By Mason Goldstein
Despite a tough end to the 2020-2021 season for the New Jersey Devils, the franchise’s future looks bright. One of the youngest teams in the National Hockey League, the Devils are loaded with a ton of young stars, who in a year or two will take on a significant role for this team.
Having two former #1 overall picks on your team, in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, is a great core to build off of. Resigning two promising stars, Janne Kuokkanen and Yegor Sharangovich, to inexpensive two-year deals was a brilliant decision by Devils management. They can now see how these young guns progress over the next couple of years, following their strong rookie campaigns.
Photo: All About The Jersey
Before I get started on the off-season acquisitions New Jersey made, keep in mind they had other young talented players breakout this past year as well. Ty Smith had a phenomenal rookie season, posting twenty-three points in forty-eight games, Pavel Zacha had a career-high in points (was the team leader in that category), Jesper Bratt, a talented Swede who will make you look like it’s your first-time on skates if he goes one on one against you, plus Damon Severson & Miles Wood, two mid to late twenties guys who have been amazing mentors to this young group.
Now for the part that you have been waiting for, off-season additions. Let’s start with some promising results from the NHL draft. With the 4th overall selection, the club took Luke Hughes, from the United States National Development Team. If that name sounds familiar, it should, because Luke is the younger brother of Jack (2019’s #1 overall selection).
Photo: All About The Jersey
Luke is a promising six-foot-two defenseman, who in a couple of years very well might be a bright star in the league. Chase Stillman, a right wing was the choice with their other 1st round pick (#29). By all accounts the rest of the team’s picks went well. They drafted some impressive prospects, who in a few years should be exciting to watch.
After the draft comes free agency, a period in which the Devils have rarely attracted high-level talent. They usually get their stars via trades or by drafting them. This year however was different. They made a huge move by signing Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million contract.
Photo: Canes Country
He is a tremendous addition on the ice and the lockeroom. Another big off-season pickup was veteran winger Tomas Tatar. The hope is that he will aid this young offense, giving the team a scoring boost.
The off-season is not over yet Devils fans, there is more to come! Keep your heads held high, trusting that your team has made the right moves so far, ones that will hopefully put them in position to win a championship in the near future.
Feature Photo: wall.alphacoders.com