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The 2020 AATJ Top 25 Devils Under 25: The Outsiders from #52 to #26

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After nearly two weeks of discussion and votes, the 2020 All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils players Under 25 is completed. This post goes over the 27 players who missed the Top 25 List this year.

Ottawa 67’s v Oshawa Generals
Nikita Okhotyuk and 26 other New Jersey Devils under the age of 25 missed the 2020 Top 25 list.
Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

It is now time to reveal this year’s All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils players Under 25 list. This is the ninth annual list where we ask and answer the question: Who are the best young players in the system? This is an exercise in perception as some fans will prefer potential to present performance, others value some skills over other ones, and some fans will put more value on professionals than those who have yet to break through. Rather than argue for one method over the other, we just ask the basic question and let the wisdom of the crowd decide. We do this for the young players in the Devils’ system as these are the players who could be - or already are - a part of the team’s foundation in the future. It is a good method to get a handle on who’s important now, who’s expected to be important later, and who will need some work to do to get to a higher level in the eyes of the fans.

Between the Devils amassing loads of draft picks in recent seasons and acquiring younger players in trades, the 2020 Top 25 Devils Under 25 List is the largest one yet. A whopping 52 players were eligible for this list. They include the 2020 draft class led by Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer, and Shakir Mukhamadullin. They include Kevin Bahl, Nolan Foote, Nick Merkley, and Janne Kuokkanen among others acquired from trades made last season. They even include players who have been in the Devils’ system since the 2014 NHL Draft. With a lot of names, there is a lot of variety in decisions. But thanks to the People Who Matter we have a list ranking all 52 players. Nine of us writers and 245 responders to the community survey have all had their rankings weighted equally (the community as one) to get the results. As this is an exercise in perception, please be kind when discussing other people’s rankings. They just may see things differently than you and that is OK.

What is also OK is being in this post: The Outsiders. These are the 27 players who did not make the actual Top 25 this year. Being in this post is not necessarily condemning a young player to have no hope for the future. A lot can change in the season. Additionally, as the team added more players under the age of 25 than those that departed, some of these players just moved down from where they were in last year’s list by default. Still, plenty of players have shot up the rankings in past years with noteworthy and productive performances. Some of them have made their way to the NHL in time. You are free to discuss whether the rankings make sense to you or not, but they are what they are.

Now onto the list. This is in reverse order from 52nd to 26th on the 2020 All About the Jersey Top 25 Devils Under 25 List. All ages are as of October 8, 2020.


#52 - Evan Cormier - Goaltender - Age: 22 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton/Adirondack - 2019 Rank: 43 - Elite Prospects (EP) Profile

With Brandon Baddock moving on, a new man ended up at the bottom and it is goaltender Evan Cormier. Cormier was technically a rookie last season with Binghamton, even though he did play in 15 games for Binghamton and 6 for Adirondack in 2018-19. Last season, Cormier found himself in the ECHL more often as he played 15 games there compared with 11 for Binghamton. While a goalie playing in the ECHL is not a bad thing, posting overall save percentages lower than 89% is a bad thing. Cormier did that in both leagues last season. It appears Cormier may be the odd man out among the goaltending prospects very soon. New Jersey signed Scott Wedgewood as a veteran #3 option; Gilles Senn is expected to stay in Binghamton as he did last season; and Akira Schmid and Nico Daws are close to going pro. As such, there may not be much of a future for Cormier in New Jersey.

#51 - David Quenneville - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 22 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton/Adirondack - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

Quenneville was thrown into the deal that sent Andy Greene to Long Island back in February. The 5’8” defender scored quite a lot of points with Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League. The pro game has been much rougher. He spent all of his first full pro season with Worcester of the ECHL in 2018-19. Last season, he split his time between Bridgeport in the AHL and Worcester of the ECHL before the trade. Since the trade, he dressed for seven games with Binghamton before the pandemic ended the AHL season. All that time, he did not generate a lot of production. With the Devils having several defensemen coming up in their system soon, a small defenseman who will turn 23 in March who does not generate production is not well-looked upon. Unless he has a great 2020-21 somewhere, Quenneville could end up being released.

#50 - Nikita Popugaev - Right Winger/Left Winger - Age: 21 - 2020-21 Team: Dynamo Moscow (KHL) - 2019 Rank: 28 - EP Profile

People were thrilled when the Devils drafted Nikita Popugaev. A 6’6”, 200+ pound 18-year old winger in the fourth round? Who says no? All he needed to do was get back to how he played in Moose Jaw. The problem is that he never did. He did not find it in Prince George. He did not find it when he transferred to CSKA Moscow after being drafted. He did not find it when CSKA Moscow moved him to the Amur Khabarovsk organization in the following season. He did not find it in Binghamton after he signed to an AHL contract in 2018-19. He did not find it when he was demoted to Adirondack for all of 2019-20. He apparently has not yet found it in the Dynamo Moscow system. Maybe he will one day. I am not confident. And I do not think most fans are. After all, he dropped from being close to the Top 25 last season all the way to third from the bottom. In fact, he fell further than anyone else from the 2019 list.

#49 - Cole Brady - Goaltender - Age: 19 - 2020-21 Team: Arizona State (Big Ten) - 2019 Rank: 46 - EP Profile

Goaltender Cole Brady was picked from Janesville of the NAHL in the 2019 NHL Draft. Between the lack of attention of the NAHL, his not so amazing-on-paper save percentage (91.2% is not bad, but not amazing), and the fact he was committed to Arizona State for 2020-21, there was not a lot of reason to be hyped on Brady. He is very much a project pick where he will go to college and the organization will check in on his progress there. That said, Brady did make a move to Fargo of the USHL last season. With all due respect to the New Jersey 87s partisans out there, the USHL is a stronger league than the NAHL. Brady posted up an overall save percentage of 90.3%. On its own, that is not so good. However, it was the ninth best overall save percentage for USHL goalies last season and he led all rookie goalies in the league too. Again, he is a long-term prospect and long-term prospects typically do not get rated highly on this list unless they do something amazing. Arizona State will play in the Big Ten for 2020-21, so Brady could some seriously loaded teams as he breaks into the college game. Maybe iron will sharpen iron. We’ll see.

#48 - Jeremy Groleau - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 20 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton/Adirondack - 2019 Rank: 41 - EP Profile

Groleau was an undrafted free agent signed out of Chicoutimi back in 2019. The 2019-20 season was his first full professional season. It definitely had its growing pains as he only got into 32 games with Binghamton and had a five-game spell in the ECHL with Adirondack. He started to receive some more ice time before the pandemic cut short the AHL’s season, so there is a sense he has more to offer. That said, it is unclear what exactly he would bring to the table. Combined with the fact that the Devils have multiple defensemen coming into the organization, there is not a lot of reason to get excited for Groleau at the moment. If there is an AHL season, Groleau better be ready to prove himself all over again in the face of prospects coming in. That should be his next step and, if he takes it, he will gain more favor with the fans.

#47 - Colby Sissions - Left-handed Defenseman - Age: 22 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton/Adirondack - 2019 Rank: 34 - EP Profile

Similar to Groleau, the Devils signed Sissons back in 2016 as an undrafted free agent defenseman. Sissons had a monster season in his final season with Swift Current in major juniors in 2017-18. He had 13 goals and 58 assists in 72 games in the WHL season and five goals and 18 assists in 26 WHL playoff games, which included a championship. It was a reason to believe the Devils may have found a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, his pro career has not continued an upward trend. In the 2018-19 season, Sissons played 38 games for Binghamton, put up 11 points, and played in the ECHL for nine games. Last season, Sissons only played in six games with Binghamton and scored no points and dressed for Adirondack for 48 games. At least he put up 30 points with the Thunder last season; but it is an auspicious decline to play much more often in the ECHL in his second pro season. Similar to Groleau, Sissons has a lot to prove if he wants to be in Binghamton more often. Those salad days from Swift Current are clearly in the past - and his fall Top 25 Under 25 ranking reflects that.

#46 - Matthew Hellickson - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 22 - 2020-21 Team: Norte Dame (Big Ten) - 2019 Rank: 45 - EP Profile

Unless you follow Norte Dame hockey closely, it is hard to get a sense on what the future holds for Hellickson. He has done well with the Fighting Irish. He has been on the Big Ten All-Academic team for two years running. Last season was perhaps his best season yet if only because he was named as an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team. Hellickson’s production has been steady as he put up 12, 16, and 16 points in his three years in college so far. His defensive work is at least disciplined given his low penalty minute amounts. Again, I defer to the Fighting Irish and Big Ten hockey fans to point out how good he is or is not. But without an obvious breakout season like Jeremy Davies or Aarne Talvitie, the 2017 seventh round pick was bound to have a similarly low rank. I wish him the best in his senior season and I hope he decides to move onto pro hockey. Where there, he can make a bigger name for himself.

#45 - Artem Shlaine - Center - Age: 18 - 2020-21 Team: Connecticut (Hockey East) - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

The first of the 2020 draft class to appear on the list is center Artem Shlaine. He will join the Connecticut Huskies for this coming season, which will be his first platform where he could gain some notice. The majority of his 2019-20 season was spent with Shattuck-St Mary’s with six games for Muskegon in the USHL. While Shattuck-St. Mary’s has developed some fantastic players in the past, it is still a prep school and that level of hockey is not widely seen at all. How he does as a freshman will help guide future opinions of the prospect. For now, the 2020 fifth rounder slots in here.

#44 - Case McCarthy - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 19 - 2020-21 Team: Boston University (Hockey East) - 2019 Rank: 39 - EP Profile

McCarthy was touted for being a physical, defensive defenseman. As such, it is hard to get a read on how well he did from a distance. That likely has more to do with this ranking than anything McCarthy did or did not do with the Huskies. That stated, he played in 32 games as a freshman and his player page at the college’s website highlights his 12 points and 38 shot blocks. That suggests he is as advertised as a defensive-minded defender. As McCarthy is in college, there is time to wait to see if he can develop further and perhaps break out as a sophomore or junior.

#43 - Yegor Zaitsev - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 22 - 2020-21 Team: Dynamo Moscow (KHL) - 2019 Rank: 40 - EP Profile

In some respects, there is a reason to be confident that Zaitsev has a future in pro hockey. Check out his KHL stats page. Since being drafted in 2017, Zaitsev has went on to play for Russia at the World Junior Championships and go from splitting time between Dynamo Moscow and the MHL to becoming a regular for Dynamo Moscow. Granted, averaging 15-16 minutes per game is not a massive role. But in a Russian hockey culture where young players are kept to even more limited ice time, an under-25 player getting at least third-pairing minutes is noteworthy. The KHL is arguably the second toughest league in the world; it is not a small achievement. It is a sign of real progress that he went from 8 to 12 minutes to 15-16 minutes in the same organization over the years. The big question is whether his future is in North America. According to his EP profile, his contract ends this season. Would the Devils be interested in bringing him over? Would he be interested in coming over? These questions are central to his future and until they are answered, he will not rate highly on a list like this one.

#42 - Ethan Edwards - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 18 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Sioux City (USHL) - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

The second member of the 2020 draft class enters the list at 42. The young defenseman is committed to Michigan, a traditional hockey power which will likely be powerful for the next few years given who is on the roster. Edwards will join the Wolverines in 2021-22. For this coming season, he is expected to play for Sioux City of the USHL. This is a switch over from Spring Grove of the AJHL, a Junior A league, where he scored 33 points in 50 games last season. It will be a good challenge to see how he does before he enters the NCAA scene.

#41 - Benjamin Baumgartner - Center - Age: 20 - 2020-21 Team: HC Davos (Swiss National League) - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

The second overage pick of the 2020 draft class comes in a bit ahead of the other picks so far. As he is 20, he is eligible to jump into North American pro hockey in the AHL. However, he is signed with HC Davos through this season so it will not happen right away. But he could come over soon after that. Baumgartner is not big but he has proven to have a solid offensive game with HC Davos. He went from one goals and four points in 20 games in his National League debut in 2018-19 to seven goals and 27 points in 37 games in 2019-20, and he already has two goals in four games to start this season. It is still a massive question as to how he could handle the North American game. But like Yegor Sharangovich, it will not be too long before we start getting some answers.

#40 - Akira Schmid - Goaltender - Age: 20 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Sioux City (USHL) - 2019 Rank: 25 - EP Profile

Schmid had a very good 2018-19 season. He did not have a very good 2019-20 season. Injuries cut it short to begin with. When he did play, it did not go well. He put up just an 89.1% overall save percentage in six games with Omaha and an overall save percentage of only 88.8% in seven games with Sioux City. His rough 2019-20 campaign is reflected in his ranking as he went from being in the Top 25 last year to dropping fifteen spots down in this year. Schmid is expected to return to Sioux City for 2020-21. Hopefully he manages to bounce back with better health and performances.

#39 - Michael Vukojevic - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 19 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Kitchener (OHL) - 2019 Rank: 30 - EP Profile

Vukojevic did not have a bad season with Kitchener, but he was the victim of movement elsewhere in this year’s list to end up 39th. The defensive-minded defenseman continued to play big minutes for Kitchener, continued to rack up a bit of production (30 points), and wore an ‘A’ for his OHL team. It was a fine season. So how did he drop nine spots? As you’ll see, some bigger names fell down into this range, others moved up further, and some new names on the list had to go somewhere. Vukojevic ranking in this spot on the list is more of a case of circumstances than poor performance. We’ll see how he does in Kitchener assuming there is an OHL season. Who knows? He may even be a captain there.

#38 - Patrick Moynihan - Center - Age: 19 - 2020-21 Team: Providence (Hockey East) - 2019 Rank: 37 - EP Profile

Moynihan was seen as a shrewd pick by the Devils in the sixth round of the 2019 draft. His freshman year with Providence speaks as to why that was the case. In his first season in pro hockey, Moynihan put up 13 goals and eight assists in 34 games. What is notable about that is that Moynihan finished third on the team in goals with 13, his 21 points was the sixth most on the Friars, and he led the whole team in power play goals with 10. That last fact also means that he worked his way onto a special team already, which is another bonus. It is still unclear as to what Moynihan’s future could be at the professional level in terms of role and upside. However, he has had a good start to his NCAA career. If he builds on this, then do not be shocked if he starts moving up on this list in the coming years.

#37 - Brandon Gignac - Center - Age: 22 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 20 - EP Profile

Gignac had a very promising 2018-19 season that featured a point per game rate over 0.5 on a bad Binghamton team and his NHL debut. Instead of moving on up, his 2019-20 season moved Gignac down. Gignac was not as productive with just four goals and fourteen points in 36 games. As far as I can tell, he did not suffer a massive injury; he ended up becoming a healthy scratch on occasion in Binghamton. That is a red flag for a prospect in his third year in professional hockey. His skating stride may be nice and he may some nice skills, but he needs to bounce back quickly. The Devils have a lot of other center and center-eligible players in the organization that could surge past Gignac. If they have not already. Based on this list, a couple of them already did. And he just edged Moynihan in the ranking.

#36 - Nate Schnarr - Center - Age: 21 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

Schnarr was included in the package from Arizona in exchange for Taylor Hall. Of the assets involved, Schnarr was the least enticing as he was third round pick from Arizona back in 2017 and just entered professional hockey. Schnarr did manage to stay in the AHL for all of 2019-20 with 22 games with Tuscon and 21 games with Binghamton. He did have some minor injuries to deal with and he was moved around within the lineup as opposed to be straight-up scratched. Next season will go some way to show how he fits in on the AHL team - assuming there is a 2020-21 season for the AHL.

#35 - Eetu Pakkila - Left Winger - Age: 21 - 2020-21 Team: Ilves (Liiga) - 2019 Rank: 33 - EP Profile

The 2018 seventh rounder has flown under the radar somewhat in Finland. In 2019-20, he managed to get into 39 games with Ilves’ senior team in the Liiga. He scored six goals and five assists, which is not bad at all for a 20 year old winger averaging about 11:28 per game. Ilves loaned him to KOOVEE in Mestis and Pakkila was quite productive with five goals and nine assists in 18 games. So far this season, he is on the main roster with Ilves and it has gone well so far. He has two goals and two assists in seven games so far. He is still playing limited minutes as he has only averaged 10:55 per game so far this season. Pakkila is at least trying to make the most of his opportunities. Should he grow in his role with Ilves, then interest in him should also grow - both from the New Jersey organization and the fans.

#34 - Jaromir Pytlik - Center - Age: 19 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

The Devils drafted Pytlik in the fourth round in this year’s draft and this was seen as a solid pick. Pytlik transferred to Soo from the Czech Republic last season and his play there garnered plenty of attention. The big-framed forward looked strong at the net, he skated well, and he demonstrated he can play on and off the puck. Pytlik is seen as an all-around player. Will he be well-rounded enough to play in the NHL and how well-rounded will he be there are good questions. They may go a long way as to why he was picked in the fourth round along with a not-amazing level of production with the Greyhounds (50 points in 56 games, which is not bad but many better prospects exceeded that.) Still, he rated well enough compared to most of his other non-first round just-drafted players.

#33 - Gilles Senn - Goaltender - Age: 24 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 42 - EP Profile

Senn had a campaign to remember in 2019-20. Due to injuries in New Jersey, he was called up and managed to get into two NHL games. You never forget your NHL debut. Senn played in 27 games and while his 90.1% overall save percentage is not all that good on its own, it was better than some of the other goalies Binghamton had last season. We cannot ignore the fact that he never appeared in the ECHL; he stayed with the AHL except when he was in the NHL. Clearly, he is ahead of Cormier on the depth chart and he is ahead of most of the other goalies on this list. While the Devils signed Wedgewood, Senn could still end up being the first call-up goaltender should the need arise. This will be Senn’s last appearance on the Top 25 Under 25 list, but his 2019-20 season deserved a boost from his 2019 rank. He has the second biggest gain from the 2019 list.

#32 - Daniil Misyul - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 20 - 2020-21 Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) - 2019 Rank: 26 - EP Profile

Misyul was part of the group of large and physical defensive defensemen drafted in the middle of the Devils’ 2019 draft class. Misyul had an interesting 2019-20 season. He played the entire season with Lokomotiv in the KHL; he did not appear for their junior squad in the MHL. Further, he was part of the Russian roster that did win Silver at the 2020 WJCs. However, he did not play much for Lokomotiv in terms of minutes. Per the KHL website, he averaged 8:49 in his 35 games with the KHL squad. His average ice time this season with Lokomotiv has been fewer than that too. Again, Russian hockey culture usually has younger players play fewer minutes than you would like. He will likely get more minutes in the future as he is signed with Lokomotiv through the 2022-23 season. In time, the Devils may have a capable defender when his contract does run out. That said, until he does something worthy of extensive praise, he is not likely to get a lot of attention if and when he comes over.

#31 - Arseni Gritsyuk - Left Winger - Age: 19 - 2020-21 Team: Avangard Omsk (KHL) / Omskie Yastreby (MHL) - 2019 Rank: 36 - EP Profile

Arseni Gritsyuk went off for Omskie Yastreby last season. In 59 games, Gritsyuk scored 28 goals and 35 assists to finish ninth in the entire junior league in points. He finished second to surprise 2020 first round pick Yegor Chinakhov on his team. Gritsyuk also did well enough to warrant two games in the VHL, which is Russia’s minor/reserve league and he scored a goal and two assists. The style of play in the MHL is not as intense as the Canadian major junior leagues. Regardless, he excelled in his first season since being drafted and that should be rewarded with more attention. To that end, I am pleased to see his ranking rise in 2020. Gritsyuk started this season with Omskie Yastreby, but he has more recently made his KHL debut with Avangard Omsk. He has not played a lot and he is still searching for his first KHL point. However, it is a sign that he is rising in his organization. When his contract ends this season, it will be interesting to see if the Devils make an effort to bring him over and see what he can do in North America. The production so far in the MHL suggests he could possibly be an offensive contributor. If he can show signs of that in the KHL, then the possibility will be greater.

#30 - Nico Daws - Goaltender - Age: 19 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Guelph (OHL) - 2019 Rank: N/A - EP Profile

As a surprise, the last non-first round member of the 2020 draft class ranked as high as 30th on this year’s list. (He also just edged out Gritsyuk for 30th.) I think a lot of that has to do with the season he just had, which was rewarded with being drafted in 2020. Goaltender Nico Daws was fantastic last season. He posted the OHL’s best overall save percentage among qualified goalies with a 92.4%. He was named the Goaltender of the Year and was named to the OHL’s First All-Star Team. He ended up making Canada’s World Junior Team, which took home Gold last year. If there is an overage goalie to take, then this is as good of a resume you can ask for from one. Much less one available in the third round of a NHL Draft. As he is 19, we could see Daws in the AHL as early as next season. Should Daws repeat his level of performance with Guelph in 2020-21, then the hype may be even higher next year.

#29 - Josh Jacobs - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 24 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 27 - EP Profile

Josh Jacobs is on his final Top 25 Under 25 list at 29th. Jacobs has been a very solid defender for Binghamton. He has also been solidly with Binghamton since the move from Albany. Jacobs has been called up two times since going professional in 2016-17. He played in one game in New Jersey in 2018-19 and two games in 2019-20. That does not suggest he factors into the team’s future plans. As it is, his path to the NHL might be as a call-up to replace injured players. Even then, he may not be the first choice just like he was not the first choice last season (Colton White was called up before him). In the meantime, Jacobs will likely be one of the the experienced leaders of the Binghamton blueline in 2020-21. That is good for the B-Devils, at least.

#28 - Fabian Zetterlund - Right Winger - Age: 21 - 2020-21 Team: AIK (Allsvenskan - Loan), Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 18 - EP Profile

Fabian Zetterlund came into the 2019-20 season with the expectation of doing well as a rookie with Binghamton. That did not really come to pass. Zetterlund ended up in the bottom six forwards for Binghamton and he put up eight goals, eleven assists, and 84 shots in 46 games. It is not terrible, but it is also not impressive either. My understanding is that he needed to adjust to the AHL game; so he could make further gains in 2020-21. I hope he does. I do believe in his talent and it does help him that he plays a position of some need in the organization. I think the Devils also believe in his talent as they just loaned him out for a second time to AIK of the Allsvenskan to get him active. (His first loan to Vita Hasten was broken off by the Devils after a couple of games.) If and when there is an AHL season, I hope his time in AIK will allow him to hit ground running and work his way up the lineup in Binghamton.

#27 - Colton White - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 23 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 22 - EP Profile

Colton White finished just ahead of Zetterlund in this year’s list. I can respect it. Whereas Zetterlund had his struggles in Binghamton, White was securing his spot in Binghamton. He even received a call up to New Jersey that lasted six games. While Jacobs may have had the better season in Binghamton, that White was called up ahead of him and for longer suggests he is higher in the organization according to the decision makers. To that end, I can see how he is rated ahead of Jacobs on this list. Like Jacobs, I expect White to continue to be a more experienced puck mover for a blueline that will add Walsh, Bahl, and Okhotyuk - and maybe even Smith. Like Jacobs, I think his role with respect to New Jersey will mostly stay as a call-up. Still, it is something.

#26 - Nikita Okhotyuk - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 19 - Likely 2020-21 Team: Binghamton - 2019 Rank: 32 - EP Profile

The final outsider on this year’s list is the 2019 second round draft pick, Nikita Okhotyuk. Okhotyuk had a fine season with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL. While his production did not increase by an appreciable amount, he is not on the ice to help produce points. He is on the ice to play defense, throw checks, and ideally do both. He did a lot of that for the OHL’s (and Canadian major junior hockey’s) best team. Due to a finger injury, he could only do so for 39 games, but those 39 games went well enough. Unlike Vukojevich, McCarthy, and Misyul, we can see him take a step up in his career in about a month or so. Given the fact that the AHL is starting no earlier than December 4 - Okhotyuk’s birthday - he could very well start 2020-21 in Binghamton. His EP profile even lists him as a Binghamton player. These lists tend to push up players looking to go pro as opposed to staying in junior unless they have exceptional upside. Seeing him move up six spots from the 2019 list is consistent with that. He made a couple of Top 25s from the voters. Should he make his AHL debut and establish himself quickly, he will likely rise up to the Top 25 list next year 2021.


The Rankings

In the interest of disclosure, here is how everyone ranked the players who are in this post. Consistent with past surveys, the Community is a compilation of all 245 responses that were scored and organized by final rank.

The 2020 AAtJ Top 25 Under 25 Rankings for The Outsiders
The 2020 AAtJ Top 25 Under 25 Rankings for The Outsiders
The People Who Matter

Your Turn

Thank you for reading through all 27 players that did not make this year’s Top 25 Devils Under 25 list. Next week, I will reveal the first part of the Top 25 Devils Under 25; the five players who finished 25th through 21st on the list.

In the meantime, I would like you to discuss the rankings of the players in this post. Again, this is an exercise in perception. Please be kind when discussing other people’s rankings. But please share your thoughts about these 27 players and where they were ranked in the comments. Were you surprised to see Popugaev, Schmid, Sissons, and Gignac fall as far as they did? Do you think it was warranted to see Senn, Gritsyuk, and Okhotyuk rise at least five spots from their ranking last year? Who on this list do you think will make the Top 25 next year? Thank you for reading.