It’s that time of the year again! It’s time to get your votes in for the All About the Jersey Top 25 New Jersey Devils Under 25. This year’s edition features 42 players and prospects currently in the Devils system under 25. With a great deal of turnover from last year’s Top 25 list and, for the first time since 2013, a new draft class that does not include a first round pick, this year’s list should see some drastic changes in the Top 25.
As has been the case since 2013, this list will include your input. So, please fill out the survey below and feel free to discuss your rankings in the comments.
The Requirements & The Plan
As there is no need to reinvent the wheel, this section is essentially Brian’s write-up from last year with a few tweaks. This list covers players in the New Jersey Devils organization as of August 1. This includes restricted free agents that have received a qualifying offer for the 2023-24 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 a slightly smaller list of 42 players eligible for ranking down slightly from last year’s list of 49.
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 2022 Top 25 Under 25
Jack Hughes hung onto the top spot after taking it from Nico Hischier in 2021. Hischier finished second for the second year in a row. Jesper Bratt secured the third spot, his final year in the rankings. Luke Hughes climbed to the fourth spot, while Dawson Mercer rounded out the top 5. You can read more about the rankings here.
Rounding out the top 10 included three players who are no longer with the Devils (Yegor Sharangovich 6th, Jesper Boqvist 9th and Fabian Zetterlund 10th), leaving opportunities for other prospects to fill those voids this year. The other two prospects in the top 10 included the debut of Simon Nemec at seven and Alexander Holtz at eight.
Some of the biggest risers in last year’s rankings included Fabian Zetterlund (21st to 10th), Jakub Malek (48th to 27th) Topias Vilen (42nd to 30th) and Ethan Edwards (38th to 26th).
Some of the biggest fallers in last year’s rankings included Daniil Misyul (33rd to 41st) and Jaromir Pytlik (37th to 47th). It will be interesting to see where Misyul falls this year given that he signed his ELC with the Devils this summer.
Zakhar Bardakov took the dubious honor of finishing last in the rankings in 2022, a result that I argued was unjust in my first article covering prospects for AATJ.
The additions are led by Lenni Hameenaho and four other picks from this year’s draft. The Devils also added Santeri Hataaka a an contract equalizer in the Timo Meier trade with San Jose and Shane Bowers, who was acquired from Boston for Reilly Walsh.
That’s it. Here’s full list:
This isn’t exactly breaking news, but the Devils had a much better season in 2022-23 leading them to become “buyers” at the deadline rather than selling off pending UFAs for additional assets, as had been the case recently. This, coupled with Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald’s commitment to building a better roster for contention has led to many young Devils to depart either in trades or in free agency.
The turnover for this list is stark. Six players who ranked in the Top 25 last season are no longer with the team. [Fabian Zetterlund (traded to San Jose), Yegor Sharangovich (traded to Calgary), Shakir Mukhamadullin (traded to San Jose), Nikita Okhotiuk (traded to San Jose), Jesper Boqvist (free agency) and Reilly Walsh (traded to Boston)]. In addition, three other top 25 Devils have aged out of the pool although they are still with the team (Jesper Bratt, Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian). Other outsiders have either been traded, have not been resigned or had their rights expire (Jeremy Groleau, Nikola Pasic, Jack Dugan and Aarne Talvitie). Lastly, Yegor Zaitsev, whose rights the Devils own indefinitely, has aged out of the pool.
In total, even with seven new additions to the pool, the total size of the rankings list dropped from 49 in 2022 to 42 this year.
Here is the full list of those players who are no longer eligible for this list:
Nikita Popugaev, who was not on last year’s list due to his decision to temporarily quit hockey to pursue a career in social media influencing, was left off this year’s list by executive decision even though he is signed through 2024-25 per Elite Prospects.
The List of Players to Pick for the 2022 Top 25 Devils Under 25
The list of 42 rankable players in alphabetical order by first name is as follows:
The Community Survey
You know the drill. John set up a survey for you, the People Who Matter. You go to the survey link here, list the players in the order you wish to rank them and then press DONE to submit your ranking. Your vote matters because you matter.
Please rank ALL the players.
Please rank ALL the players.
I repeat. Please rank ALL the players.
Ballots that are submitted before completion or only rank the top 10 or top 25 can skew the results. So please rank ALL the players, not just the ones at the top or the ones you are most familiar with.
The deadline to submit your rankings is August 15th at 11:00 AM ET. After the results are tabulated and combined with the staff’s rankings, the results will be posted as follows:
August 21 — The Outsiders
August 22 — Top 25-21
August 29 — Top 20-16
September 6 — Top 15-11
September 12 — Top 10-6
September 19 — Top 5-1
Now it is time to tell us what you think. Itching to post your list or explain your ranking philosophy? Are you upset that Big Poppa will be unranked? Who do you think will be the biggest risers and fallers in this year’s list? Let us know in the comments below.