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Don’t Underestimate Yegor

If this team is to get better next year, it will need some key supporting pieces to supplement star performances. Yegor Sharangovitch looks to be one of those guys.

New Jersey Devils v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Last season, Yegor Sharangovitch had a breakout season, and he was discussed a lot as someone who could be a top 6 winger and produce quality points for the New Jersey Devils for quite some time. Last year, in 54 games he had 30 points, 16 coming as goals. It was a great first step for someone not expected to ever develop into a top 6 guy. But after last year, there was talk of really developing into a quality piece for an up and coming team.

This season, he got off to a slow start, and as a result, sort of fell off the map for a while. But still, through 67 games played, he had 43 points, 22 coming as goals. Like last season, he had exactly one more goal than assist, so he has been highly consistent on that front. Even with the slow start, he still had a 0.64 points per game, whereas last year he ended at 0.55, so it has been an improvement this year.

For the Devils, one area that he really helps with is scoring goals at 5 on 5. As of Thursday, according to Natural Stat Trick, there were 78 forwards with at least 500 minutes at 5v5 who were averaging at least 1 goal per 60 minutes of ice time. That comes out to 2.43 forwards per team if they were spread out equally. The Devils, overall, are slightly above average in this regard, as they have three that are on that list. Jack Hughes is ranked 22nd with 1.28 goals per 60 5v5 minutes. Jesper Bratt is ranked 35th with 1.17 goals per 60 5v5 minutes. And, obviously given what I have been discussing, Yegor cracks the list as well, coming in 77th with 1.01 G/60. Yes, he only just cracks the list here, but we aren’t talking about top guys like Nico or Jack, superstars who you would expect to be there. We are talking about Sharangovitch, someone who you want to be a key piece, but not in the same vein as the top flight guys.

The thing with Sharangovitch, which also really helps, is that he also is better than 1 assist/60 as well at 5 on 5. Of the 78 forwards from that previous list, only 53 also meet the 1 assist/60 threshold as well. Interestingly enough, all three Devils from the previous list also make that 53-man list, which says a lot about how effective Hughes, Bratt, and Sharangovitch have been for New Jersey at 5 on 5 play. You might expect that from the first two, as they have been legit superstars this year for this club, but not from Yegor, yet there he is. That speaks volumes about how he has been offensively and what he brings to the table for the Devils.

Of course, Yegor is also only 23 years old, same age as Bratt, so there is still room for improvement, like we have seen this year. By the end of next season, he is someone who could definitely be a strong piece on a team hopefully, at that point, pushing for playoff wins. And it will be very interesting if that comes true, because that is when his current contract expires. As per Cap Friendly, he is on a bridge deal making $2 million a year right now. If he continues to be someone who can produce both a goal and an assist per 60 5v5 minutes, if not more, then that will definitely go up after this contract, and it will be up to Tom Fitzgerald (or whoever is the GM at that point, no guarantees the way this team has played) to make sure he stays around. At his age, and with the production and growth that he has shown, he would be coveted by others. Enough to put a qualifying offer on him as a restricted free agent? Unsure about that, but you never know. Nonetheless, I would rather not find out, and instead see him continue to grow and gel with the young core of this franchise that should hopefully lead the New Jersey Devils back into prominence and out of this nightmare of obscurity we have dealt with for far too long. As Mike said yesterday, it seems like this team could be closer than their current record indicates, and it will be players like Sharangovitch who will be the less prominent, but still vital, pieces that make the comeback happen.