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 eleventh edition of this list. This year’s list should invoke more optimism as the organization was able to add a top defensive prospect for the second year in a row through the draft. The eight-player 2022 draft class also included a high upside pick in the second round and a highly rated goaltender in the fourth round. 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 2021 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 1. This includes restricted free agents that have received a qualifying offer for the 2022-23 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 49 players eligible for ranking. This is slightly down from last year’s list which had 51 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 2021 Top 25 Under 25
Jack Hughes overtook Nico Hischier for the top spot in last year’s list with 5 first-place votes and 2 second-place votes. Hischier, who had been #1 on the list from 2018 to 2020, fell back to second place for the first time since debuting there on the 2017 list. He did receive 2 first-place votes as well as 5 second-place votes. Jesper Bratt finished in third place on last year’s list as his stock continued to rise. Ty Smith finished in fourth place after a promising rookie season. Of course, we know what happened in his second NHL season and he has since been traded which means our top 5 will have a bit of a shakeup. Rounding out the top 5 on last year’s list was Yegor Sharangovich who had made the jump from #24 on the 2020 ranking. The rest of the top 10 saw Mackenzie Blackwood finish sixth, Pavel Zacha finish seventh, Janne Kuokkanen finish eighth, Luke Hughes finish ninth, and Alexander Holtz finish tenth. We can look forward to the top 10 looking a lot different with Zacha and Kuokkanen also joining Smith as departing players.
As we all know, the Devils had another tough season in 2021-22 which further motivated General Manager Tom Fitzgerald to add young talent through the draft and free agency. As a result of this, the Devils have 11 new additions to the list. This includes the 8 players acquired through the draft, 2 free agent signings, and a waiver pickup. The draft class was headlined by defenseman Simon Nemec who the team selected with the #2 pick. The free agent signings featured forwards Brian Halonen and Jack Dugan. Halonen was an undrafted free agent out of Michigan Tech last spring and Jack Dugan was signed as a free agent from the Vegas Golden Knights organization. That waiver pickup was of course forward Nathan Bastian, who the team had last to the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft, but managed to claim off waivers last November.
I’m curious to see where Simon Nemec gets ranked on this year’s list. He’s a tremendous prospect that will certainly break into the top 10, if not the top 5. It will be interesting to see if he finishes above or below Luke Hughes who is another top defenseman prospect. Another defenseman that figures to debut in the top 25 is Seamus Casey as he has a high upside but with some risk.
While the Devils have added in 11 players for this year’s list, they do see 13 departures. These are players that either aged out, were not re-signed, were prospects who weren’t signed, were traded, or bought out.
The most notable players who have left the organization are Pavel Zacha, Ty Smith, and Janne Kuokkanen. Zacha, who was unable to reach his potential, would’ve aged out anyway but was traded to the Boston Bruins for Erik Haula. Smith had a disastrous second NHL season and as a result, the Devils opted to trade him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the more established John Marino. Kuokkanen showed some promise early in his career with New Jersey but ended up fading last year, resulting in the team buying out his contract. Colton White and Marian Studenic are worth a mention as prospects that eventually saw some time with the Devils but have since moved on from the organization. Finally, Jonas Siegenthaler and Mackenzie Blackwood remain important members of the Devils but have aged out of consideration for this list.
The List of Players to Pick for the 2022 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 2021 Top 25 Devils Under 25 list. This is in alphabetical order by the first name:
The 2022 Under-25 Devils
|Name||Position||DOB||9/15 Age||Contract/Notes||2021 Ranking|
|Arseni Gritsyuk||LW||3/15/2001||21.52||Rights Owned||29|
|Artem Barabosha||RD||3/18/2004||18.51||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Artem Shlaine||C||3/17/2002||20.51||Rights Owned||45|
|Case McCarthy||RD||1/9/2001||21.70||Rights Owned||46|
|Charlie Leddy||RD||1/11/2004||18.69||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Cole Brady||G||2/12/2001||21.60||Rights Owned||40|
|Daniil Misyul||LD||10/20/2000||21.92||Rights Owned||33|
|Daniil Orlov||LD||12/21/2003||18.75||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Ethan Edwards||LD||6/6/2002||20.29||Rights Owned||38|
|Jakub Malek||G||4/11/2002||20.44||Rights Owned||48|
|Jaromir Pytlik||C||9/25/2001||20.99||Rights Owned||37|
|Josh Filmon||LW||3/18/2004||18.51||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Luke Hughes||LD||9/9/2003||19.03||Rights Owned||9|
|Nikola Pasic||C||10/16/2000||21.93||Rights Owned||28|
|Patrick Moynihan||C||1/23/2001||21.66||Rights Owned||30|
|Petr Hauser||RW||9/19/2003||19.00||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Samu Salminen||C||4/9/2003||19.45||Rights Owned||25|
|Seamus Casey||RD||1/8/2004||18.70||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Tyler Brennan||G||9/27/2003||18.98||Rights Owned||N/A|
|Viktor Hurtig||RD||4/28/2002||20.40||Rights Owned||47|
|Yegor Zaitsev||LD||5/3/1998||24.39||Rights Owned||43|
|Zakhar Bardakov||C||2/24/2001||21.57||Rights Owned||44|
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 49 players. You can drag and drop the names into the order that you want to rank them. You can also select the ranking by the 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 49 players, hit “Done” and your response will be submitted.
The survey will close on August 16 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 them with the final rankings from the writers’ list. John will reveal which players are outside the top 25 on August 19. I will begin to reveal the list in sets of five starting with #21 through #25 on August 23.
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.