The New Jersey Devils currently sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division in the NHL. The team will look to the future to try to rebuild its roster. How does the Devils’ prospect pool look when compared to the rest of the league?
According to Hockeyprospecting.com the least developed under 20-year-old goalie is Czech-born Jakub Málek the Devils selected last summer in the later rounds on day 2 of the NHL Draft. Malek was given a 38% chance of being an NHL Probability rating which favors him over a roughly 21-year-old Cole Brady at 31%.
The Devils need to draft and scout better while bringing younger goalies that not only have higher growth potential, but have the skillset and the calm mindset along with athletics, and very wise rebound control. Over the past decade Russia, Sweden, and Finland have been proven high-end goalie development factories that have made some very strong NHL goalies both backups, and starters.
The amount of time it’ll likely take Alexander Holtz might be as soon as training camp next early autumn or in the middle of the AHL season in Utica and makes the team from there eventually under a new coaching staff and a different approach to the NHL level. Jesper Boqvist has been on fire of late scoring 5 points in 5 games and 3 of which are goals.
As P.K. Subban moves on from the Devils as a free agent or in a trade I don’t see the necessary need of Reilly Walsh being rushed to the NHL as soon as possible. However when Walsh becomes a very solid offensive defenseman with Dougie Hamilton, and Damon Severson maybe the flashes of Brian Rafalski will pop in Devils fans’ minds when they see him shoot the puck on the net.
Shakir Mukhamadullin will be a left-handed stalwart on the Devils’ defensive top-4 at his peek but learning from a Ryan Graves type player but learning to be more physical like Nikita Zadorov. However, Mukhamadullin’s shot from the point and his mobility plus his reach will make him a very tough customer similar to a Zdeno Chara and Nikita Zadorov type defender with the reach and physical play.
Luke Hughes coming in about one more season after the University of Michigan’s season end would be the earliest I project him similar to his brother Quinn Hughes who played 2 seasons for the Wolverines. The Devils are stacked and loaded in the farm system on skaters where I can give this stash of ready-to-convert NHL ready prospects or made it already an A- for the ready defense prospects. Luke and Jack Hughes are brothers who are looking to bring the Devils into the future.
The forward group including Arseni Gritsyuk I see a B+ overall. The Goalie pipeline is a C+ but needs more high-end talent and improved overall goalie prospects in the pipeline that can move up to be successful at the NHL. There’s room for improvement from that C+ grade at goaltending and it will be who they acquire and add over time.
Gritsyuk has proven to be a very solid and exciting piece to Avangard Omsk this season in the KHL. He got to be part of the Gagarin Cup champion team when former Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk helped hoist the Gagarin Cup.
One of the suggestions in draft prospects I would look into for the Devils to draft on defense to beef that up would be Artyom Duda with 10% star probability and the fact that if the Devils land Simon Nemec from Slovakia with the best start probability rating in the NHL Draft Class of 2022.
If Tom Fitzgerald’s scouts did their homework in Central Europe and Russia getting either Nemec or David Jiricek then the right-hand defenseman depth in the pipeline will be very solid yet promising. The criticism of Fitzgerald’s teams has been that he has not drafted tough players.
A player like Pavel Zacha may be dealt by the March 21st trade deadline for more suitable players. Players that can win more puck battles that cause opponents to have conundrums. The Devils need to add more finishers and move forward to give the team more goal support.
One of the suggestions in draft prospects I would look into for the Devils to draft on defense to beef that up would be Artyom Duda with 10% star probability and the fact that if the Devils land Nemec from Slovakia with the best start probability rating in the NHL Draft Class of 2022.
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