Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.
If you were waiting for the Devils to bring in players this offseason, then you are still waiting. They aren’t, and seemingly won’t, be adding anything from outside their organization barring a trade. GM Ray Shero is taking this franchise down a new path of drafting and development, which saw several players leave and only a couple of minor depth pieces added. This makes the Devils one of the most exciting franchises to watch for prospects during camp next month, as the team will welcome three or four new faces to their lineup from within.
The list of players leaving included power winger Patrick Maroon, whom the Devils attempted to re-sign after acquiring him via trade during the 2017-2018 season. Also gone on the wing is veteran speedster and 5-on-5 goal scorer Michael Grabner. On defense, the Devils lost veteran John Moore, who’s reliable puck movement will have to be replaced. Additionally, depth forwards Brian Gibbons and Jimmy Hayes both left. Coming in was almost nothing outside of a KHL stay at home defenseman Egor Yakovlev, which means all the holes will have to be filled by players from within their own system.
Blake Coleman– Coleman was an older rookie to begin with, but now after a pretty solid rookie season is a permanent fixture going forward. He is and will be highly sought after in fantasy leagues with hits and PIM.
Mirco Mueller– It is time for Mueller to figure out if he will be an NHL regular or no more than a 7th defenseman. At age 23 and with the loss of John Moore, the door is wide open for either Mueller or Steven Santini and take that roster spot, but both will have to fend off Yakovlev as well.
Steven Santini– Ditto for everything that was said about Mueller above. Santini brings an entirely different personality to his game than Mueller, as despite his poor analytics, he is a hit and shot blocking machine when given the chance.
Joey Anderson– The Devils love this kid and it sounds like they will give him every opportunity in September to make the team straight out of college. He is a bit of a do it all forward and in his prospect camps since being drafted in 2016 he has shown not only the potential to contribute, but the ability to play alongside top line players. He is a leader as his captaincy of the US World Junior Team showed last winter, he forechecks hard, is dependable, and has high shot rates. He could end up being very comparable to left winger Miles Wood, except for on the right side of the ice for the Devils.
Ty Smith– Seems silly to put a team’s first round pick as a riser, but Smith was thought to be a potential top 10 pick and fell to pick 17. Many were curious as to why he slipped as far as he did but his recent development camp showed that instead of there being a flaw, those teams that passed on Smith might be kicking themselves soon rather than later. From all accounts, he was the star of the camp.
Aarne Talvitie– A 6th round pick in 2017, Talvitie is having one heck of a draft plus one year. To keep his NCAA eligibility for his Penn State commitment, he stayed in Finland’s junior league and tore it to shreds. He has also found himself as part of Finland’s U20 plans and has been playing and scoring on the top line in various tournaments this summer with the likes of 2018 first round centers Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Rasmus Kupari. His quality play for Finland came on the heels of a great development camp earlier this summer.
Reilly Walsh– A good freshman year at Harvard got Walsh a look this su