2. Alexander Holtz
With their seventh pick at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils selected Swedish forward Alexander Holtz. The 19-year-old played in the SHL for Djurgardens IF as a rookie during the 2019-20 season, where he posted an impressive nine goals and 16 points in 35 games. Keep in mind with those numbers that the SHL is one of the top professional leagues in the entire world.
Holtz is currently back playing with Djurgardens and has improved on last year’s totals, registering six goals and 16 points in 26 games to this point. Devils fans were also able to watch him represent Team Sweden at the 2021 World Juniors, his second straight year in the tournament. In five games at this year’s event, he had a goal and two assists, after posting three goals and five points in seven games the year prior. While his stats at the World Juniors don’t jump off the page, it doesn’t change the fact he is one of the best prospects the New Jersey Devils have, and there is a good chance he is able to suit up at the tournament one more time in 2022.
1. Ty Smith
The New Jersey Devils selecting defenseman Ty Smith with the 17th pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is looking better and better every day. The 20-year-old had a fantastic junior hockey career with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, including his draft eligible season in 2017-18 where he had 73 points in 69 games. By the time his junior hockey career game to an end last season, he had registered 233 points in 240 games, numbers that are outstanding for anyone let alone a defenseman.
Still, despite his impressive numbers at the junior hockey level, no one expected him to start his professional career the way he has. He not only cracked the Devils blueline to start the 2020-21 season, but he started off his NHL career on a five-game point streak.
Through nine games now, he is tied for first in team scoring with eight points (2 G, 6 A), while he also leads all rookie defenseman in the NHL in points, goals and assists. While those totals will likely digress as the season continues, his talent level is very evident, and early on he is certainly in the Calder Trophy conversation, if not the frontrunner. Ty Smith’s future with the New Jersey Devils is extremely bright.