New Jersey Devils: Reilly Walsh Heading Back To Harvard

Reilly Walsh (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Reilly Walsh (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

New Jersey Devils prospect Reilly Walsh has made a decision and is opting to go back to Harvard for his senior season and wait one extra year to turn pro.

The New Jersey Devils have some really good young players on the team and in their prospect pool. Some of them have graduated to the NHL, some have made an impact with the Binghamton Devils,  and some haven’t turned pro yet. Harvard defenseman Reilly Walsh is one of those players we haven’t seen turn pro yet.  He was drafted by New Jersey in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL Draft. New Jersey has high hopes that he will be a great player for them someday.

It came out on Wednesday night that Walsh is going to make his return to Harvard for his senior year. This isn’t necessarily great news for the New Jersey Devils. That means that he is going to go back to school for his senior year with the hopes of having another good year. He will play in The Beanpot again and have a chance to win that along with trying to make the NCAA tournament. The reason it is bad news is that he isn’t signing with the Devils any time soon.

Now, it is not even a guarantee that he signs with the Devils at all anymore.  He can play all next season, not sign with them when Harvard’s season is over, and sign as a free agent with any team he wants on August 15th, 2021. That is what Will Butcher did to the Colorado Avalanche after his season with Denver back in 2017. It is not ideal that this is the possibility.

So who are some candidates for Walsh to sign with?  Well, the obvious two answers are to think he might join a former teammate. There is Adam Fox with the New York Rangers or John Marino with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both of those teams can fit Walsh on their blue line and might be willing to. There is also the Boston Bruins who might try to take advantage of him being a local kid. None of those teams are guaranteed and that is just speculation.

If he were to sign with the New Jersey Devils, that would be a smart move by him. They would likely offer him high-end minutes right away if he is good enough. The one positive out of this is him sighing with the Devils after his senior year at Harvard would be the best-case scenario out of it all of the possibilities. One more year at Harvard should really help his development and make sure he is NHL ready when he steps in.

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If the Devils are in a playoff race by this time next year, he will be more likely to sign. That could mean that they offer him a spot on the team for the playoffs, which is always intriguing. That is what the Boston Bruins did with Charlie McAvoy back in 2017. If they are buried in the standings like they are right now, that might make things difficult. Hopefully, the reports about the Devils being okay and confident with this decision are accurate and everything works out well in the end.