Topias Vilen – 2021 Fifth-Round Pick
Topias Vilen is moving to North America this season, and he might be the next late-round gem in Tom Fitzgerald’s arsenal. He has been really good in every showcase where we see him up close. The 20-year-old former fifth-round pick has continued to get better every season. In 41 games last season, he had nine goals and eight assists.
Now, Vilen is signed to play within the Devils organization. After two years where he grew a ton, both physically and on the ice, he now comes to North America in a much better state. There’s a very outside chance that Vilen could make the Devils, but injuries would have to happen. Still, it probably makes the most sense for Vilen to spend a year or maybe two in the AHL to hone his skills.
Vilen has said the speed of the AHL game is so much faster than it is in Finland. The speed of the NHL game is about twice as fast.
This is why we need to keep an eye on Vilen in 2023-24. Can he keep up with the AHL speed? Not only is it something overseas players have to adjust to, but the Devils play an especially fast style of play. We’re sure Vilen will grow into the role. It’s interesting to see where he ends up. Will he spend most of this season on a third pairing to get used to the style of play or will he jump onto a top-line role as the season progresses?