New Jersey Devils: Where Do Colton White And Josh Jacobs Fit?

Colton White #6 of the Binghamton Devils. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
Colton White #6 of the Binghamton Devils. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils future on defense has everything to do with players like Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, Reilly Walsh, and whoever the Devils take with the fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft (which is expected to be a defenseman). Then, there are prospects like Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotyuk, Michael Vukojevic, and Ethan Edwards who have a chance to grow into a good NHL defenseman one day. However, at one time the Devils thought the future would have Josh Jacobs and Colton White.

That’s just not the case anymore. Jacobs actually looked really good in training camp last season, but he didn’t sniff the NHL despite the team losing defensemen seemingly by the day between injuries, sickness, trades, and waiver claims. He spent the entire season in the AHL, and he didn’t exactly light it up. He saw Bahl, Okhotyuk, and Vukojevic pass him on the depth chart. The former 2nd-round pick now has a decision to make, because he’s a group 6 free agent. Basically, he’s been around long enough but hasn’t played enough NHL games to be a free agent so he’s able to go anywhere.

Bahl, Okhotyuk, Vukojevic, Walsh, Jeremy Groleau, Matthew Hellickson, and possibly Colton White are under team control next season. We’ll get to White in a second, but there might not even be room for Jacobs on the roster. If they keep White, they have seven defensemen on the roster that will likely play in Binghamton, and that’s without signing a veteran like Matt Tennyson or Connor Carrick.

Jacobs’s time with the Devils might be running out. The team has moved on from young players in the past, and Jacobs is 25 years old. It’s hard to imagine he will grow into an NHL regular at this point.

Speaking of White, his situation is a little different. The Devils would have to decide they don’t want him to let him become a free agent. He’s still a restricted free agent. The Devils have to give him a qualifying offer to keep him under team control.

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White has been given more of an NHL chance than Jacobs, and he’s just 24 years old. The Devils called him up last year and the year before, so it’s clear they want to see what they have in the former 4th-round pick. White is a fine player, but he’s not getting too far ahead of the other young prospects on the roster.

Here’s how it looks now for Jacobs and White. One didn’t prove himself in his last chance and the other is likely going to get one more. Last year was weird, and the team tried like 50 different defensive pairings, so White does deserve one more chance. Jacobs probably does too, but it’s going to come in a different uniform. There just isn’t room here.