5 Observations From New Jersey Devils Final Roster Cuts

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 07: Blake Coleman #20 of the New Jersey Devils and the rest of the bench smile after teammate Nico Hischier scored in the second period against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on January 07, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 07: Blake Coleman #20 of the New Jersey Devils and the rest of the bench smile after teammate Nico Hischier scored in the second period against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on January 07, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Nico Hischier #13 and Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Nico Hischier And Jesper Bratt Make This Forward Group Pretty Good

Right now, the top six of the Devils looks like it’s going to look like this:

Nikita Gusev – Jack Hughes – Kyle Palmieri
Andreas Johnsson – Travis Zajac – Pavel Zacha

There are two names on that list that clearly don’t belong. Zajac hasn’t been a top-six center since Nico Hischier stole his spot in his rookie season. He’s still very valuable as a penalty killer and a defensive dynamo who can throw in 10-12 goals a season. Zacha is also a great penalty killer. He still has upside, but it’s not even worth talking about anymore. He should be in the bottom six with some quickness.

Then, looking at the Devils bottom line, it looks like at first it’s going to be some combination of Miles Wood, Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, Brett Seney, and Foote. Wood is a lock, and the other two candidates are likely McLeod and Bastian. That’s a line that leaves a lot to be desired, but maybe there is something we’re not seeing.

Either way, it appears clear that the Devils would move McLeod and Bastian out of the lineup once Hischier and Bratt return. Then, the lines would look something like this:

Gusev-Hughes-Palmieri
Johnsson-Hischier-Bratt
Wood-Zajac-Zacha
Sharangovich-Boqvist-Kuokkanen

That’s actually a very interesting lineup. This would be exciting to watch on a nightly basis.