Luke Hughes Leads 2023-24 New Jersey Devils Prospect Pyramid

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 09: Luke Hughes #43 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 09, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - MAY 09: Luke Hughes #43 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 09, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are one of the best teams in the NHL. They finished last season with the third most standings points in the NHL and beat their biggest rival in the playoffs. The team that took them down, the Carolina Hurricanes, was one of the two teams with more points than them.

Teams this good usually have a bad farm system. The New Jersey Devils are clearly just getting started because their prospects are outstanding. There are a ton of good prospects still in the system despite the team taking big steps at the NHL level.

Usually, the nature of being good causes teams to have worse farms. Making big trades for win-now talent and having fewer/worse draft selections makes it tough to be elite and have a good prospect farm. That may happen to the Devils eventually but they are not there now.

So, how does the farm look in terms of player rankings? Well, it is pretty clear who is at the top but the rest of these kids are still working on having an NHL career. It is fun to see them all grow their games and work toward the ultimate goal of reaching the NHL.

The New Jersey Devils Prospect Pyramid is a great way to rank prospects.

Lots of other outlets like to rank prospects numerically. Of course, that is a great way to do it and it always creates conversation. However, there is another fun way to rank prospects.

You may have heard of famous YouTuber Steve Dangle. He mostly covers the Toronto Maple Leafs and he started this thing known as the prospect pyramid. It is a way to rank prospects within an organization and it goes all the way back to the year that Auston Matthews was first drafted.

Now, after a few years of doing a New Jersey Devils version, it is time for the 2023 edition. This is the 2023 Steve Dangle Prospect Pyramid for the New Jersey Devils:

There are a few notable omissions that are different from last year. For one, there are a few players that were traded away. Fabian Zetterlund, Reilly Walsh, Shakir Mukhamadullin, and Nikita Okhotyuk are all with different organizations. There is also the graduation of Kevin Bahl, who was on the pyramid last year. He should be a big part of the lineup this season, and he has played amazing. Not bad for a former Tier 4 player. Anything can happen in NHL development.

Tier 1 had Luke Hughes last year, and he is back for what should be his last appearance on the pyramid. He was joined by Simon Nemec this year as he has been amazing since becoming the number two pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

These two will be a big part of the Devils’ blue line over the next few years. Each of them even has room to become a star player in the NHL, and their pedigree is off the charts. As top-10 NHL prospects regardless of organization, they are both in a position to succeed.

Despite playing in 28 NHL games, Alexander Holtz is back on the pyramid. The former 7th-overall pick needs to have a big year if he ever wants to have a prominent role on this team. He is off to a great start in the preseason. Tier 2 will be his spot for the second year in a row.

The rise of Akira Schmid in 2022-23 earned him a spot with Holtz in the second tier. He has 9 regular season games under his belt and was amazing in the playoffs. He’ll split the net this season unless the Devils make an upgrade, which should be great for his development.

Tier 3 is loaded with talent but with players who might not have the same ceiling as the guys ahead of them. Seamus Casey, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Topias Vilen are all great players hoping to have an NHL future. Of the three, Casey is the best. Watching him at Michigan should be a pleasure this year as he should be taking all of the big minutes missing with Luke Hughes gone to the NHL. Expect a lot of offense but development for his game on the defensive side.

Josh Filmon, Chase Stillman, Lenni Hameenaho, Graeme Clarke, Zakhar Bardakov, and Nolan Foote all make up tier four. It is the most interesting tier because these guys could become stars, middle-of-the-pack NHL players, or career AHLers. Of them all, Hameenaho is the most exciting because he was freshly drafted in 2023.

Tier five comprises Ethan Edwards, Cam Squires, Tyler Brennan, Samu Salminen, Charlie Leddy, Tyce Thompson, and Daniil Misyul. It is a good group of players that have a long way to go in their development.

Thompson, the younger brother of Buffalo Sabres superstar Tage Thompson, already scored a big goal in the preseason. Eyes will be on him because of his brother, but he has the size and skills to become a good player as well.

Ethan Edwards also will be playing at Michigan with Seamus Casey so we’ll see how he sticks out playing on that awesome team. Cam Squires also deserves a mention because of his play so far. He seems to score every time he plays in a game that fans are able to stream.

Tier 6 is just everybody else. If they are in the New Jersey Devils organization and not in the top five tiers, they are in this tier. Players can come from this tier and rise above in any given year and make an impact. That is what makes prospects so fun to watch.

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2023-24 is going to be a good year for the New Jersey Devils. Keeping the farm up to speed should be a big deal because that is a key to sustained success. Hopefully, the good years on the farm will continue.