August 32-In-32: New Jersey Devils

Austin Kelly

2023-08-21

Welcome to the August edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.

Today’s edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 involves the Devils depth situation, from the 2023 Draftees, to potential first-year NHLers, to the team’s top prospects. Not many teams can boast a contending lineup with a deep prospect pool, but the Devils are a rare exception. To their benefit, many of their best players such as Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier are younger, and with a large amount of talent prospects, the big team is only poised to get bigger in the next few years.

Where the Devils top young talent have been in their forward core, their Defensive situation is just as strong with Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec being projected long-term options for the team, perhaps both being full-time NHLers by this upcoming season, as well as Seamus Casey, Daniil Orlov & Case McCarthy in the waiting. The Devils also used 2 picks in 2023 on D, selecting Chase Cheslock and Daniil Karpovich. In net, the Devils have a deep array of options including projected NHLer Akira Schmid the closest to the show, but Nico Daws also lies in wait. 2022 Pick Tyler Brennan is still one of the higher rated CHL Goalie prospects, and wild-cards Jakub Malek and Cole Brady still in the system. On the Forward end, most of the Devils top youngsters have integrated into the roster, and hopefully next is former 1st Rounder Alexander Holtz, who looks ready to solidify his place on the big team. Graeme Clarke and Nolan Foote look close, and former 1st round pick Chase Stillman is beginning his dues in Utica. The Devils surprise find of Josh Filmon, has paid dividends, with the 2022 6th Rounder stunning many by becoming one of the best goalscorers in the WHL this past season. Artemi Gritsyuk, one of the top young players in the KHL, will have even more opportunity to build upon a strong season last year, moving from Omsk to SKA. Devils 2023 Top Pick Lenni Hämeenaho will look to have a big season, already showing off with an exceptional performance for Finland at the WJC Summer Showcase. This current Devils Prospect pool may be as exciting as any team in Hockey.

Potential NHL Graduates

Luke Hughes

It’s almost certain that Luke Hughes is under the expectation from within the Devils organization to make the big team, and it’s hard to see a scenario in which he does not. Hughes is expected to join big brother Jack in New Jersey, and should be able to find top-four minutes with the club. Devils fans already caught small glimpses of Hughes at the NHL level, and were no doubt happy at the result. With 2 PTS in 2GP for New Jersey, including a GWG in the final game of the season. Expect to see Hughes in the lineup on opening night.

Simon Nemec

Last season, the Devils were faced with the tough call of sending down 2022 2nd Overall Pick Simon Nemec to the AHL Utica Comets, or back to Europe, and opted for the minors, keeping Nemec close to the Devils organization, and Nemec showed that he could handle a move to North America, with a respectable 12 Goals and 34 Points in 65 Games for Utica. On almost any other NHL team, it would be likely that Nemec would make the jump to the Pros this season, but hindering his next step up is an already strong RD group in New Jersey with Dougie Hamilton, John Marino & Colin Miller expected to make up the 3 right-handed spots. Nemec may have to wait yet another year in Utica before making the jump, although a strong start to the season may not have him down there for long.

Alexander Holtz

Last year was seen as a make-or-break year for Alexander Holtz, and truthfully, it seems this year is just the same. Holtz has an NHL-level shot, but questions still remain if the rest of his game is going to catch up, and at the AHL level, it seems there is little he can still do. Holtz will likely start this season in New Jersey, and has the talent to become a breakout candidate with the right bit of luck, and if the rest of his game can come together, he could blossom into the talent envisioned of him when he was taken 7th Overall in 2020. A deep Jersey squad and unlucky injuries kept Holtz away from proving himself more so, but if he can’t grab this opportunity, there’s only so little chances he may have left.

Akira Schmid

Already close to being a second year player after 18 Games with the Devils last season, Schmid now steps into the likely backup role with the departure of Mackenzie Blackwood, setting up Schmid as the potential Goalie of the future in New Jersey. A sensational sample size (9-5-2 2.13 GAA .922SV%) will be something that Schmid will be expected to continue on with, hoping that his call-up wasn’t beginner’s luck. Nico Daws appears ready to take over for Schmid in Utica, unless Free Agent addition Erik Kallgren manages to win out. For New Jersey, Schmid is almost certain to be a graduate, with his only next stepping stone being the starters’ crease.

Minors Graduates

Chase Stillman

Chase Stillman will be coming to Utica with one big thing to prove in the pros, his scoring. The former Devils 1st Rounder hasn’t been someone who has helped light up the crease. Stillman had 19 Goals and 48 Points in 59 Games for OHL Peterborough this past season, a modest number for a double overager, especially on the OHL Champions. Stillman is a strong and energetic competitor who uses his frame well, skills that should translate to the AHL, but offensively, the hope is that the coaching staff can find an improvement there.

Tomas Vilen

Finnish Defenseman Topias Vilen is expected to make the jump to Utica permanently after getting a playoff game in for the team after a successful tenure in Finland with Pelicans. The 20-year-old offensive-defenseman brings quickness and skill to Utica’s left side, and has a chance to be one of their most productive players next season.

Devils Projected 2023-24 Roster

Timo Meier – Jack Hughes – Dawson Mercer

Jesper Bratt – Nico Hischier – Tyler Toffoli

Ondrej Palat – Erik Haula – Alexander Holtz

Tomas Nosek – Michael McLeod – Nathan Bastian

Curtis Lazar

Jonas Siegenthaler – Dougie Hamilton

Luke Hughes – John Marino

Kevin Bahl – Colin Miller

Brendan Smith

Vitek Vanecek

Akira Schmid

Risers

Josh Filmon

Almost no one in the prospect world rose up their stock more than Josh Filmon this past season. Filmon, a 2022 Devils 6th Rounder, took a major leap with WHL Swift Current, going from a decent season of 23 Goals and 45 Points in 67 Games, Filmon took 22-23 to another level, with a team-leading 47 Goals and 75 Points in 64 Games. Not many could have predicted Filmon’s meteoric rise into one of the CHL’s best goalscorers a year ago, as well as a 4 Game AHL stint. Filmon, at 160lbs, still has room to grow.

Arseni Gritsyuk

Gritsyuk already had a decent 21-22 season, but followed up next season with an even more impressive performance. The 22-year-old became one of Avangard Omsk’s best players, Gritsyuk is a crafty puck-mover who is constantly the menace of opposing defenders. Gritsyuk has moved to SKA St. Petersburg, contracted until 2025, but with the improvements he’s already made, Gritsyuk could become of the Devils best prospects.

Fallers

Michael Vukojevic

A 2019 3rd Rounder of the Devils, Vukojevic was someone who had the potential to be a good NHLer. With good IQ and strong skating at 6’3, Vukojevic was a near complete NHLer, but missing one big tool, which is offense. A few years later, and that offense still hasn’t come. Vukojevic was always expected to be a Defensive Defenseman, but his game could have evolved a lot better than what it is. He can still end up as a great defensive-minded player for Utica, and a possible fan favorite.

Jaromir Pytlik

If Jaromir Pytlik’s name sounds vaguely familiar to you, it could be from that fact that Pytlik was a talked about name in Hockey circles since he was a child. (You can find videos of Pytlik playing Hockey dating back to when he was six years old). Unfortunately, being a good hockey player at the age of six doesn’t always translate to the NHL, and Pytlik, a 2019 4th Rounder of the Devils, hasn’t looked to be someone in New Jersey’s future. After a strong DY season for the OHL Soo Greyhounds, Pytlik returned to Europe, but could never replicate his skill in North America. This past season, Pytlik played for Kladno of the Czech Extraliga, and had an underwhelming 3 Points in 33 Games. Pytlik is a Forward, to be clear. Pytlik never seemed to make much of an improvement to his game, and struggled once others caught up in size and skill. Pytlik doesn’t seem poised to put up the numbers that once made him the most hyped six-year-old in Hockey.

Devils Depth Chart

LW C RW
Josh Filmon Shane Bowers Alexander Holtz
Samu Salminen Zakhar Bardakov Graeme Clarke
Josh Filmon Artem Shlaine Artemi Gritsyuk
Brian Halonen Jaromir Pytlik Tyce Thompson
Chase Stillman
Lenni Hämeenaho
Petr Hauser
Cam Squires
Cole Brown
LD RD
Topias Vilen Simon Nemec
Daniil Orlov Seamus Casey
Daniil Karpovich Case McCarthy
Daniil Musil Charlie Leddy
Ethan Edwards Chase Cheslock
Michael Vukojevic Arytom Barbosha
Yegor Zaitsev Viktor Hurtig
G
Akira Schmid
Nico Daws
Tyler Brennan
Jakub Malek
Cole Brady

Devils Top 20 Prospects

1 – LD – Luke Hughes

2 – RD – Simon Nemec

3 – LW – Alexander Holtz

4 – G – Akira Schmid

5 – RW – Artemi Gritsyuk

6 – RW – Lenni Hämeenaho

7 – RD – Seamus Casey

8 – LD – Topias Vilen

9 – LW – Josh Filmon

10 – G – Nico Daws

11 – LW – Graeme Clarke

12 – G – Tyler Brennan

13 – Nolan Foote

14 – Charlie Leddy

15 – Case McCarthy

16 – RW – Tyce Thompson

17 – RW – Cam Squires

18 – RW – Petr Hauser

19 – LD – Daniil Orlov

20 – G – Jakub Malek

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Michael Hage 8.5 7.0
Andrew Basha 8.0 7.5
Carter Yakemchuk 8.5 6.5
Alfons Freij 8.5 7.0
Michael Brandsegg-Nygård 8.0 9.0
Berkly Catton 9.0 7.0
Cayden Lindstrom 9.0 9.0
Ivan Demidov 9.5 8.5
Alexander Zetterberg 6.5 3.0
Daniel Nieminen 5.0 5.5

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