On Sunday, John revealed the players that were ranked #11-25 on the ILWT community ranking of the Devils Top 25 Under 25. I will reveal the top 10 players in two posts today. Overall, eight players reclaimed spots in the 2014 top 10 from the 2013 top 10, while Steve Santini rose five places, and the Devils latest 1st round selection, John Quenneville earned a spot. Below is the bottom half of this year's top 10 ranking.
#10 - John Quenneville - C - Age: 18 - 2013 Rank: NR - 2013-14 Team: Brandon (WHL) - Elite Prospects Profile
With the 30th overall selection in the 2014 draft, the Devils took the 6'1, 205 lbs. center from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. There is plenty of information available on Quenneville from Karen's prospect profile on him and John's post following the draft. Quenneville is coming off of a strong age 17 season that saw him put up 58 points in 61 regular season games as well as 13 points in 9 playoff games. He was a key contributor for Brandon with the second highest even strength points on the team with 39, fourth highest points-per-game rate at 0.95, and he had the 4th highest even strength point share at 73.1%. Quenneville also earned a Bronze Medal at the 2013-14 U18 WJC representing Canada with 2 points in 7 games.
Corey Pronman recently ranked Quenneville as the Devils third best prospect, citing his strong puck possession and decision making skills. The skilled, two-way center will look to further develop his game this upcoming season in Brandon.
#9 - Steve Santini - D - Age: 19 - 2013 Rank: 14 - 2013-14 Team: Boston College (NCAA) - Elite Prospects Profile
The Devils selected the 6'2, 208 lbs, Steve Santini with the 42nd overall pick in the 2013 draft. Many reports suggested that if Santini had more of an offensive game that he would have been a 1st round selection. In 2012-13 he helped the USA U18 team capture a Silver medal at the World Junior Championships were he logged heavy minutes in all situations. For that superb effort he took home the Best Defenseman award for the entire tournament.
After a strong freshman season at Boston College where he helped them to a Frozen Four appearance, Santini jumped up five spots from last year to make the top 10. The smooth skating, defenseman found his scoring touch on an offensively stacked Boston College team and managed 11 points in 35 games, after not producing many points for the USNTDP. Santini enjoyed more than just collegiate success in 2013-14 as he represented the the USA U20 team in the World Junior Championship. Despite a disappointing result at the team level, he logged quality minutes in a shutdown role and is likely to feature again this winter for the 2015 tournament.
Corey Pronman recently ranked Santini as the team's top prospect and the 56th best overall drafted prospect in hockey. In his ranking of Santini on the Top 100 list, Pronman praised his toughness, positioning, and gap control. Future Considerations prospect profile praises his skating and puck moving abilities. It is also notable that Santini earned All Hockey East Rookie Team honors as well as a share of Boston College's Outstanding Freshman Award.
#8 - Jacob Josefson - C - Age: 23 - 2013 Rank: 5 - 2013-14 Team: New Jersey (NHL) - Elite Prospects Profile
It's almost hard to believe that it's been five years since the Devils drafted Josefson with the 20th overall selection in the 2009 draft. The Devils allowed Josefson to spend his post draft year with Djurgården in the SEL (now SHL) where he put up 20 points in 43 games playing against men. He even was on the Swedish U20 World Junior Championship team where he put up 6 points in 6 games, earning a Bronze Medal to go along with the Silver Medal he earned the year before.
It's been a rocky road for Josefson since coming to North America in 2010. He's split time between New Jersey and Albany but due to injuries and a lack of earning from Peter DeBoer, he has only played in 184 NHL + AHL games. This past season the Devils didn't want to risk losing him on waivers and Josefson found himself in and out of the line up, playing in just 27 games, with just 10:08 average ice time, the lowest in his NHL career.
One of the big problems for Josefson is that he hasn't been able to translate his AHL success into NHL success. In 60 AHL games he has 40 points for a points-per-game of 0.67. In 118 NHL regular season games he has 25 points for a points-per-game of 0.21. John recently over-viewed Josefson's struggles in this post after he re-signed. Jerry had this post on the non-usage of Josefson and why he may deserve more of an extended run of games with better linemates.
With a roster that already has a logjam of forwards, Josefson could be on the outside looking in again in 2014-15. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that we may find out Josefson's future with the organization by the end of training camp.
#7 - Stefan Matteau - LW - Age: 20 - 2013 Rank: 8 - 2013-14 Team: Albany (AHL) - Elite Prospects Profile
The Devils selected Stefan Matteau 29th overall in the 2012 draft after not forfeiting their pick like a lot of people assumed they would. However, that issue is all in the past and I want to focus on what Matteau has done since being drafted. The 6'3, 215 lbs. physical winger spent his post draft year with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL and with a sting in New Jersey mixed in for his first 17 NHL games. With the Armada Matteau put up 28 points in 35 games in the regular season as well as 9 points in 11 playoff games before leaving the team due to a dispute with the coach. His tumultuous year also included being one of the final cuts from the USA U20 World Junior Championship team that would go on to win gold.
2013-14 brought much needed stability to Matteau as he had a really solid debut season in the AHL. While 26 points in 67 games doesn't stand out, it's important to note that he was just 19 years old and that there are only handful of AHL players that young. His 0.388 points-per-game rate was still better than the AHL league average as well as his 0.194 goals-per-game rate. Matteau even made the USA U20 team for the World Junior Championship were he had individual success with 3 goals and 1 assists in 5 games.
Corey Pronman recently ranked Matteau as the fourth best Devils prospect citing his intriguing combination of power and skill. Devils director of scouting, David Conte, also praised his physicality, calling him "a horse" in this NJ.com article.
#6 - Damon Severson - D - Age: 20 - 2013 Rank: 10 - 2013-14 Team: Kelowna (WHL) - Elite Prospects Profile
The Devils drafted Severson with the 60th overall selection in the 2012 draft. The 6'2, 210 lbs. defender has rewarded the Devils with a couple of really solid seasons since his draft for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Severson nearly put up a point-per-game this past season and finished his WHL career with 167 points in 260 regular season games for a point-per-game rate of 0.64. His strong junior career led to him nearly making the Canadian U20 team for the 2014 World Junior Championship. Severson also had a solid NHLE for a defenseman and steadily progressed in point production every year since his draft year.
There is more than just offense to Severson's game. As Regan Bartel noted in his recent interview with ILWT, Severson is a great skater, knows how to use his body, strength, and stick, and is capable of playing in a shutdown role.
Corey Pronman ranked Severson as the second best Devils prospect and just outside of his overall Top 100 NHL prospects. Severson should take on a big role in Albany this upcoming season and it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he may earn a call up should the big club need a defender.
These players are the bottom half of the top 10, chosen by the ILWT community. Do you agree or disagree with any of these rankings? What thoughts or concerns do you have about these specific players? Please let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for the top 5 later today. Thank you for reading!