Who Are Actually New Jersey Devils Untouchables

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 09: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on December 09, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 09: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center on December 09, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Trade season is upon us. Moves have been made, and there are more moves to come. It is pretty well known that the New Jersey Devils are looking to upgrade their team at the March 3rd NHL Trade Deadline. That said, for a trade of any significance to be made, the Devils must part ways with certain players.

The trading of well-liked players may cause pain to the fanbase, but you have to give to get. That is the harsh reality of sports. The Devils do have a list of players they deem untouchable. Let’s pinpoint who those players may be.

Jack Hughes

This should surprise nobody, and this does not need much explanation. Jack Hughes is not going anywhere. He is one of the pillars of this organization, and if everything goes according to plan, Hughes will be in New Jersey for the next 20 years. Expect number 86 to reside in the rafters of the Prudential Center for as long as the Devils franchise exists.

Nico Hischier 

Yet again, this one does not need much explanation. Nico Hischier, the captain of the Devils at just 24 years old, will likely wear the red and black for the entirety of his NHL career. He is the heart and soul of the team and will not be included in any trade packages.

Dawson Mercer

In his age-21 season, Dawson Mercer has shown the Devils faithful why he deserves to be in New Jersey for many years to come. Mercer has put up 15 goals and 34 points. Through 56 games, he seems well on his way to a 20+ goal, 50+ point season. Mercer has improved on his game in both ends of the rink and has become a key cog on the Devils’ penalty kill. Mercer can potentially be a mainstay in the Devils’ top six, with his two-way game becoming reminiscent of Devils legend Adam Henrique. All these things considered, Mercer seems to be amongst a short list of untouchables for the Devils.

Dougie Hamilton

After a tumultuous first season in New Jersey, Dougie Hamilton has become the reliable offensive defenseman for which the organization has been yearning. Suiting up for all 56 games so far, Hamilton has 16 goals and 38 assists and is well on pace for a 70+ point season. In year two of his seven-year, $63 million contract, it’s a safe bet that Hamilton is here for the foreseeable future, anchoring the backend for the Devils as their Stanley Cup window opens.

John Marino

John Marino has been nothing but reliable since he arrived to New Jersey this summer. Marino has offered stability on the backend and appears to have been the missing piece on the right side of the Devils defense. Marino is under contract through the 2027 season at a $4.4 million cap hit, which is a bargain for the quality of defense he provides. It would be awfully hard to pry such a quality defenseman away from the Devils at such value, which is why Marino lands on this list of untouchables.

Vitek Vanecek

Vitek Vanecek has endeared himself to the Devils faithful in his first year in New Jersey. Vanecek has offered a sense of security in net for the Devils, something the organization has been seeking since the downfall of Cory Schneider. The net was a nightmare before the arrival of Vanecek, with a plethora of non-NHL caliber goaltenders suiting up for the Devils over the past two seasons. In 37 games this season, Vanecek has a 24-6-3 record, a 2.35 goals-against average, and a .914 save percentage. Vanecek appears to be the best netminder the Devils have deployed since the good years of Cory Schneider, making it hard to believe the Devils would move him anytime soon. Vanecek signed a three-year, $10.2 million contract last July, I would expect him to play out that contract in New Jersey, getting the bulk of the minutes as the starting goaltender.

Luke Hughes

Although Luke Hughes has not yet arrived in Newark, it’s safe to assume that the youngest Hughes brother will don the red and black for quite some time at the NHL level. Luke Hughes has all the intangibles to become an absolute star in the National Hockey League, similar to his pair of brothers, Jack and Quinn. At 19, Hughes has dominated for the Michigan Wolverines at the collegiate level. According to many sources, including Michigan head coach Brandon Naurato, he will most likely make the leap to the NHL following the conclusion of Michigan’s season. Not only does Luke look like a spectacular hockey player, but the Devils are already in his bloodlines with Jack on a long-term deal in New Jersey. Luke Hughes is about as untouchable as Jack Hughes. Expect the Hughes duo to set the league on fire in Devils uniforms for the foreseeable future.

Next. Sleeper Trade Deadline Targets. dark

Simon Nemec

Simon Nemec has had a smooth first season playing in North America after being selected second overall by the Devils in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. In 43 games for the Utica Comets, Nemec has 6 goals and 18 points and a +8 rating on an up-and-down Comets team. The Devils have turned their defensive prospect pool into a position of strength in recent years and Nemec feels like an untouchable in any trade considering the pool is flush with good defensemen. Assuming Nemec continues to play well in Utica, expect him to make the leap to the NHL in a Devils uniform at the start of next season.