New Jersey Devils: Top 25 Prospects At Midseason

Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images)
Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. RW. Nick Merkley. player. Pick Analysis. Binghamton Devils. 10. 85

Previously Ranked: NR

Nick Merkley feels like the forgotten player from the Taylor Hall trade. Everyone was up in arms because Kevin Bahl was considered the player Ray Shero demanded, and Nate Schnarr was who everyone was trying to figure out. Then, there’s this former 1st-round pick who clearly needed a change of scenery, and got exactly what he needed. Merkley has 10 points in 12 games with the B-Devils. He already has more goals in Bingo than he had the whole season in Tucson. We could see him making the New Jersey Devils after a few players get traded, but we just want to see him make it past the honeymoon stage before moving him up the list.

Kevin Bahl. 9. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. D. Ottawa 67's. player. 85

Previously Ranked: NR

Kevin Bahl is a player that severely separates the fanbase, experts, prospect reports and just about everyone. Some think Bahl is going to make the Devils next season (that’s mostly fans), while others believe his ceiling is as a third-pairing defenseman, and he’s not much else. Bahl won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Classic, but he found himself falling down the lineup at times. He’s having a much better season with the 67’s. Bahl is 6’7 but moves like he’s five inches shorter. He has immense skills, but can he put it all together? That’s a story that’s yet to be written.

8. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Penn State. LW. Aarne Talvitie. 85

Previously Ranked: 9

Penn State hockey has been a little all over the place this season, but as of right now they are ranked 6th in the country. The Big 10 has been insane, and it’s only going to bring the best out of these prospects. Aarne Talvitie is coming off a major injury he suffered at last year’s World Junior Championship Game, so we can understand him starting slow. Instead, he’s scored 15 points in 20 games. He chose to go to Penn State instead of playing in his native Finland, and it’s looking like it was the right decision. He’s getting more used to the speed and strategy of the North American game. He’s just a sophomore, and he seems to like life as a Nittany Lion, but we see the Devils trying to sign Talvitie in the offseason to get him going in the NHL/AHL.

Tyce Thompson. 7. player. 85. Scouting Report. C. Pick Analysis. Providence College

Previously Ranked: NR

We reeeeeeaaaaalllyyy missed the boat on this one in the preseason. Tyce Thompson just got lost in the mix of 11 draft picks in the 2019 NHL Draft. Now, the Devils have a player that is up for the Hobey Baker Award, something given to the best player in college hockey. Thompson is second in the country with 37 points, second only to his teammate Jack Duggan. He’s tied for the nation’s lead with 17 goals. He’s currently leading a Providence team that’s beating all expectations as they are ranked eighth in the nation. He’s someone we thought could be okay, but we just didn’t expect this, however it seems legit.

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. LW. Binghamton Devils. Fabian Zetterlund. 6. player. 85

Previously Ranked: 7

First, we have to be clear, we don’t think Fabian Zetterlund deserves to move up on our list based on how he’s played this season. The ranking of Zetterlund always had to do with his development and his ceiling over what he was going to do in the 2019-20 season. He only moved up because Jack Hughes and Jesper Boqvist fell off the list. Still, he has close to a half-point per game. It’s not anything to go home about, but it’s definitely not as bad as it could have been. He’s scoring some goals, and he’s playing better now that he seems to be used to the North American play. He’s still a year or two away, but we see some things that could be built upon.