points in 12 total games and scoring another four points in 10 World Championship games for USA as well. As a sophomore in the NCAA Hughes currently has 30 points through 26 games and will no doubt sign with the Devils when the college season ends.

He has franchise upside and will begin learning on the job from Dougie Hamilton to give the Devils a dynamic one-two punch on the back end. Not to mention Simon Nemec, more on him in a minute.

2. Alexander Holtz, RW – New Jersey Devils (NHL)

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 6-0/194
Drafted: 2020 round one, seventh overall by New Jersey Devils

Holtz just turned 21 years old but has already made the Devils roster, playing in 18 games by his birthday. Holtz played his first full season in North America in the 2021-22 season, mainly in the AHL. He played a total of 52 games in Utica, scoring 26 goals, and 51 points. A very impressive rookie season that earned him a nine-game NHL cup of coffee.

His offensive game is too good for the AHL, but he still needs to win the coaching staff’s confidence that his defensive game is not a liability to secure ice time. At the NHL level he needs to score consistently. He has first-line and PP one upside and could even one day be a candidate for a Maurice Richard Trophy as an elite scorer.

3. Simon Nemec, RD – Utica Comets (AHL)

Age: 18
Ht/Wt: 6-1/190
Drafted: 2022 round one, second overall by New Jersey Devils

The Devils already boast Dougie Hamilton and Luke Hughes on defense and armed with the second overall pick added a third franchise defenseman in Simon Nemec. The big, smooth-skating Slovakian right-shot defender gives the Devils an embarrassment of riches on defense. In his D+1 season, he is an AHL rookie on pace for 27 points in 65 games in the AHL as an 18-year-old. Nemec will turn 19 in mid-February.

Nemec represented Slovakia at the WJC and almost upset Canada but lost in the quarter-finals in overtime. Nemec wore the “C” for Slovakia and scored five points in five games. His combination of size, smarts, and skill make him an elite prospect that would be the top prospect in a lot of other teams rankings.

4. Seamus Casey, RD – University of Michigan (NCAA)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 5-9/161
Drafted: 2022 round two, 46th overall by New Jersey Devils

Drafted in the second round, his stock has since improved, and is looking like a first-round value pick by the Devils. The offensive defenseman has excellent hands and skill. His puck control is at an NHL level now and his bag of tricks includes a variety of drags, pulls, fakes, and deception.

He is a dangerous addition to the rush and has great vision and timing. He is a smart and versatile player and even played a game as a first-line center when injuries hit the Wolverines roster. A mobile but undersized modern-day offensive defenseman.

5. Arseni Gritsyuk, RW/LW – Avangard Omsk (KHL)

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 5-11/192
Drafted: 2019 round five, 129th overall by New Jersey Devils

A rising prospect in the Devils depth chart is the Russian winger. The undersized, skilled winger is in the final year of his KHL contract and is on pace for a career year of 41 points in 67 games.

Gritsyuk showed up on my radar with his four points in six WJC games for Russia in 2021 and again in 2022 in the Olympics where he scored three points in six games. His breakout season was 2021-22 with 16 goals and 28 points in 39 KHL games. Hopefully, he comes to North America next year where he could step right into an NHL role, or see some adjustment time in the AHL.

6. Chase Stillman, RW – Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Age: 19
Ht/Wt: 6-1/185
Drafted: 2021 round one, 29th overall by New Jersey Devils

Some prolific scorers from junior never make it at the pro level. Some good scorers at the junior level carve out long NHL or pro careers. Stillman plays a pro-style game but has not developed the offensive elite upside some were expecting.

He has an excellent compete level, has the size and uses it, can shoot, has leadership qualities and hockey bloodlines to boot. While his offensive ceiling may not be extremely high, he has a high probability to play in the NHL.

7. Nolan Foot, LW – Utica Comets (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-3/201
Drafted: 2019 round one, 27th overall by Tampa Bay Lightning

While the Devils have several players trending up, Foote is trending in the opposite direction. The big 6-3 power winger has NHL size and an NHL-level shot. He has the draft pedigree and was acquired in the Blake Coleman trade. Foote has proven to be a consistent AHL producer with 35 goals and 68 points in 113 career AHL games.

The 22-year-old has yet to stick in the NHL due to a lack of foot speed (pardon the pun) and his ability to play with the pace of the NHL. His future as an NHL player is in jeopardy.

8. Nico Daws, G – Utica Comets (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-4/205
Drafted: 2020 round thee, 84th overall by New Jersey Devils

Daws had a breakout showing at the 2020 WJC backstopping Canada to the Gold. Since then he has been playing at the professional level and is a starting goalie in the AHL with a 25-13-3 career record and has even played in 25 NHL games with a 10-11-1 record.

Daws has good size, is strong on his skates with good lateral mobility, he is very athletic and tracks pucks well. Daws could use another season of development in the AHL and if he continues to improve should be ready to challenge for an NHL starting job.

9. Shakir Mukhamadullin, LD – Salavat Yulaev (KHL)

Age: 21
Ht/Wt: 6-4/190
Drafted: 2020 round one, 20th overall by New Jersey Devils

Perhaps the most polarizing prospect in the scouting community in 2020 was Shakir. The big, mobile defender with a booming shot and excellent skating had some salivating to draft him. Others were happy to pass, citing his hockey sense, decision making and tendency to egregiously turnover pucks as their concerns. Well, two years later and the debate wages on.

While he has shown improvement defensively, the mistakes are still too frequent for NHL standards. Offensively he is producing as expected and is having a breakout season on pace for 25 points. He is under contract by the Devils and on loan to the KHL. With two years remaining on his contract, expect the Devils to bring him to North America full-time in 2023-24 so their AHL coaching staff can get to work on him.

10. Nikita Okhotyuk, LD – Utica Comets (AHL)

Age: 22
Ht/Wt: 6-1/194
Drafted: 2019 round two, 61st overall by New Jersey Devils

While Okhotyuk may never become an offensive player, he is developing into an NHL player. What he lacks in offensive punch, he makes up for with a violent punch! He is a very aggressive and violent player, tracking players and laying out some spectacular hits. He is not a heavy weight fighter and may need to work on that to answer the bell after he rings someone else’s, but he forces the opposition to keep their head up, forces turnovers and is very reliable defensively.

He reads and reacts to plays smartly, taking away passing lanes. Okhotyuk wins a lot of battles, both in front of his net and along the boards. His go-to breakout pass may always be glass and out rather than long stretch transition passes for a breakaway.

Honorable Mentions:

Reilly Walsh – The 23-year-old is in a make-or-break year, and his production has dropped off significantly. With so many defensive prospects in the system, he is trending hard in the wrong direction.

Josh Filmon – After a breakout 45-point draft year, he continues to improve on pace for a 78-point D+1 campaign.

Graeme Clark – Former Ottawa 67’s player in his third pro season and continues to improve on pace for a 60-point season in 71 games.

2022-23 Top 10 Montreal Canadiens Prospects

Tyce Thompson – Scored 19 goals in 34 NCAA games as a sophomore. Scored a point per game as a junior and as an AHL rookie. Production has slipped slightly but the Devils are hoping he is a late bloomer like his older brother Tage Thompson.

Akira Schmid – Giving Dawes competition for starts in both the AHL and the NHL.

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