Once again, it is time to complete the offseason tradition at All About the Jersey (and other SBN blogs). It is time to reveal the Top 25 New Jersey Devils players under the age of 25. Or, the Top 25 Devils Under 25 for short. This is a process where we ask and answer one simple question (as Brian did a couple of weeks ago): Who are the best young players in the New Jersey Devils organization? This is an intentionally open-ended question for the People Who Matter. Some will favor potential over all else. Some will lean towards guys who have made it and rank them ahead of future players. Some will favor some positions and roles over others. Some will do some combination of the three or something entirely different. The point is that there is no one true way to do this; there will always be debate, discussion, and discord about who is the best. Still, it is a good way to get a sense of how the players are regarded among the AAtJ writers and the People Who Matter.
As with past years. we took votes among the staff and asked you, the People Who Matter, to participate in our community survey. A weighted average of all votes determined the order of all under-25 players in the system as of August 1, 2022. Any ties will be broken by whoever had the higher ranking by the community survey.
This first post goes over the Outsiders to this year’s Top 25 Devils Under 25 ranking. The Devils have had plenty of draft picks, a handful of signings, and a fairly young team. New Jersey has had a plethora of younger players. Offseason moves and age have seen some departures, including several players who were in the Top 25 last year. Still, 49 players are in the system as of August 1, 2022 who are 25 years old or younger as of September 15, 2022. Some of these players are brand new to the organization and will need to earn their way to improve their perception. Others are players who have had a rough 2021-22 or shown to not show much for the future. Few others are seen as long shots. By no means is being an Outsider a death sentence for one’s future as a Devil in the eyes of the fans. Players can and do rise up from the Top 25 as much as they can fall out of it. While remote, the possibility of a late bloomer does exist (see: Blake Coleman). By no means should everyone in this post be written off for good. As ever, you are free to disagree (or agree) with the rankings and discuss their position in the comments.
Now let’s get to the list. In reverse order, these are the Outsiders of the 2022 All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils players Under 25 List from 49th to 26th.
#49 - Zakhar Bardakov - Center - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) - 2021 Rank: 44 - EliteProspects (EP) Profile
New to the bottom ranking is 2021 seventh round selection Zakhar Bardakov. He was profiled as a player who was a “menace” in Russian hockey. Last season saw him move to SKA St. Petersburg. In his favor, he played mostly in the KHL. He also did not take a boatload of penalties like he did in the MHL. Not in his favor, he was only able to get into 19 games for SKA (he had 2 VHL games), he put up a goal, two assists, 17 shots, and averaged just 11:46 per game. Even when he did play, it was not for a lot and he did not contribute much. Bardakov re-signed with SKA back in May through the 2023-24 season. The hope will be whether he develops further in the next two seasons to warrant any kind of move to North American pro hockey. So far, it looks like a distant dream more than anything else.
#48 - Jérémy Groleau - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 22 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Utica Comets (AHL) / Adirondack Thunder (ECHL) - 2021 Rank: 50 - EP Profile
To my surprise, last year’s runner up to the bottom spot ended up being the runner up to the bottom spot this season. Also, he managed to stay with Utica for the whole season with 50 games played. He even chipped in 2 goals and 9 points. However, Pick224’s estimated ice time put him at just 16.38 per game, well behind the likes of Walsh and Bahl. Groleau remains as the U-25 defenseman in Utica with the least amount of potential. The Comets are likely adding Simon Nemec to the blueline for 2022-23. While AHL teams, like NHL teams, absolutely use more than six defensemen for depth purposes, Groleau is going to have to fight for his job yet again in Utica. If not, Adirondack awaits.
#47 - Jaromir Pytlik - Center - Age: 20 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Rytíři Kladno (Czechia) - 2021 Rank: 37 - EP Profile
Pytlik had a big drop in the rankings this year and I cannot say it is unwarranted. Pytlik was signed to KalPa for last season. After two pointless games and minimal ice time, Pytlik was loaned to IPK in the Mestis. He made three more appearances for KalPa and contributed two shots on net and, I believe, went back to IPK. In total, he played in 12 games for IPK and scored three goals and two assists. In December, he was transferred to Jaromir Jagr’s Rytíři Kladno in the Czech league. He played in 30 games for the team and five games to secure the team’s spot in the top league for 2022-23. He provided just three goals and three assists across all 35 games. Pytlik is signed through next season. I was wrong that his rights were up back in June. But Pytlik is going to have to have a real turnaround in Czechia next season if he wants to improve his chances for a pro contract. At least he will play for the same team for a change over the last two seasons.
#46 - Artem Barabosha - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
The last pick of the 2022 NHL Draft comes in at 46 on the 2022 Top 25 Under 25 list. Barabosha developed in the CSKA Moscow team and plays for their MHL team. He is regarded as a physical, defensive-minded defenseman who has not produced a lot in the MHL. That he is not lighting up the MHL does not bode well for any productive future and may keep him as a one-way player. However, if he is quite good at that one-way player and improves his mobility, then he may have a future in the pros. Where in pro hockey that would be remains to be seen. Barabosha is signed through 2023-24 so it will be in Russia for the now. We shall see whether he gets time in the VHL or even spot duty with the KHL team next season.
#45 - Viktor Hurtig - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 20 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Michigan State (Big Ten - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 47 - EP Profile
I did not pick up on the fact that Hurtig was looking to go to North America. The Swedish defender is set to become a Spartan later this year. To that end, he maintained his eligibility by remaining on the junior teams at Växjö Lakers HC and Mora IK, where he ended up during this past season. He was at least productive for both teams. He put up 11 points in 22 games with Lakers and 7 points in 22 games with Mora, which is hardly something to sneeze at. Of course, that was a 19-year old Hurtig in a U-20 league. College hockey will provide a stiffer challenge in addition to older, more fully developed opponents. How he does in the Big Ten will go a long way for how the tall defender’s future may look. It will take some time to see if he turns into a more legitimate prospect, but college is perfect for that.
#44 - Yegor Zaitsev - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 24 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Dynamo Moscow (KHL) - 2021 Rank: 43 - EP Profile
Zaitsev continued to be a regular on Dynamo Moscow in the KHL. He was fourth on the blueline in average ice time per game with 16:36. He threw a ton of hits, although I cannot tell you how accurate KHL scorers are with hits, he seemingly played a physical game. He added just two goals and nine points in 45 games. Between that and his 53 shots on net in the season, I suspect offense is not his main role in Moscow. Zaitsev would be a player that I think more fans would have a lot more hope for if he was not under contract in the KHL for so long. This season will be the final one on his current deal. If he has designs on North America, then the best time to sign would be after this season. Then again, he will be 25 by that point and the Devils are not short on defensemen with a future. Especially younger defensemen. This will be the final entry for Zaitsev on the Top 25 Under 25 due to his age. At the least, the seventh round pick from 2017 has a career in hockey.
#43 - Artem Shlaine - Center - Age: 20 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Michigan Tech (CCHA - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 45 - EP Profile
Shlaine did improve upon his production from his freshman year at UConn. Shlain put up 7 goals and 10 assists, notable gains over the one goal and eight assists he had in the prior season. Shlaine finished seventh on the team in points, finishing around his fellow sophmores John Spetz and Hudson Schandor. Shlaine was also particularly good at the faceoff dot, with a winning percentage of 57.6%. However, Shlaine opted to leave UConn and go through the transfer portal. My quick understanding is that UConn’s roster was set to have a lot of turnover. Rather getting even more minutes on what could be a very different team, Shlaine looked for a different situation. He found it at Michigan Tech. We shall see if it goes well for him. Maybe Hockey East is a better conference than the CCHA; but the key is that Shlaine needs to continue to play significant hockey as a junior to further his development. Where that would be is not that important. Until he breaks out, though, the 2020 fifth round pick will be continue to be seen fairly low on this list.
#42 - Charlie Leddy - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Boston College (Hockey East - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
The next member of the 2022 draft class to make the list in reverse order is defenseman Charlie Leddy. Leddy is a product of the United States National Team Development Program. As such, he has been a part of their U-17 and U-18 teams and performed at the World U-18 Championships with the Americans. Leddy likes to be patient on the puck and draw opponents away before making passes. His low amounts of production - 0 goals, 17 assists, 55 games last season - suggest that Leddy is going to be a one-way defender as he develops. That could still mean a career in pro hockey. He is set to go to a strong hockey program in Boston College. The Devils can have him develop there and see what they have in him in about two to four years. Good for managing assets, not so good for a high ranking in the Top 25 Under 25 barring some massive growth and/or attention.
#41 - Daniil Misyul - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) - 2021 Rank: 33 - EP Profile
Misyul completed his second full season in the KHL last season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. While he played in 41 games, he did not play very much given his average ice time of 13:32 per game. That was the seventh most among the seven defenders who played at least 40 games for Lokomotiv last season. And Misyul added very little to the attack with just 27 shots on net, one goal, and two assists. He will turn 22 this October and he could stand to get a bump in responsibilities in 2022-23. He will also be out of contract after this season. He is quite large at 6’3” and he is still fairly young, so a good season showing some room for growth may be worth a flyer in the future. Of course, this could lead to Lokomotiv or another KHL team to lock down Misyul for their own defense. Still a long shot for an ELC, but not nearly as long as, say, Zaitsev.
#40 - Jack Dugan - Left Winger - Age: 24 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Utica Comets (AHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
This is the debut and only appearance for Jack Dugan on the AAtJ Top 25 Devils Under 25 list. He will turn 25 in March so, no matter what, he will at least age out. Patrick Moynihan and Tyce Thompson will be familiar with Dugan as they all played together at Providence College at one point. Dugan was a point machine for the Friars. He put up 10 goals and 39 points as a freshman and then 10 goals and 52 points as a sophomore. He was a First Team All-American for the East, for Hockey East, and USCHO; as well as a finalist for the Hobey Baker award. Las Vegas signed him after 2019-20. In a COVID-shortened season, Dugan put up 10 goals and 33 points in his rookie AHL season, finishing second on the Henderson Silver Knights. Unfortunately, he struggled to stay on the ice last season for Henderson and put up just six goals and 18 points in 35 games. Las Vegas did not qualify him, he hit free agency, and now the Devils are giving him a chance. He’ll likely start in Utica and play the role that Chase De Leo and A.J. Greer played last season - an AHL experienced forward to help the younger players along. Should he do well, then he can join the other forwards as a potential call-up. If not, well, it was a one-season deal anyway. His low ranking reflects his low potential at his relatively old age of 24. But, hey, stranger things have happened.
#39 - Josh Filmon - Left Winger - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Swift Current Broncos (WHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
Another debut from the 2022 draft class comes in and the sixth round winger cracked the top 40. Josh Filmon was a productive player on a really bad Swift Current team last season. While 23 goals and 45 points in 67 games does not seem like a lot, he did finish third on the team in points and first in goals. Filmon did well enough to attract Hockey Canada’s attention to name him to the 2022 World U-18 Championship team. He even got into three games too. Not bad for a sixth round pick. Filmon is fairly tall, quite lean, sneaky quick, and moves well away from the puck. The next step for Filmon, aside from gaining weight and strength, is to go back to Swift Current and help the Broncos not be terrible. Should he do that and his production blossoms further, then this is a prospect to keep an eye on for the future.
#38 - Cole Brady - Goaltender - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: UMass (Hockey East - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 40 - EP Profile
Cole Brady did not have the best of seasons for Arizona State in 2021-22. Brady could not challenge Ben Kraws for the #1 job in the net. As the #2 goalie, Brady played in 12 games and posted a total save percentage of 90% - a drop in 1% from last season, where he was the best goalie in terms of save percentage. Definitely not a good sign of progress for the sophomore. Rather than try again for a third season, Brady decided to go through the transfer portal. He decided on UMass, which is a logical spot for him. UMass leaned hard on Matt Murray but he exhausted his eligibility after last season; and the returning goalies had four appearances between them. UMass needed a goalie with some NCAA experience and Brady provides that. Now it is up to him to show that he can handle a bigger workload at a very good UMass program and bounce back from his 2021-22 season.
#37 - Case McCarthy - Right-shooting Defenseman - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Boston University (Hockey East - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 46 - EP Profile
Case McCarthy had a relatively big 2021-22 season as a junior. He set a college career high in points with five goals and nine assists in 26 games. Four of those five goals and an assist came in November, which helped him get named Hockey East Defender of the month. He did miss some time due to injury last season, but returned for the Beanpot - which BU did win. As an older player on the blueline, he will be an assistant captain for the Terriers next season. With a new coach coming in as well as McCarthy entering his senior year, the goal will be to one of their top defenders. Then we shall see whether it is enough to warrant a pro contract with New Jersey - or perhaps with someone else. Defensive-minded defenders tend not warrant a lot of attention on the free market, but New Jersey may want to make the effort to recruit him a little if they do intend on signing him after BU’s season ends. From then, we’ll see how his game translates to pro hockey in a prospect pool loaded with defenders. But the big jump in ranking does speak to there being a little more hope in that than there was last year.
#36 - Petr Hauser - Right Winger - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: HC Sparta Praha (WHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
Another debut from the 2022 draft class, Petr Hauser comes in at #36. This was likely helped out by his selection to the Czechia U-20 team for the re-scheduled 2022 World Junior Championships. While Hauser did not play in a featured role and averaged fewer than five minutes per game, he did make the team. That is an achievement in of itself. The 6’4”, 205 pound winger is certainly large, and he was a scoring monster for Praha’s U-20 team last season with 59 points in 41 games. Hauser signed an extension with Sparta Praha, so it may be a few seasons before he can come to America. Should Hauser can make and stay on Sparta Praha’s main team next season, then do not be shocked if he starts creeping up this list. He may end up being more than just a guy taken in the fifth round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
#35 - Nikola Pasic - Left Winger - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Södertälje SK (HockeyAllsvenskan) - 2021 Rank: 28 - EP Profile
Pasic went from just getting into the Top 25 Under 25 in 2020 at 25, to just missing out at 28 last year, to 35 this year. The winger just had a rough go of it in the SHL. After producing real well for BIK Karlsroga in 2019-20, he was extended by Linköping HC. He exclusively played for them in 2020-21 in the SHL, which was a good sign for the young winger even if he was not productive. However, last season went quite poorly. In 13 games with Linköping HC, he averaged 8:30 per game and put up just 6 shots. It was enough for the team to send Pasic to another team in the HockeyAllsvenskan. In December, he was sent to Södertälje SK. They ended up being one of the worst teams in Sweden’s second division of hockey. Pasic did regain some of his scoring form with 6 goals and 15 points in 29 games. He contributed four assists in a relegation playoffs that Södertälje SK did win over IF Troga-Ljungby; tied for second most on the team. Pasic will remain with the team for this season before his contract ends after this season. Should the winger want to regain some hope for another contract in the SHL or even one abroad, he will need to have an excellent season. For his sake, hopefully, the team will be better as a whole too.
#34 - Brian Halonen - Left Winger - Age: 23 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Utica Comets (AHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
The Devils signed Brian Halonen to an ELC after his senior year with Michigan Tech ended. Halonen was a decent if not impressive scorer in the USHL or in his first three years with Michigan Tech. However, last season a was a breakout campaign. He put up 21 goals and 44 points in 37 games. This garnered him NCAA All-American Second Team in the West; CCHA All-Star First Team; and NCAA All-USCHO Third Team honors. He was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker too. Halonen did not wait to join the organization though. After signing with the Devils, he played in 12 games for Utica and contributed two goals and one assist. He even appeared in two playoff games. While those are unimpressive in a short debut, he at least got a taste of how the pro game goes even at the AHL level. This may better prepare him for what will likely be his first full season in Utica. It remains to be seen how much potential he really has, if at all, for the next level. Even if he turns out to be a solid hand in the AHL, then that has some value for the Comets.
#33 - Tyler Brennan - Goaltender - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Prince George Cougars (WHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
Another debut from the 2022 draft class and Tyler Brennan came in quite high. Higher than I expected, but high nonetheless. Brennan has been with Prince George since 2019 and he played the most games for them last year. On the one hand, an 89.9% total save percentage in 39 games is not that impressive. On the other hand, he is large, he is dedicated to the crease, and he did impressive in Prince George’s short playoff appearance with a 95.4% save percentage. Brennan did not feature for Canada nationally, but he was on the roster at the 2021 World U-18 Championships. He is a goalie, so the important bit is that he is in a place where he can get plenty of action, face plenty of shots, and work on his mechanics. He will get that at Prince George next season.
#32 - Daniil Orlov - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 18 - Likely 2022-23 Team: MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva (MHL) - 2021 Rank: N/A - EP Profile
Another debut from the 2002 draft class and the other fourth round pick, Daniil Orlov, just edged out Brennan in the rankings. Orlov may be seen as a defensive defenseman. However, he did put up 9 goals and 30 points for Sakhalinskiye Akuly in the MHL last season, which was an improvement over his 2020-21 season by almost double. Orlov moves well and can handle himself in tight spaces on defense, both with his body and his hands. He was transferred to MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva, so he will need to prove himself in a new organization and perhaps try to show the higher-ups that he can play beyond the MHL sooner rather than later. Orlov is not yet signed to a pro contract per his EP profile, so he may need to do that to get that opportunity. Although if New Jersey likes him a lot, then they could opt to bring him over much sooner. It is still a fine spot to come in at on a list like this; I think he has his fans already much like Brennan.
By the way, Orlov was in a tie, so I used the community ranking to break it. He was ten spots behind this player in the survey results, so this forward beat him out by that method:
#31 - Patrick Moynihan - Center - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Providence (Hockey East - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 30 - EP Profile
Patrick Moynihan rose up quite a bit in last year’s rankings on the back of a productive, 15 points in 17 games campaign. Being part of a gold medal winning WJC team surely helped then too. Moynihan’s junior year was not that bad but also not as impressive. He put up 11 goals and 25 points in 38 games to finish fourth on the team in scoring. He put up 96 shots on goal and even 6 PPGs. However, I think there are those who expected more after his 21-point season as a freshman and his near PPG pace as a sophomore. Moynihan did play a bottom six role on the USNTDP but some his teammates believed he had a larger offensive skillset than his role suggested. There have been hints of that in college. Moynihan will get one more chance as a senior to show it off before going pro. It is in his best interest to put those skills together and turn it into points and results for the Friars to put himself in a good position to get an ELC after this coming season. I think he can do it. We shall see if he does.
#30 - Topias Vilén - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 19 - 2021-22 Team: Pelicans (Liiga) - 2021 Rank: 42 - EP Profile
Vilén was one of the biggest risers from last year’s list. The fact that the Devils did give him an ELC likely helped. After all, many of the ones below him are playing for one, hoping for one when their current contract ends, or just got drafted so it is too early anyway. As a teenager, Vilén stayed with Pelicans for nearly the entire season. He made 50 appearances with an average ice time per game of 14:47. While that put him in a tie for seventh most on the list, three defenders did play 25 or fewer games. His 87 attempts (I think Liiga counts shots as shots attempted, not shots on net) and 6 assists will not make anyone think he is an offensive force in the making. However, clawing out a regular role even with relatively little ice time at age 19 is a good feat. It probably forced the Devils to get him on their books before Pelicans could extend him or some other team came in for him. Per EP, the plan for Vilén is to loan him back to Pelicans for the 2022-23 season. That probably makes more sense than have him fight for minutes on a crowded Utica blueline or send him to a lesser league in the ECHL so he can get ice time. The thing to look for are gains over this season. Does his ice time increase? Does he put up more attempts and points? Does he become a more relied on player for Pelicans? If he does, do not be shocked if there’s a push to put him in the Top 25 next year.
#29 - Aarne Talvitie - Center/Left Winger - Age: 23 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Utica Comets (AHL) - 2021 Rank: 31 - EP Profile
Aarne Talvitie impressed many with his freshman year at Penn State. However, a critical injury at the 2019 WJCs seemingly threw off his development. While he would return to action, it has been a kind of struggle with only a few flashes of what he did when he came stateside a few years back. The good news is that Talvitie did play a full season with Utica last season. He played in 68 games, scored 12 goals and 24 points, and put up 61 shots on net. That is better than his campaign with Binghamton in the shortened and confusing 2021 season. He finished tied for thirteenth on the team in scoring as the center was behind many others at his position in Nate Schnarr, Joe Gambardella, Frederik Gauthier, Ryan Schmelzer, and Chase De Leo. Only Gambardella is returning, so the door may be open for Talvitie to take a larger role and work his way up towards consideration as a call-up. Which he really should do as this is the final season of his ELC. Given he was a seventh round draft pick in 2017, perhaps becoming a fringe call-up is a fine result. Even if it does not match the promise he showed with Penn State when he first came over.
#28 - Michael Vukojevic - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 21 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Utica Comets (AHL) - 2021 Rank: 27 - EP Profile
Michael Vukojevic is large, physical defenseman who just completed his first proper AHL season. 2021 was shortened and everyone played differing schedules due to COVID restrictions among other issues. That was his rookie season. Last season, he played in 54 games for 17 points. He also got a four game stint in Adirondack, which is not exactly encouraging, but he did play his way back onto the roster. While not much of an offensive player (he had 45 shots on net last season), he did outscore Kevin Bahl and Nikita Okhotiuk by a little bit. And he did have a regular role, although Pick224 suggests his estimated ice time per game was fewer than Groleau’s estimated minutes. Still, the man is on the blueline as part of that 2019 draft class with Okhotiuk and Walsh that is at least in Utica and under contract with New Jersey. If there was a time to have a breakout season, then this coming one would be it. Not for his ranking on a list like this one, but his ELC ends after this one and the current perception is that he could be the first on the outside of the other young defenders in Utica.
#27 - Jakub Málek - Goaltender - Age: 20 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Ilves (Liiga) - 2021 Rank: 48 - EP Profile
Jakub Málek had a huge 2021-22 and rocketed up this list accordingly. When he was drafted, he was the #1B goalie on VHK Vestin of the Czechia second league. David Gaba was the #1A goalie. In this past season, Málek challenged him and outplayed him for the right to be the clear-cut starter as he played in 31 season games and 13 playoff games. What’s more is that Málek had one of the best save percentages in the entire league at 93.2% for the season. This continued into the playoffs with a 93.3% in 13 games. Even though international play did not go well for him, Málek was great. He was named to the All-Star team of the second league in Czechia as well as winning awards for the Best Goaltender and Best Junior. The Czechia second league may not be a high-profile or high-quality league, but at least Málek dominated it. He was so good, he attracted the attention of Ilves of Liiga, who signed him through 2023-24. That will be a great step up for the goalie in terms of a challenge between the quality of the league and the need to adjust to it. Should Málek stick in Liiga, then the Devils may have an interesting goaltender prospect for the future. If we noticed him enough to think he is a legit prospect, then surely the Devils do as well, right?
#26 - Ethan Edwards - Left-shooting Defenseman - Age: 20 - Likely 2022-23 Team: Michigan (Big Ten - NCAA) - 2021 Rank: 38 - EP Profile
The final member of the Outsiders is another riser from last year’s list: Ethan Edwards. Edwards had a fairly productive USHL season with Sioux City in 2020-21. It was known he would join an absolutely stacked Michigan team for 2021-22. What was not as known was how Edwards would take a regular role, keep it, and see it expanded when Owen Power was not available and others stepped up. Edwards put up 11 points in 36 games for the Wolverines. He’s had some strong runs of play for Michigan (example one, example two), although his tournament play was not as praise-worthy. Still, per Alex Drain at MGoBlog, at his best, his play resembled Luke Hughes and at his worst, he looked like an overmatched freshman. The good news: He will be another year older, wiser, and hopefully more consistent and solid for Michigan’s blueline. Should he progress further, he could very well make the Top 25 next year and add another name of prospective defensemen in the pool with a potential future. Until then, he can say he ranked the best among the Outsiders of the 2022 All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils players Under 25.
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 responses that were scored and organized by final rank by the People Who Matter - just like you.
You may be able to work out who made the Top 25 from this alone. And you may disagree with the order. However, I do think it is telling that the Community survey’s Top 25 includes the same 25 names as the ones who did it. The wisdom of crowds can still be useful even for an open-ended ranking like this one. As for the writers, no one really missed the mark by that much, although you do see some ratings of 25 or lower for a handful of guys across this chart. Even there, none of the outsiders received a ranking lower than 21st, which came from me and Chris (and nearly Stephen) for Jakub Málek.
Writing solely for myself, I did have Málek and Moynihan in my Top 25. As you can tell from my write up, I felt Málek’s awesome season stood out enough to warrant an even bigger jump than the one he got. I still want to believe Moynihan has a future as a useful player, even if it is ultimately like the role player he was for the USNTDP. Truthfully, the departures from last year’s list made this year’s list more challenging for me to fill out as I did not think some of the U-25 Devils and Comets did not progress enough to warrant high rankings as they did in the past. I ended up taking a swing on some guys and I could have been convinced on moving Vilén into my 25 as well, seeing as I put him at 26. Still, I am not so shocked at the two guys who were not in my Top 25 making it, although I would really only disagree with one of them.
As far as who they are, you may get to see them when Brian reveals the Top 25 Devils Under 25 list on Tuesday in our traditional five-at-a-time format, starting from who just made it from 25th to 21st.
Thank you for reading through the rankings of the 24 players who did not make the Top 25 this year. Thanks to Jared, Stephen, Nate, Chris, Alex, the People Who Matter who voted in the Community survey, and especially to Brian for organizing this year’s list.
Before Brian begins to reveal the full list in order, I would like you to discuss the rankings of any of the 24 Outsiders in this year’s list. Again, this is all an exercise in perception. Please be kind when discussing other people’s rankings. It is perfectly fine for people have differences of opinions about prospects. That said, please feel free to share your thoughts about these 24 players and where they were ranked in the comments. Who was rated too high in your opinion and why? Who was rated too low in your view and why? Who on this list do you think will make the Top 25 next year? Thank you again for reading.