New Jersey Devils: Forward Grades Through One Quarter Of The Season

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /
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New Jersey Devils Janne Kuokkanen
Janne Kuokkanen #59 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Depth Forwards

Janne Kuokkanen

GP:13 G:1 A:5 PTS:6

Janne Kuokkanen has had some solid and some invisible games this season, but after a decent stretch should have an idea what it takes to make the NHL. He needs to find his consistency, but when he plays physical he does play better overall. Finding that spark could have him stick in the lineup when given a shot again, especially if Gusev continues to struggle.

Quarter season grade: C+

Yegor Sharangovich

GP:12 G:2 A:1 PTS:3

Yegor Sharangovich looked like the next big thing after his torrid pace in the KHL then his start to the season with Hughes. His shot is absolutely next level even on a skilled NHL team. If he gets it off, goaltenders should be afraid. His play has dipped however, and the chances have dried up for him. With the lineup deeply competitive, his spot is far from guaranteed. Sharangovich will need to get his legs under him again and use his speed to find the open spot in a more limited role likely on the third line if he wants to find success. It is more likely that he plays a bigger role in the AHL for now.

Quarter season grade: C

Nick Merkley

GP:5 G:1 A:2 PTS:3

After looking like he had a 3rd line spot locked up coming into the season thanks to a strong performance late last season, Nick Merkley really has fallen behind despite the good points total. He has been mostly invisible on the ice and needs to work hard each shift to make an impact or the points will dry up. With the depth now, no one can afford to take a shift off and at 23 years old Merkley needs to find his stride quickly or he will be seen as a career AHLer.

Quarter season grade: C+

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The other two other forward to get time this season were Mikhail Maltsev and Jesper Boqvist. Maltsev scored his first goal of his NHL career, but was very quiet and is not NHL ready. Boqvist has been a huge disappointment. With no points in 5 games this season and 4 in 40 games for his career, Boqvist needs extended time in the AHL and to put up some numbers to get back on track before his career is derailed.