New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Team Can’t Afford To Get Injured

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Jesper Bratt

The Devils don’t look like they are putting Jesper Bratt on the traditional first line with Hughes. It seems like his wingers will be Ondrej Palat and Alex Holtz. Bratt will play on a line with Hischier and likely Tomas Tatar to start. Dawson Mercer and Yegor Sharangovich will be in very quick succession if Tatar falls off in any way.

So, with some interesting wing depth, why is Bratt so important? It’s pretty simple, actually.

The Devils are relying on Hughes to push Holtz and Palat to new heights. With Bratt on a line with Hischier, they can help each other reach new heights. Replacing Bratt with Sharangovich puts a lot more pressure on Hischier to push that line offensively.

That means the Devils top two lines are relying on the centers to do too much. Again. It seems too often the Devils need Hischier and Hughes to carry the brunt of the load. Last season, Bratt’s offensive explosion finally gave them a wing who could do that for them. If Bratt were to get injured, this puts the Devils right back in the spot where the wingers are the weakness.