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 have previously given you prospects we ranked from 20-4. Well here are the top three prospects in our countdown.
20. Mike Sislo – RW
19. Ben Thompson – LW
18. Ryan Kujawinski – C
17. Graham Black – C
16. Seth Helgeson – D
15. Maxime Clermont – G
14. Myles Bell – LW
13. Joe Whitney – LW
12. Brandon Burlon – D
11. Keith Kinkaid – G
10. Blake Pietila – LW
9. Reece Scarlett – D
8. Scott Wedgewood – G
7. Alex Urbom – D (recently lost on waivers)
6. Steve Santini – D
5. Stefan Matteau – C/RW
4. Eric Gelinas – D
#3. Damon Severson, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Damon Severson was given a very, very long look in training camp, and even played in a couple preseason games. In the end though, he is still young and has to develop a little bit more, before he passes Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas on the depth chart. Make no mistake though he has the tools to become a very good two way player for the Devils in the coming years.
Since being sent back to his CHL team he has played in three games, and has three points (1 goal, 2 assists). Last season with Kelowna he put up 52 points (10 goals, 42 assists), in 71 games. Severson also got the chance to play in two AHL games last season after his CHL team was eliminated from the playoffs, putting up two assists in two games.
The 19-year old, 6-2, 198 pounder, needs to add some more muscle before he can handle the grind of being an NHL defenseman. One thing I took from his time in the preseason games is that he needs some more coaching in his own zone. You saw how mobile he is and the potential he has on the offensive side. He is a canidate to play for team Canada in the upcoming World Junior Championships. Should be a good one on the horizon for the Devils.
#2. Reid Boucher, LW, Albany Devils
After a very impressive season with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL Reid Boucher jumped up in the organizational depth chart. He broke Steven Stamkos‘ Sarnia Sting goal record with 62 goals in 68 games. He also added 33 assists, good enough for 95 points.
After a hot start Boucher lost his linemates in Sarnia (Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakopov) to the NHL. People thought he would slow down, but Reid did no such thing, scoring more goals than any other Sting player including the a fore mentioned Stamkos.
Like Severson, Boucher was given a look in some preseason games for the Devils, before ultimately being sent back down. Because he is older he will go to Albany and play in the AHL, where he could be called up this season if he plays well. I wouldn’t expect that because i feel like he still needs some seasoning. He could really push to make the NHL in next year’s camp, if he plays well at the AHL level.
He is on the small side at 5-11, but has very good hockey senses in the offensive zone. He is not afraid to go to the front of the net and do damage in the dirty areas. Another thing I noticed he does is he finds a soft spot in the D and when he gets his shot off it’s a thing of beauty. I will be keeping an eye on him when he plays this season. I wouldn’t expect a 60 goal guy at the NHL level, but I do see a 25,30, maybe even 35 goal player in his prime.
#1 Jon Merrill, D, Albany Devils
After being passed up in the first round of his draft year due to some off ice issues, the Devils selected Jon Merrill with an early second round draft pick. Despite an up and down career at Michigan in the NCAA Merrill ranks at the top of our list.
After three years in college he decided to forgo his senior season and sign a professional entry level contract with the Devils. Merrill played in a couple preseason games and registered a couple assists in those. The big 6-3 blueliner has a big shot and above average play making ability. Like most young defenseman Merrill has a lot to do in his own zone before he can make the NHL level.
He can play on both the power play and penalty kill. In Michigan he was consistently on the first pairing, and power play unit.
He will play the upcoming season on the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany playing on the first pair with Eric Gelinas. Next year could be the year Merrill makes an impact in the NHL. He should be in a battle with Gelinas and Severson to crack the big leagues.
The mobile defenseman brings size, and play making ability to the organization. Some people thought he or Gelinas would make the team this season, but it was decided that neither were ready to handle the rigors of being an everyday defenseman in the NHL.
Stay up to date on all New Jersey Devils prospects this season, I will give several reports on what is going down on the farm this upcoming season.