New Jersey Devils: Top 5 Prospects On Roster Bubble This Offseason

New Jersey Devils - Reilly Walsh (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils - Reilly Walsh (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils Reilly Walsh
Reilly Walsh (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

Reilly Walsh

In our midseason prospect rankings, Harvard defenseman Reilly Walsh was named the second-best prospect in all of the New Jersey Devils system. That was partially because of the graduation of Jack Hughes and Jesper Boqvist, but it’s also because he’s a very talented defenseman that could jump in to the Devils blue line as it’s currently constructed.

Walsh is in his Junior year at Harvard, and as Ray Shero famously told him, playing for the Crimson would be the best “three years of his life”. He was referring to the fact that the Devils had to sign him after those three years in order to avoid him becoming a college free agent next season. So, if the Devils don’t sign Walsh this offseason, luring him away from college, then he’s likely going to sign elsewhere, similar to what Will Butcher did to the Colorado Avalanche to sign here.

Walsh watched as his former teammate Adam Fox left the nest and forced a trade to play with the New York Rangers. That’s worked out about as well as it possibly could have. That’s another reason the Devils have to sign Walsh. If he leaves next year, there’s more than a good chance he could choose to sign with their most-hated rival since one of Walsh’s teammates plays there.

Walsh could make the jump to the NHL next season, or he could play some time in the AHL to hone his craft. He’s not ready to carry the load, but if the Devils want to throw him in the Connor Carrick role as a seventh defenseman, we think he’d do really well in that role at first. Either way, signing him might be the Devils biggest priority this offseason.