As the offseason rolls on, it’s time to bring back the All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils Under 25 list. This year’s edition is the tenth edition of this list. There’s even more optimism that the Devils future is heading in the right direction as young players continue to play big roles in New Jersey and the Devils are coming off of a draft that saw them add in a top defensive prospect. In keeping up with tradition since 2013, this list will also feature your input. We want to hear your opinions and utilize the wisdom of crowds to help come up with our ranking. As we have done in previous years, you will see a survey available to you so you can cast your vote on how you would rank these players. Now let’s take a look at who is eligible, what the 2020 list looked like, and what personnel changes have happened since last year’s list.
The Requirements & The Plan
This list reflects the players in the New Jersey Devils organization as of August 2. This includes restricted free agents that have received a qualifying offer for the 2021-22 season. The main requirement for this list is that the player is under the age of 25 as of September 15. With that requirement, we have another big list with 51 players eligible for ranking. This resembles last year’s list which had 52 players eligible for ranking.
As we have done in the past, the final list will be determined by the rankings of the All About the Jersey writers and the results of the community survey. All rankings will be weighed equally and averaged to determine the order of the final list. The results will be posted in reverse order starting with the list of players outside the top 25. We will reveal the top 25 in sets of five in the following weeks until we finish with the top 5.
The Recap of the 2020 Top 25 Under 25
Nico Hischier once again took the top spot ahead of Jack Hughes. Hischier was a unanimous vote among the writers and community. Jack Hughes wasn’t unanimous for 2nd place but didn’t receive any votes lower than 3rd place. Mackenzie Blackwood jumped into the top 5 with a 3rd place finish. Jesper Bratt and Ty Smith held the 4th and 5th spots respectively for another year. The rest of the top 10 saw the recently drafted Alexander Holtz claim 6th, Pavel Zacha finish in 7th for another year, Jesper Boqvist finish in 8th to stay in the top 10, Nolan Foote finish 9th in his debut, and Dawson Mercer claim 10th in his debut. I’m curious to see how different the order of this year’s top 10 looks after how these players performed in 2020-21 and with the addition of Luke Hughes.
The Devils had another tough season in 2020-21 which provoked General Manager Tom Fitzgerald to make some moves to add young talent. As a result of this the Devils have 9 new additions to the list. This includes 2 players acquired via trade in A.J. Greer and Jonas Siegenthaler. It also includes their most recent 7 draft selections topped by the 4th overall selection, Luke Hughes.
Luke Hughes is the obvious standout name among the new additions. He’s a top defensive prospect with great skating and potential. He immediately became their best prospect among defensemen and possibly overall. After him I’m curious to see where Jonas Siegenthaler is ranked as he is a young player that can contribute to New Jersey right away this season. It will also be interesting to see where the rest of the 2021 Draft class ranks as it features a mix of first-time draft eligible prospects with a few overagers.
While the Devils have added in 9 new players for this year’s list, there are 10 players departing. Some of these players have aged out, have not been re-signed, have been traded, or were lost in the Expansion Draft.
Nathan Bastian is likely the most notable name to be gone as he was picked up by the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft. He’s followed by Nick Merkley and Mikhail Maltsev who were traded recently from the NHL roster. The rest of these players were primarily minor league players that were not retained by the organization.
The List of Players to Pick for the 2021 Top 25 Devils Under 25
Here is the full list of all Devils under the age of 25, their current contract status, their age as of September 15, and their ranking in the 2020 Top 25 Devils Under 25 list. This is in alphabetical order by first name:
The 2021 Under-25 Devils
|Name||Position||DOB||9/15 Age||Contract/Notes||2020 Ranking|
|Arseni Gritsyuk||LW||3/15/2001||20.52||Rights Owned||31|
|Artem Shlaine||C||3/17/2002||19.51||Rights Owned||45|
|Benjamin Baumgartner||C||4/22/2000||21.41||Rights Owned||41|
|Case McCarthy||RD||1/9/2001||20.70||Rights Owned||44|
|Chase Stillman||RW||3/19/2003||18.51||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Cole Brady||G||2/12/2001||20.60||Rights Owned||49|
|Daniil Misyul||LD||10/20/2000||20.92||Rights Owned||32|
|Eetu Pakkila||LW||10/3/1999||21.97||Rights Owned||35|
|Ethan Edwards||LD||6/6/2002||19.29||Rights Owned||42|
|Jakub Malek||G||4/11/2002||19.44||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Jaromir Pytlik||C||9/25/2001||19.99||Rights Owned||34|
|Luke Hughes||LD||9/9/2003||18.03||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Matthew Hellickson||LD||3/21/1998||23.50||Rights Owned||46|
|Nikita Popugaev||RW||11/20/1998||22.84||Rights Owned||50|
|Nikola Pasic||C||10/16/2000||20.93||Rights Owned||25|
|Patrick Moynihan||C||1/23/2001||20.66||Rights Owned||38|
|Samu Salminen||C||4/9/2003||18.45||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Shakir Mukhamadullin||LD||1/10/2002||19.69||Rights Owned||15|
|Topias Vilen||LD||4/1/2003||18.47||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Viktor Hurtig||RD||4/28/2002||19.40||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Yegor Zaitsev||LD||5/3/1998||23.39||Rights Owned||43|
|Zakhar Bardakov||C||2/24/2001||20.57||Rights Owned||N/A|
You should be able to copy this whole table and paste it into Excel, OpenOffice Calc, or Google Sheets. This would allow you to move various names around to help you create your ideal order before heading over to the survey.
The Community Survey
As with past years, John has set up a survey for all of you to rank these players. Here is the link to rank all 51 players. You can drag and drop the names into the order that you want to rank them. You can also select the ranking by number next to each person. Please be sure to rank all of these players so we can get the most accurate ranking possible. For example, we wouldn’t want a player that is likely to be well outside the top 25 to end up with top 10 or 25 votes just because not all of these players were ranked. Once you have ranked all 51 players, hit “Done” and your response will be submitted.
The survey will close on August 17 at 11 AM. This should provide enough time for everyone to think about the list and how they want to rank these players. We will collect the responses after it is closed and combine it with the final rankings from the writers’ list. John will reveal which players are outside the top 25 on August 23. I will begin to reveal the list in sets of five starting with #21 through #25 on August 24.
Give your opinion on these players in the comments below. Feel free to make a case for or against a player. What is your ranking strategy? How do you balance professional experience with raw potential? Thank you for reading and participating in the survey. Have fun ranking these players. I’m excited to see the list that the AATJ community and writers come up with this year.