Where Does Marian Studenic Fit On New Jersey Devils This Season?

New Jersey Devils right wing Marian Studenic (67): Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils right wing Marian Studenic (67): Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports /

Going into the current season, Marian Studenic was a forward that had an uncertain future with the New Jersey Devils. After making a good first impression in the latter stages of the 2020-21 season scoring his 1st NHL goal against the New York Rangers, many still expected the Slovakian right winger to start the season with the Utica Comets. However, with the increase in injuries and COVID cases, Studenic has found himself in 15 games so far this year.

With the increased playing time, the 2017 5th-round pick has seen a lot of the time on the 4th line alongside a handful of players including Michael McLeod and Jesper Boqvist. While it can be credited to the lack of ice time, the problem remains that Studenic is yet to record a point this year. In fact, he hasn’t recorded a positive +/- rating all season as well. While it’s easy to consider Studenic less than NHL ready based on his statistics, don’t be so quick to write him off.

Amongst consistent Devils 4th liners, Studenic is actually towards the top of the list in chances and has been victimized by lots of good saves (he’s also missed the net a couple of times). Saturday night was proof the goals will come as he keeps getting used to the NHL and sees a potential increase in shift count.

The real question, however, is if Studenic has a place on the main roster when the team finds themselves back at full health. It’s unlikely Marian maintains his promotion if the Devils get their full group of forwards back. New Jersey is already missing a ton of players in the health and safety protocols. Yegor Sharangovich, Andreas Johnsson, Jesper Bratt, Nathan Bastian, Mason Geertsen, Alex Holtz, and Pavel Zacha are all out of the lineup for now. In addition, the organization is hopeful that Miles Wood can make a return at some point this season.

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So to conclude, while this NHL experience is very valuable to Studenic and there’s a good chance we see him become a mainstay in future seasons, 2022 is likely not ‘the’ year for the 23-year-old. The taxi squad is a great opportunity for him to get a mix of experiences and continue to grow into the player and goal scorer he will one day be.