New Jersey Devils: Prospects Could Help In NHL Sooner Than Later

Alexander Holtz #10 of Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Alexander Holtz #10 of Sweden. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils season is off the rails. It is what it is. Maybe the COVID-19 outbreak ruined everything, or maybe this team was never as talented as its scorching hot start. Nico Hischier is injured. Corey Crawford retired before every wearing a jersey outside of Chicago. The team had the worst outbreak in the league. The veterans on expiring contracts have been awful, which not only hurts the team but hurts the value of these assets on the trade market. Everything went wrong, and it’s not getting better anytime soon.

However, there might be some unexpected assets coming to help. Looking at the schedule of some of the Devils prospects, they could be in for a longer-than-expected tryout with the team this year.

Alexander Holtz is obviously the prize among Devils prospects. He’s currently struggling some with Djurgården of the SHL. The team is likely going to make the play-in round of the postseason, but the team as a whole has 16 regulation wins and 23 regulation losses (they are 5-4 in OT). Holtz regular season ends with Djurgården on March 25th. If his team is out of the playoffs quickly, he technically could come to the U.S. by the beginning of next month. He might want some time off, but imagine if the Devils were able to get an actual finisher to put on a line with Jack Hughes for the last month of the season.

One player that hasn’t struggled is Dawson Mercer. The Devils second 1st-round pick has 26 points in 17 games for Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL. The regular season ends on March 24th, but his team is leading its division and will definitely be in the playoffs. That could lead to a lengthy run, so he might not be available to the Devils this season. However, if they face a tough matchup and lose, Mercer could be available at the same time as Holtz.

Providence College is starting the Hockey East Tournament this week against Devils prospect Artem Shlaine. The Devils aren’t going to touch Shlaine so he can continue to grow at a college program, but one player they might sign is Providence star Tyce Thompson. Thompson struggled at the start of this season as he adjusted to life after Jack Dugan, but he’s turned it on. The Devils might sign him once his season ends, which could come as early as next week. Providence is ranked 17th in the nation, so they should be easily in the Frozen Four tournament, but even if they win the whole thing, their season would end April 10th.

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This season has been terrible, but there are positives. Also, the future could be the present before we know it. It’s enough to get through the drudges that is this March schedule.