The 2022 AATJ Top 25 Devils Under 25: The Top Five

The time has come to liberate the Top 5 from the 2022 AATJ Top 25 Devils Under 25. This workforce contains 4 forwards and a defenseman. These 4 forwards are necessary gamers for New Jersey and part of their long-term core. The defenseman is a school hockey superstar participant and can most probably bounce to the NHL in 2023-24. Let’s check out who those gamers are.

#5 – Dawson Mercer – C/RW – Age: 20 – 2022-23 Team: New Jersey Devils (NHL) – 2021 Rank: 11 – Elite Prospects Profile

An spectacular rookie season final yr for the Devils sees Dawson Mercer earn a most sensible 5 rating. The 6’0”, 181 lbs. ahead able to enjoying heart or proper wing was once drafted by way of the Devils within the 1st around of the 2020 Draft. At that point, he was once coming off of a 2019-20 season that noticed him produce 24 targets and 36 assists in 42 video games between Drummondville and Chicoutimi within the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Those 60 issues ranked 4th amongst first-time draft-eligible gamers within the QMJHL and his 1.43 issues in step with recreation fee (*25*)ranked third amongst that workforce. Mercer was once additionally a member of Canada’s Gold Medal-winning U20 staff on the 2020 U20 World Junior Championship (WJC). He would spend the 2020-21 season with Chicoutimi, serving as an alternative captain, and posting 19 targets and 17 assists in 23 common season video games in addition to 6 targets and 11 assists in 9 playoff video games. His 1.57 issues in step with recreation fee ranked 4th amongst all QMJHL gamers that season. His efficiency that season earned him a large number of honors together with QMJHL First All-Star Team, QMJHL Best Defensive Forward, and QMJHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. He represented Canada on the 2021 U20 WJC the place he had 2 targets and four assists in 7 video games as they gained a Silver Medal.

Last season, Mercer performed in each and every recreation for New Jersey. As a rookie in his age 20 season, Mercer was once cast with 17 targets and 25 assists. Those 42 issues ranked eighth amongst U21 gamers within the NHL final season. Evolving Hockey had his offensive affect ranked within the 53rd percentile amongst all gamers. Mercer spent maximum of his 5v5 time (201 mins) at proper wing on a line with Yegor Sharangovich and Jack Hughes. He additionally had good fortune centering Jesper Bratt and Andreas Johnsson (170 mins) in addition to Tomas Tatar and Johnsson (116 mins) because the staff’s third line heart. His line with Johnsson and Bratt had good fortune in 35 video games in combination in step with Evolving Hockey with a 59.21 Goals For% (GF%), 52.81 Corsi For% (CF%), and 59.69 Expected Goals For% (59.69).

The long run is shiny for Mercer as he’s set to go into his age 21 season. He’s already confirmed he may give secondary scoring on the NHL stage and must best recover as he will get extra enjoy. His defensive recreation must make stronger as he will get more potent and extra happy with the extent. As a rookie, he proved he may take care of centering the third line or leaping up into the highest 6 with no consideration wing. This versatility must assist the Devils going ahead as they are able to both pack an excellent 1-2-3 punch down the center of Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Mercer or attempt to bolster their most sensible 6 with all of the ones gamers in it. Ondrej Palat and Sharangovich must have the highest 6 left wing roles on lock and Bratt some of the proper wing spots. Mercer will face pageant for a most sensible 6 proper wing spot with Alexander Holtz, Johnsson, and Tatar. I be expecting Holtz to get an important take a look at that spot so I believe it’s much more likely Mercer is applied because the third line heart going ahead. Hopefully, he can construct off of his sturdy rookie season.

#4 – Luke Hughes – LD – Age: 19 – 2022-23 Team: University of Michigan (NCAA) – 2021 Rank: 9 – Elite Prospects Profile

Jumping into the highest 5 or even incomes a 1st position vote is a skilled defenseman, Luke Hughes. Elite Prospects checklist Hughes at 6’2”, 183 lbs. even though his profile on Michigan’s roster now has him at 190 lbs. The Devils drafted Hughes with the 4th general pick out within the 2021 Draft. His draft season of 2020-21, noticed Hughes superstar for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) with 6 targets and 28 assists in 38 video games for the U18 staff. Overall, his 0.90 issues in step with recreation fee ranked fifth in USNTDP historical past amongst defensemen that performed in a minimum of 30 video games in a season.

Hughes was once born on September 9, 2003, which made him some of the youngest gamers to be had within the 2021 Draft magnificence. This additionally intended he had numerous runway left to move when it comes to his building, even in comparison to gamers in his identical magnificence. Last season, Hughes starred for Michigan within the NCAA as a freshman with 17 targets and 22 assists in 41 video games. He led all defensemen in targets and issues. Over the previous 10 NCAA seasons, amongst U19 defensemen, Hughes’ 0.95 issues in step with recreation fee ranked third, simply in the back of Adam Fox (1.14 in 2016-17) and Zach Werenski (1.00 in 2015-16). Hughes ended up being a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award which matches to the Top Collegiate Player. He gained a large number of honors equivalent to Big 10 All-Rookie Team, Big 10 Co-Rookie of the Year, Big 10 Second All-Star Team, and was once a Big 10 Champion with Michigan.

Hughes additionally persisted to achieve global enjoy. In the rescheduled U20 WJC, Hughes had a purpose and 5 assists and was once named a Top 3 Player on Team for the United States. He additionally performed within the World Championships (WC) final spring the place he were given an opportunity to play in opposition to gamers with skilled enjoy. He had a purpose and three assists in 10 video games for america.

Hughes is ready to be a key participant as soon as once more for Michigan in 2022-23. He’ll put on an “A” as an alternative captain for the staff and figures to play a most sensible pairing position as a sophomore. This is a pleasant step up from his second pairing position at the proper facet as a freshman. Hughes is able to enjoying on all sides of the ice and I stay up for him gaining enjoy in all eventualities. His offensive recreation is already neatly displayed thru his superb skating, imaginative and prescient, and talent to transition thru all zones. I’m intrigued to peer how his defensive recreation develops as a sophomore particularly now that he’s packed on extra muscle.

#3 – Jesper Bratt – LW/RW – Age: 24 – 2022-23 Team: New Jersey Devils (NHL) – 2021 Rank: 3 – Elite Prospects Profile

Jesper Bratt keeps his third position rating for any other yr. By now, everyone knows the tale of Bratt’s fast ascension to the NHL after being a Sixth-round pick out within the 2016 Draft. The 5’10”, 174 lbs. ahead able to enjoying on both wing rose briefly throughout the AIK gadget in Sweden. His draft season of 2015-16 noticed him give a contribution within the Allsvenskan (second department) with 8 targets and 9 assists in 48 video games that have been essentially the most by way of a U18 participant. He helped Sweden to a Silver Medal on the Ivan Hlinka Memorial event with 3 targets and a pair of assists in 5 video games. He additionally produced for Sweden’s staff on the U18 WJC with 2 targets and a pair of assists in 7 video games as they’d cross directly to win a Silver Medal. Bratt would apply up that spectacular draft yr with any other cast season in 2016-17 which might turn out to be his final in Sweden. That season, Bratt posted 6 targets and 16 assists in 46 video games for AIK, appearing them he was once at ease on the skilled stage.

Bratt would earn a task at the Devils on the age of nineteen in 2017-18. As a rookie, he had 13 targets and 22 assists with a median ice time of 15:15 in step with recreation. His manufacturing would end across the 30-point mark for the following 3 seasons (33 issues in 2018-19, 32 issues in 2019-20, and 30 issues in 2020-21). That doesn’t remember video games performed as his issues in step with recreation fee fluctuated from 0.65 in 2018-19, to 0.53 in 2019-20, to 0.65 in 2020-21. The indicators had been there {that a} wholesome season from Bratt in 2021-22 might be his breakout and that proved true.

Last season, Bratt posted occupation highs in video games (76), targets (26), assists (47), issues (73), issues in step with recreation (0.96), and moderate ice time (17:26). Evolving Hockey had his general affect within the 91st percentile due to his offensive recreation that ranked within the 93rd percentile. Bratt was once an actual asset at each even power and at the energy play. He additionally proved to be a flexible participant whose playmaking talents may are compatible in neatly all through the lineup. He performed about 170 mins at 5v5 with Johnsson and Mercer in step with Evolving Hockey, with that line having a 59.21 GF%, 52.81 CF%, and 59.69 xGF%. In about 167 mins with Hughes and Sharangovich, that line had only a 44.26 GF% however 57.07 CF% and 59.53 xGF%. His third maximum commonplace line was once with Hischier and Pavel Zacha the place in about 155 mins, the trio had a 65.74 GF%, 56.36 CF%, and 62.91 xGF%. That sturdy efficiency earned him a one-year, $5.45 million contract for the impending season.

Bratt figures to be a key participant for New Jersey in 2022-23, possibly best in the back of Jack Hughes when it comes to expectancies from an offensive manufacturing perspective. While the staff turns out set with their most sensible 6 left wings, Bratt’s versatility to play both wing may let them experiment with other mixtures in coaching camp. I be expecting Bratt to additional construct upon his breakout season and possibly turn into a point-per-game participant in 2022-23. He’s set to be a limited loose agent as soon as once more and it’s going to be fascinating to peer if he and the staff can conform to a long-term deal after this season.

#2 – Nico Hischier – C – Age: 23 – 2022-23 Team: New Jersey Devils (NHL) – 2021 Rank: 2 – Elite Prospects Profile

Captain Nico Hischier keeps his second position rating. The 6’1”, 174 lbs. heart from Switzerland has briefly turn into crucial participant for the staff since being decided on with the first general pick out within the 2017 Draft. He briefly made the bounce from the QMJHL (the place he had 86 issues in 57 video games in 2016-17) to the NHL in 2017-18. As a rookie, he had 20 targets and 32 assists with a median ice time of 16:19 as he seemed in all 82 video games for the staff. Injuries would prohibit him over the following 3 seasons as he had 47 issues in 69 video games 2018-19, 36 issues in 58 video games in 2019-20, and 11 issues in 21 video games in 2020-21. Overall, his issues in step with recreation fee went from 0.68 in 2018-19, to 0.62 in 2019-20, to 0.52 in 2020-21. Hischier was once named captain all through the 2020-21 season which speaks to how extremely the group thinks about his management and intangibles to move together with on-ice talents.

Last season, Hischier was once in a position to play in 70 video games with 21 targets and 39 assists with a median ice time of nineteen:21. His 0.86 issues in step with recreation fee ranked eighth amongst U24 forwards (minimal 50 video games performed). Evolving Hockey had his general score within the 78th percentile together with his offensive recreation being within the 74th percentile and his defensive recreation within the 58th percentile. His even-strength play was once efficient on each ends of the rink, he had a favorable affect at the energy play, and his affect at the penalty kill would glance higher if the Devils had some higher goaltending. He spent maximum of his 5v5 time final yr centering Bratt and Zacha or Tatar and Zacha. In about 155 mins with Bratt and Zacha, the trio had a 65.74 GF%, 56.36 CF%, and 62.91 xGF% in step with Evolving Hockey.

The Devils will glance to Hischier to steer this staff again to the playoffs in 2022-23. With Jack Hughes centering the highest line and wearing the offensive load, the staff can make the most of Hischier in numerous tactics. They may have him heart the second line as they depend on his enjoy and ability to strengthen their assault. They may have him heart a extra defensively orientated line, thus permitting Mercer’s line to be deployed in additional offensive eventualities since Hischier is the easier defensive heart at the present time in comparison to Mercer. Either method, the Devils might be anticipating large issues in all spaces of the ice from Hischier in 2022-23.

#1 – Jack Hughes – C – Age: 21 – 2022-23 Team: New Jersey Devils (NHL) – 2021 Rank: 1 – Elite Prospects Profile

As I’m certain many anticipated, Jack Hughes as soon as once more tops the Top 25 Under 25 checklist. The elite, 5’11”, 176 lbs. heart has turn into a celeb participant for the Devils since they took him 1st general within the 2019 Draft. The USNTDP product excelled in his draft yr of 2018-19 with 34 targets and 78 assists in 50 video games for the U18. His 112 issues and a pair of.24 issues in step with recreation fee set a report for USNTDP gamers of their first yr of draft eligibility. That season additionally noticed Hughes captain the US on the U18 WJC the place he had 9 targets and 11 assists in 7 video games as they gained a Bronze Medal. For that, he was once named to the event All-Star Team and was once a Top 3 Player on Team. He additionally gained a Silver Medal with the US on the U20 WJC the place he had 4 assists in 4 video games. Hughes additionally performed in 7 video games for the US on the World Championship.

Since becoming a member of the Devils as an 18-year-old in 2019-20, Hughes has persistently upped his manufacturing each and every season, even though accidents have restricted his availability. In his rookie season in 2019-20, Hughes had 7 targets and 14 assists in 61 video games with a median ice time of 15:52 in step with recreation. Those numbers won’t bounce off the web page however taking into consideration he was once leaping from the USDP/USHL to the NHL, they had been cast. In 2020-21, Hughes was once in a position to construct upon his rookie season with 11 targets and 20 assists in 56 video games with a median ice time of nineteen:04. He gave the impression set for a large marketing campaign in 2021-22 and he didn’t disappoint.

Last season, Hughes solidified his spot on the most sensible line heart for the Devils with 26 targets and 30 assists in 49 video games with a median ice time of nineteen:34 in step with recreation. His Evolving Hockey card had his general affect within the ninetieth percentile together with his offensive affect within the 86th percentile. Notably, his even power and tool play offensive affect had been spaces the place he excelled because of his superb skating, mobility, transitional recreation, imaginative and prescient, and playmaking skill. Hughes has additionally proven the facility to attract consequences at an excellent fee whilst additionally being a participant that remains out of the field. His sturdy efficiency additionally ended in his first occupation All-Star variety. Hughes most commonly focused Sharangovich and Mercer final season but additionally noticed vital time with Sharangovich and Bratt in combination. Regardless, whoever he performs with will get higher because of Hughes’ skill to force play and create scoring possibilities.

Back on November 30, 2021, the Devils signed Hughes to an 8-year extension value $64 million that begins with the 2022-23 season. Also, final season Hughes began to put on an “A” for the staff obviously appearing that they price him each off and on the ice as a pace-setter. Hughes must proceed to be the focus of the Devils’ offense going ahead. I’m having a look ahead to him attaining even better heights in his 4th NHL season and hope he can assist lift this staff again to the playoffs.

Rankings & Your Take

For complete disclosure, here’s how everybody ranked the gamers on this submit:

The 2022 AATJ Top 25 Devils Under 25: The Top Five

The 2022 AATJ Top 25 Under 25 Rankings for #1 to #5
The AATJ Writers & Community

Thank you to everybody within the AATJ group and the writers for taking part in rating gamers for this yr’s checklist. Now that the highest 5 had been printed, let us know the place you had those gamers ranked. Did any of those scores wonder you? What are you anticipating out of those gamers within the upcoming season and past? Leave your feedback under and thanks for studying!

Leave a Comment