With the additions of Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Graves, and Tomáš Tatar on the roster there is a lot for New Jersey Devils to be excited for. What the Devils filled some voids was on defense. Mackenzie Blackwood did not benefit from the defense he had to work with last year.
Dougie Hamilton will be responsible for anchoring the top right flank while likely being paired with left-handed defender Ryan Graves. These two veterans along with a few other guys as Christian Jaros, and Mason Geertsen. The defenders are the core of The “Sasquatch Squad” which provides big, intimidating, physical, and gritty.
The Devils look to not only reduce the number of goals allowed on average but also add more blocked shots, plus more hits.
Jonas Siegenthaler will provide a key role on the left side being able to play his defensive style of hockey. Colton White is filling in for Ty Smith on the left side as Ty gets back to full health. P.K. Subban is looking to improve off of last season both defensively and offensively. As Hamilton and Jaros are currently on the right-side defense chart this will allow Damon Severson to come back towards full health.
As Miles Wood is currently out for a bit with Tyce Thompson it appears new guys like Marian Studeníč, Dawson Mercer can learn from Tatar and Jesper Bratt about how to adapt to an 82 game season. The Devils’ core offense looks to provide the goal support as guys like Jack Hughes, Dawson Mercer, and Yegor Sharangovich look to add the support for Mackenzie Blackwood and company in the net.
Speediness and Excitement
One of the common things Devils General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald did was to keep that fast, agile, youthful up-and-coming Devils offense around. As a young two-way forward in Dawson Mercer who just made the Devils roster plays a very well-rounded poke checking and forechecking game. He put on a good display of defense to offense in preseason games versus the Capitals and Rangers.
Having potential forwards like Hughes, Hischier, and Mercer on 3 of 4 forward lines only improves the Devils’ odds of thwarting opponents on squad offense or slowing down opponents so the defense can get the puck out to their rapid-paced skaters. Coach Lindy Ruff has a lot of really good tools at his disposal and even the fourth line like a Fredrik Gauthier-Michael McLeod- Marian Studeníč that can bring speed, grit, size, and brute style of play.
Potential Stats Per 82 Games
According to points to the game’s total played per player, this is what each player was projected to yield in an 82 game pace season:
Jesper Boqvist 14 goals and 25 points
Jesper Bratt 13 goals and 62 points
Fredrik Gauthier 6 goals 18 points
Nico Hischier 23 goals 49 points
Alexander Holtz 22 goals 35 points
Jack Hughes 16 goals 73 points
Andreas Johnsson 8 goals 30 points
Janne Kuokkanen 13 goals and 52 points
Michael McLeod 14 goals and 37 points
Dawson Mercer 20 goals and 38 points
Yegor Sharangovich 34 goals and 65 points
Marian Studeníč 10 goals and 21 points
Tomáš Tatar 16 goals and 57 points
Tyce Thompson 6 goals and 12 points
Miles Wood 25 goals and 46 points
Pavel Zacha 28 goals and 67 points
At worst you’re looking at 268 goals with that from a New Jersey Devils forward core. With possible call ups and middle of the season moves made by General Manager, Tom Fitzgerald looking to add a bit more firepower upfront. According to this model, Nico Hischier will have a career year In goals and so would Jack Hughes, Janne Kuokkanen, Yegor Sharangovich, and Pavel Zacha all have breakout years in scoring goals.
Mason Geertsen 1 goal and 7 points
Ryan Graves 3 goals and 32 points
Dougie Hamilton 15 goals and 63 points
Christian Jaroš 1 goal and 16 points
Damon Severson 4 goals and 43 points
Jonas Siegenthaler 2 goals and 12 points
Ty Smith 3 goals and 39 points
P.K. Subban 9 goals and 35 points
Colton White 1 goal and 10 assists.
You can hear more NHL predictions from this episode on The Devils State of Mind Podcast https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vZGV2aWxzc3RhdGVvZm1pbmRwb2RjYXN0/episode/ODNlMDZjZDgtMmEyZi0xMWVjLWE2MTMtNmIxNjRlYTE1MzYy?hl=en&ved=2ahUKEwiLjNuZ2MPzAhVNneAKHfs3BGcQjrkEegQIBBAH&ep=6
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