Jesper Boqvist is a Swedish Army knife of a forward who primarily is a center who can also play on the wings. His experience last year with the New Jersey Devils from being able to pick up some playtime under Coach Lindy Ruff shows that he trusted Boqvist to become the young and very creative player he was drafted to be. Boqvist, being around his fellow countrymen of Alexander Holtz, Jesper Bratt, and Andreas Johnsson, should help groom him as a forward. In an 82 game season, the realistic benchmark should be around 10 goals and 20 assists.
That is due to Bratt being able to reach the 15 goals and 35 assist range if they were to play on the same lines. Boqvist should easily be munching top-nine minutes and should be able to benefit from Lindy Ruff’s run and gun offense and to learn to be a consistent points maker under Mark Recchi.
Winger prospect Graeme Clarke will very likely be called up this season to help join the New Jersey Devils secondary power-play, along with a possibility of Nolan Foote on his left side. Clarke is known to be a sharpshooter from his time with the Ottawa 67’s to his time with the Binghamton Devils since he graduated to the AHL level. It wouldn’t hurt to have Graeme get more seasoning during the season if the current Devils roster proves to be very independent until there is a need for general manager Tom Fitzgerald to make the call.
Speaking of Tom Fitzgerald, he brought in Jimmy Vesey who is on a player tryout deal. He is at a two-year career low looking to bounce back to the 20 to 35 point potential he’s accustomed to before he played most of his time in Canada. If Vesey comes out strong during the preseason and gets a spot on opening night, this could allow the younger guys to cook a bit longer without feeling rushed. Mark Jankowski, the big-bodied forward brings in the size, and offensive potential to be an interesting wild card after his time with the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fitzgerald loves having big, physical, and skilled players and in his young career, he brings a lot of experience from a heavy hockey, fast-paced division in the Western Conference. Jankowski has played a decent amount of time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jankowski on the analytics side isn’t the offensive type, but he is a very reliable defensive type who can help fortify a few lines on the team. He can play that physical game and get the Devils to win big-time puck battles versus rival teams in the Metropolitan and even the Atlantic Divisions.
Expectations For 2021-2022 Progress
Quite honestly, if the New Jersey Devils can get the internal pieces from preseason to through the 41 game mark and are in the top eight in the Eastern Conference, Fitzgerald will likely make a few moves by February or around the top eight. This is going to be a big year for guys like Dawson Mercer who are going to make it a lot harder for the coaches to make the first round of cuts.
This is going to be an interesting season for Mackenzie Blackwood now that he has Jonathan Bernier as his backup, and they will be waiting to see who their third goalie will be based on the preseason. It is a good conundrum to have because this internal competition will only force Tom Fitzgerald and the upper brass to try and properly make the right moves to get the New Jersey Devils not only to be competitive but show how exciting and fun the team can be all season for the fans.
Main image credit