New Jersey Devils Prospect Pool Coming To Fruition

Reilly Walsh #8 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Reilly Walsh #8 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Nikita Okhotiuk #82 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nikita Okhotiuk – Round 2, 61st Overall

Nikita Okhotiuk is the more modern update of Anton Volchenkov with shot-blocking ability and plays the game with a snarl to Nikita Zaitsev. The Devils are fortunate to have this feisty Sasquatch of a defenseman on the roster. He absolutely takes zero prisoners when it comes to hits and will fight for his teammates. He has had exposure in the NHL after being called up last season, and it’s not very long for him to become a mainstay in the NHL.

Projection: Okhotiuk grows into that 2nd and 3rd pairing on defense at the NHL level in his first few seasons and then plays 2nd and 1st pairing minutes depending on how needy his team needs him to jump in and shut down opponents.

Daniil Misyul – Round 3, 70th Overall

Daniil Misyul, the left-handed defenseman, is currently 22 years old. A native of Minsk, Belarus playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL), McKeen’s Hockey says, “He is an excellent skater and a gifted puck rusher.”

These kinds of claims make him fit that Ken Daneyko style of hockey where clearing the crease is everything. Thwarting any second chances off the goalie is crucial in keeping goals out of your own net. This style of puck rushing will allow the Devils to kill time effectively and get the offensive breakouts finished perfectly.

Projection: 2nd line puck rushing defensive-defenseman and gets to jump in playing 1st line minutes similar to Jonas Siegenthaler. If he isn’t signed, the Devils will look to trade him in a package to realign the pipeline more.

Michael Vukojevic – Round 3, 82nd overall

The Oakville, Ontario native brings a physical style of play on the left side, bringing size, and could thrive if Misyul doesn’t sign with the Devils. That’s an impact because they play a similar game. Vukojevic is a similar hard-hitting defenseman who pounds his way into puck carriers, and he will do his best to make the crease a living hell. He’s the far better player when it comes to speed, skating, and surveys the ice well, being a very wise skater.

Vukojevic will benefit from being called up and being very assertive in heavy, physical, and fast-paced hockey games, Helping the Devils in neutral zone entries impact their potency on offense.

Projection: Two-way LHD playing second line minutes becomes a dual threat that could also be used on the power play and penalty kill.

Case McCarthy – Round 4, 118th Overall

Case McCarthy, the Troy, New York native, plays part of the New Jersey Devils’ physical, hard-hitting, Sasquatch style of hockey where opponents need to keep their heads up. McCarthy is the type of defender who suits the lyrics “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool. Unlike Vukojevic, the Boston University Terrier is more of a break-the-puckout player similar to Ryan Graves. At Boston University, the young defenseman is an alternative captain that can ship in a bit offensively but is more known as a shutdown defenseman.

Projection: 2nd, 3rd line minutes but becomes a huge presence making it feel as if teams go up against a Chris Neil type of hard-hitting skater striking tons of fear in NHL opponents throughout his career.