New Jersey Devils: 5 Players Losing Waiver Exempt Status

Tyce Thompson #12 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Tyce Thompson #12 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils defenseman Reilly Walsh (8): Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

Reilly Walsh

Most people are just assuming that the Devils are going to replace the departing Damon Severson with Simon Nemec. It makes sense. The Devils used a second-overall pick on Nemec, who looks like a future superstar. He had a really good season in the AHL, and at times he was their most electric player. However, another player has been electric in the AHL, and he could be the one to take up that spot.

Reilly Walsh was surprisingly signed three years ago in the middle of the pandemic. He left Harvard, where many thought he would play out his four years and become a college free agent. Instead, he’s been playing with Utica, and playing well mind you. He was quite good in an expanded defensive role this season while still recording 41 points.

In the playoffs, Walsh took over. He had four goals in five games. That is insane coming from a defenseman. He was dynamic and took over games. The Utica Comets were able to salvage some semblance of success by winning a round in the playoffs, something they couldn’t do last season when they dominated the regular season.

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Can Walsh play that way in the NHL? He won’t have to. He will probably be on a pairing with Kevin Bahl, another player on this list. Bahl will take care of the defense while Walsh secures an offensive game. It’s how Coach Ruff has done his defense, so it makes sense. Walsh has a real chance to do good this offseason and next season.