New Jersey Devils: 5 Things That Must Happen To Make Playoffs

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New Jersey Devils Alex Holtz

Alexander Holtz – New Jersey Devils (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

5. Young Player Steps Up

If the Devils don’t end up adding someone like Vladimir Tarasenko or Filip Forsberg, their current wingers are very, very young. The recent signing of Tatar is the older forward on the team. After him, it’s 27-year-old Andreas Johnsson. He hopes to have a bounce-back season, but even if he struggles, the Devils have so many young forwards to lean on.

The Devils need two young players on the wing at this point. Tatar, Sharangovich, Kuokkanen, Johnsson, Miles Wood, Jesper Bratt, and likely Pavel Zacha are the guaranteed wingers. That leaves one spot if Zacha plays wing or two if he plays center. Let’s assume he or Jesper Boqvist plays center on the third line. That means the Devils have one spot for Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer, Nolan Foote, Tyce Thompson, Marian Studenic, and Graeme Clarke.

One of those players needs to step up to stay in the lineup. Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if any of those players make the lineup. What the Devils need is a surprising return from one of these forwards. If they are going to make the playoffs, there need to be players who go beyond our expectations. It would be great if Bratt or Wood played beyond the Devils’ expectations, but if Holtz does it, his ceiling is crazy high.

The Devils have a lot to work on before the season starts in two months. However, if the work comes to fruition, the playoffs are absolutely a possibility.

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