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The 2018 AATJ Top 25 Devils Under 25: The Middle of the Pack (#15 - #11)

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It’s time for the fourth installment to our 2018 AATJ top 25 New Jersey Devils players under the age of 25 series. This group of five represents the middle of the pack and includes four forwards and a defenseman.

Winnipeg Jets v New Jersey Devils
Will John Quenneville cement his spot on the New Jersey Devils roster this season?
Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

We continue our top 25 New Jersey Devils players under the age of 25 series today. This post will reveal the middle portion of our top 25 ranking. This includes three forwards that could see NHL time this season, a talented Swedish prospect, and an intriguing offensive defenseman from the NCAA. Let’s take a look at who they are.

#15 - Brett Seney - LW - Age: 22 - 2017-18 Team: Merrimack College (NCAA) - 2017 Rank: #31 - Elite Prospects Profile

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Brett Seney cracks the top 15 after finishing 28th in 2016 and 31st in 2017. The 5’10, 180 lbs. forward from London, Ontario was drafted by the Devils in the 6th round of the 2015 draft. Knowing that he would need some extra time to develop, Seney opted to forgo major junior hockey with Oshawa of the OHL, to instead attend Merrimack College. Prior to attending Merrimack, Seney spent two seasons with the Kingston Voyageurs of the OJHL where he put up 69 points in 49 games in the 2013-14 season. A strong freshman season for Merrimack in 2014-15 would get him drafted by the Devils as he led Merrimack with 26 points in 34 games. In fact, Seney would lead the team in scoring in all 4 seasons with the program, putting up a total of 115 points in 139 career games. Seney played primarily on the left wing where he was at his best but was able to fill in at center when the team needed him. He also made a great first impression in Binghamton after his college season ended with 3 goals and 5 assists in 12 games to close out last season.

Seney really came into his own at Merrimack, showcasing his superior speed and vision which allows him to cut through defenders and make plays from end to end. While he’s grown an inch or two and packed on a decent bit of muscle since his draft year, he’s still not the biggest player on the ice but does play a fearless game due to his compete level. It seems that Seney was able to maximize his development at Merrimack under then coach Mark Dennehy - who is now coaching the Binghamton Devils. Seney has an outside chance to make New Jersey out of camp, but it’s more likely he’ll be reunited with Dennehy to start the season. With his current skill set and familiarity with the coach, I’d expect Seney to earn an important role with Binghamton this season. He’s a bit of a darkhorse prospect, but has the offensive skills and speed that could help him carve out a role in the NHL at some point.

#14 - Reilly Walsh - D - Age: 19 - 2017-18 Team: Harvard University (NCAA) - 2017 Rank: #24 - Elite Prospects Profile

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Reilly Walsh is an offensive defenseman with top 4 upside at the NHL level so it’s no surprise to see him rise up 10 spots from last year’s ranking to finish 14th. The 6’0, 185 lbs. defender from North Falmouth, Massachusettes was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft. He was coming off of another season starring in prep hockey for Proctor Academy with 30 goals and 39 assists in 30 games his senior season of 2016-17. In his prep career he put up 181 points in 122 games. His strong performances on the prep scene got him noticed by the US National Team Developmental Program and USHL. In 2015-16 he put up 6 points in 9 games for the US U17 team while also making his brief USHL debut. In 2016-17 he played in 24 games for Chicago of the USHL with 2 goals and 8 assists to help them earn a Clark Cup Championship. He was also named to the USHS All-USA Hockey Second Team and USHS First Team All-New England Team (East). Earlier that season he represented the USA U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

He made his college hockey debut as a true 18 year old freshman for Harvard. In 33 games he had 7 goals, 13 assists, -2, and 16 PIM. He did most of his damage offensively at the beginning of the season and then picked it up at the end of the year. Even when his production dipped in the middle of the season, he was still getting his shots on net and posing a threat on the PP. Walsh is a fluid skater with solid instincts that allow him to jump into the rush or fire a dangerous shot from the point. He gave a good account of himself as a freshman and should play a bigger role for Harvard this upcoming season and could earn a spot on the USA World Junior Championship team this winter. His defensive game is still coming along as he continues to fill out his frame but there is some solid upside to like about when it comes to Walsh. I wouldn’t be shocked if there was interest in him turning pro after this upcoming season but I think it’s likely he at least stays at Harvard through his junior season.

#13 - Joey Anderson - RW - Age: 20 - 2017-18 Team: University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA) - 2017 Rank: #13 - Elite Prospects Profile

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Joey Anderson retains his 13th place ranking after an up and down season. The 6’0, 195 lbs. right wing from Roseville, Minnesota was selected by the Devils in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft. Prior to being drafted he excelled for Hill-Murray School in Minnesota High School hockey. In 2014-15 he moved to the US National Team Developmental Program putting in strong performances for the U17 National Team in both league and international play. In the U17 World Juniors he had 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 games to win a Silver Medal. His final season of junior hockey in 2015-16 saw him put up 20 points in 25 USHL games and 57 points in 64 USDP games for the U18 National Team. In the U18 World Juniors he had 7 goals and 2 assists in 7 games to win a Bronze Medal. While with the USNTDP, Anderson played with skilled players such as Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows but wasn’t out of place. He used his high compete level, offensive vision, and puck winning abilities to be the perfect complementary player on that line. His smart, two-way game has been a big reason for his success at every level and team he’s played at.

Anderson really broke out as an 18 year old freshman for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in 2016-17. He finished with an impressive 12 goals and 25 assists in 39 games, helping UMD to a NCHC Championship. He was also named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team. That same season he was a key role player and penalty killer for the USA U20 team that took home a Gold Medal at the WJC. Last season he struggled with injury - both playing through it and missing some games in the 1st half of his collegiate season. In the end he had 11 goals and 16 assists in 36 games as a sophomore. He also was the captain of the USA U20 team at the WJC and put up 4 goals and 3 assists in 7 games as the team took home a Bronze Medal. Anderson could’ve stayed for another season of college hockey but opted to sign with the Devils last spring. He just turned 20 in June so he’s still young but I wouldn’t put it past him to crack the New Jersey line up at some point this season in a bottom 6 role to start his career. While his offensive ceiling is limited and he’s still a bit of a way from entering his prime, his ability to play attacking, defensively strong hockey along with the ability to help out on the PK could make him a nice role player to have on the big club sooner than later.

#12 - John Quenneville - C/LW - Age: 22 - 2017-18 Team: Binghamton Devils (AHL) - 2017 Rank: #6 - Elite Prospects Profile

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Falling out of the top 10 but remaining an interesting option is John Quenneville. The 6’1, 205 lbs. forward from Edmonton, Alberta was selected in the 1st round of the 2014 draft by New Jersey. Prior to being drafted he was a standout player on the Alberta bantam and midget circuit which led to him joining the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL in 2012. He had 19 points in 47 games in his rookie WHL season of 2012-13. He followed that up with a breakout of 25 goals and 33 assists in 61 regular season games in 2013-14. He was on fire in the playoffs that season too with 13 points in 9 games. The 2014-15 season didn’t go as planned as he put up 47 points in 57 games, a solid but unspectacular total for his expectations. To his credit he did once again show up in the playoffs with 19 points in 19 games. He finished his WHL career off in 2015-16 with 73 points in 57 regular season games as well as 27 points in 21 playoff games as they won the WHL Championship. Throughout his junior career he represented Canada at the U17, U18, and U20 levels, winning a Silver Medal as an U17 and a Bronze Medal as an U18.

His first professional season in 2016-17 saw him lead Albany with 46 points in 58 regular season games. He also put up 4 points in 4 playoff games. That season he made his NHL debut with 4 points in 12 games. Last season he was unable to make an impact at the NHL level just appearing in 2 games. He did put up 34 points in 43 games with Binghamton but seemed to leave coaches and fans wanting a bit more. To his credit, he did miss some time due to injury and wasn’t always able to find his consistency. In Jeff’s Binghamton Devils’ 4th Quarter Grades & Evaluations, Quenneville earned a “B” grade. Quenneville is still young at 22, but with younger players threatening to grab roster spots in New Jersey, this will be an absolutely key season for the two-way forward. It will be interesting to see if he can earn a spot with the big club or if he’s destined for more time in the AHL.

#11 - Jesper Boqvist - C - Age: 19 - 2017-18 Team: Brynäs IF (SHL) - 2017 Rank: #14 - Elite Prospects Profile

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Just missing out on the top 10 this year is talented center Jesper Boqvist. The 6’0, 182 lbs. forward from Falun, Sweden was drafted by the Devils in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft. Since the 2014-15 season, Boqvist has been steadily moving up the junior ranks of the Brynäs IF system. He made his debut in the Swedish Hockey League during the 2015-16 season, putting up an assist in 8 games. He got himself on the map for the 2017 draft with a strong 2016-17 season split between juniors, the SHL, and the Allsvenskan (2nd tier). While on loan in the Allsvenskan for Timra IK, he put up 3 goals and 9 assists in 19 games. Boqvist also has plenty of international experience on his resume playing for every age group from U16-U20 for Sweden winning multiple Silver Medals.

Last season he missed some time due to injury but put up a respectable 3 goals and 10 assists in 23 games while averaging 15:25 per game. He’s about to turn 20 in October and hopefully will play a top 6 role for Brynäs IF. Boqvist is another fast skater with inspiring puck skills and playmaking abilities. His raw offensive talent makes him one of the most exciting prospects in the Devils system right now. Hopefully he can put together a strong and healthy 2018-19 season and then look to make the move to North America in a season or two.

Your Take

Stay tuned for next week’s post where we will begin to reveal the bottom half of the top ten. Before we do that, let us know what you think about the players from this post. Which players do you expect to become contributors at the NHL level? Which players are you most excited about? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!