The New Jersey Devils were one of the best teams in the National Hockey League last season. They had the third most standings points. It was their best season in terms of wins and points in franchise history.
A lot of reasons contributed to the fact that the Devils were this good. Great coaching, lots of scoring, good goaltending, smart offseason moves, a big trade deadline deal, and lots of skill were all a big part of their success.
Now, they come into this season with the Stanley Cup on their mind. There are other outstanding teams in the NHL so there is still a ton of work to be done but they have their sights set on that. Should they stay healthy, they will be right there at the top of the league once again.
On Monday, New Jersey revealed their opening night roster to the world. Jack Hughes, their best player and the first overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, headlines this insane group of elite players. New Jersey’s team will look like this:
- Nathan Bastian
- Jesper Bratt
- Erik Haula
- Nico Hischier
- Alexander Holtz
- Jack Hughes
- Curtis Lazar
- Michael McLeod
- Timo Meier
- Dawson Mercer
- Tomas Nosek
- Ondrej Palat
- Chris Tierney
- Tyler Toffoli
- Kevin Bahl
- Dougie Hamilton
- Luke Hughes
- John Marino
- Colin Miller
- Jonas Siegenthaler
- Brendan Smith
- Akira Schmid
- Vitek Vanecek
The New Jersey Devils, led by Jack Hughes, have an outstanding roster right now.
Of course, as mentioned before, Jack Hughes leads this group. However, their captain Nico Hischier was also a number one overall pick in the draft. He doesn’t have the upside that Hughes has offensively but he is close. He is also one of the top two-way players in the NHL.
Hischier came in second place for the Selke Trophy last season as the league’s best defensive forward. Now that Patrick Bergeron is retired, he should be the favorite for that award going forward.
Wingers like Jesper Bratt, Timo Meier, Tyler Toffoli, and Dawson Mercer amongst others will make life even easier on these two incredible centers. Having other veteran forwards like Erik Haula and Ondrej Palat make it an even better group for New Jersey.
We’ll see how the rest of the depth is able to help them win. A great bottom-six forward group can be the difference in a playoff series as we’ve seen time and time again.
On defense, youngsters like Luke Hughes and Kevin Bahl are going to play a role. John Marino and Jonas Siegenthaler are expected to be good veterans at this point as Dougie Hamilton leads the way on the blue line. They were great last year and it is time to show they can do it again with a little bit of a different look.
A lot of people talked all off-season about the New Jersey Devils acquiring Connor Hellebuyck. However, that won’t happen as he is staying with the Winnipeg Jets on a shiny new deal. Akira Schmid and Vitek Vanecek are the guys in goal for this team and that is not a bad thing.
They were the best team in franchise history last year with these two leading the way. Now, this is still their team. There were some struggles in the playoffs but some more experience may help them with that. We’ll see. For now, it is their biggest weakness but it is a duo that will do for now.
There are two rookies to discuss here too. Alexander Holtz made the team. Although he may not be able to drive a line, he can score goals when he has time and space. Hughes and Hischier are both centers that can provide that. We’ll see how long he sticks around but the Devils still clearly have faith in their former seventh overall pick.
As for their former number two overall pick, Simon Nemec, they are not going to have him making his NHL debut in game number one. The young defenseman didn’t make the team out of camp. He will begin the year with the Utica Comets despite having a great preseason.
He will almost certainly make his NHL debut this season. The hope is that once he is up with this club, he never goes back down. They are making sure that their number two prospect (who is also a top-ten NHL prospect) is taken care of the right way. We’ll see what they decide next for him.
People who think this group is amazing are right. There are a ton of great players there that all have a little bit more experience too. Now, we’ll see how they start the year as they have to prove that sustained success is here to stay.