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.
#14- Myles Bell, LW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Myles Bell to me is the most interesting prospect the Devils have in their system. Bell was drafted 8th overall in the WHL draft. He
was drafted as a defenseman though. It wasn’t till this past season where his head coach in Kelowna moved him to LW. Another thing that people should know about Bell is a tragic off ice issue that happened when he was 17. He was driving a car over the speed limit and he lost control killing his girlfriend in the passenger seat. It is something that he had to live with and over come.
Back to the hockey stuff, the six-foot, 210 pound 19 year old put up a very impressive season. In his first year as a forward Bell ranked 6th in scoring in the WHL, leading his playoff bound team in goals and assists. He racked up 38 goals and 55 helpers in 69 regular season games. In the playoffs he had 5 goals and 4 assists in 9 games.
His best asset is is heavy slap shot, reportedly clocked in at 98 MPH. He has great defensive instinct as he is a converted D-man, and has some good, not great speed. However he isn’t used to playing the wing yet at this point in his career, so he still has a lot of work to do.
Looking ahead you see a guy who can play the point on the power play if he can round out his game and make the NHL. He will probably play in the AHL this season with Albany and another high ranking prospect we’ll see later on in the countdown. The scoring numbers are intriguing and Lou and Co. might have found a nice little sleeper in the later rounds.
#13- Joe Whitney, LW, Albany Devils (AHL)
While some see Joe Whitneyas too old to be a prospect, he has a legitimate shot at making the Devils in the coming years. The 25
year old was Albany’s leading point getter the past two seasons with 44 and 51 points. He also led the team in goals with 26, 11 more than the previous year.
He signed a 2-way contract with the Devils this off season, so he now has to option to be called up to the NHL after two season. The thing holding him back is his size. Like a number of Devils’ prospects named Gionta, Whitney went to Boston College. Not saying that Whitney will be the next Brian, or Stephen Gionta, but the similarities are certainly there. He is very responsible defensively and led the team with a plus 13.
Despite putting up good numbers in the AHL, and having a strong work ethic if he cracks the NHL, look for him to be a good fourth liner.
#12- Brandon Burlon, D, Albany Devils (AHL)
After playing in his second season in the AHL, Brandon Burlon played better offensively and defensively as he adjusted to the pro game coming from the University of Michigan. He only registered one goal, and 16 assists. However he improved in his vision and movement of the puck from his first AHL season.
Burlon was never going to blow anybody away with his offensive upside. He is your prototypical stay at home defenseman (6-foot, 188 pounds). I have him ranked as the 2nd best stay at home guy in the system behind another prospect we’ll see later on. The thing that makes me rank him this high is the improvement you saw in his defense. While not a real telling stat, when somebody’s +/- jumps 14 in the right way, (-5 to 9), you have to take notice.
His ability to move the puck has improved greatly, add that in with his ability to take and give hits give him an outside chance to make the NHL squad, but with the amount of prospects and NHL guys a head of him I’d look for him to be in Albany for the foreseeable future.
Stay tuned to Pucks and Pitchforks for prospects numbers 11-9 in the coming days.