Here at Pucks and Pitchforks we try to keep you updated on all Devils news. Living in New Jersey the one thing I noticed, is that it’s hard to take a look at future New Jersey Devils. SO here I will give you our top 20 prospects in the Devils system. We will list a few prospects every couple days with a write up and stats on each.
#20- Mike Sislo, RW, Albany Devils
The 25 year old winger kicks off our top 20 Devils prospect list. Sislo finished his his second full professional season after being signed out of the University of New Hampshire in the NCAA. Playing with Albany in the AHL Mike racked up 13 goals and 13 assists. The big knock on Sislo is he has a small frame at 5-11, 188. Like so many small guys he can skate very well. It might be the reason he eventually makes the NHL team. Ever since putting up about a point per game at UNH, he has not been able to get close to that mark playing in the AHL for two full seasons.
His AHL numbers in 123 games Sislo has 22 goals, 31 assists, good enough for 53 points. The last two seasons you saw his defense improve and actually had a plus rating each of the last two seasons, when most of the Albany squad did not. At his peak he could be compared to Stephan Gionta currently of the New Jersey Devils, but he has a ways to go for that.
#19- Ben Thomson, LW, Kitchener Rangers
Being a 4th round pick in 2012, Thomson still has a lot of time to develop. The thing you notice right away is his size 6-4, 212. The Devils have been drafting big forwards in recent year, and make no mistake, Thomson is one of those players they expect to eventually play in the NHL. He is a solid playmaker, registering 30 assists two years ago. He needs to be able to find the back of the net more to move up on our list. Last season saw Ben regress in stats, but started to show a regress in play as well.
2013-2014 will be a big year for Thomson, with a bunch of other big prospect ahead of him on this list that have shown more skill. As he gets up there in age he will have to show more to make an impact on the New Jersey Devils. He is tough and can drop the buckets, but will need to show more than that. I compare him at his peak to Matt Martin of the New York Islanders.
Selected in the most recent draft, (3rd round 74th overall) Kujawinski had his most sucessful year in the OHL. Drafted number four overall in 2011 by the Sting, he was traded to Kingston after not performing. Ryan has done nothing but improve every single year. The 6-2, 204 18-year old scored 17 goals and racked up 31 assists. The 48 point season was an upgrade over the previous 30 point season. You could see him turn into the player he was drafted to be by Sarina in 2011.
The Devils need a couple of forward prospects to take the next step, similar to Matteau and Boucher have done, and they are ranked higher on our list. Kujawinski could make the next step this year. He has to work on his defense this year to show he can play in all three zones, and not be one dimensional.If he can’t look for him to be moved to a wing once he moves onto Albany or New Jersey. It was a “buy low” pick for Lou Lamoriello and David Conte as Kujawinski was a projected 1st/2nd rounder. I compare him to at his peak Devin Setoguchi.
Stay tuned for prospects 17-15 in the coming days.