3 intriguing prospects the Devils cannot trade at the 2024 deadline

It remains to be seen whether the New Jersey Devils will be buyers at the 2024 trade deadline, but if they buy, there are some prospects they should not trade.

Utica's Graeme Clark takes a shot at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica on Friday, May 5, 2023.
Utica's Graeme Clark takes a shot at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica on Friday, May 5, 2023. / Daniel DeLoach/Utica Observer-Dispatch /
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Topias Vilen is one blueliner in the system you can’t underestimate 

Like Lenni Hameenaho, Topias Vilen is one prospect who is still a while away from earning a spot with the big club, but his first full season in North America has been productive. He saw time with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder, where he scored 10 points and three goals in six contests. Vilen also has 16 points in 33 games and a goal with the Utica Comets, putting him on a near half-point-per-game pace. 

This is a continuation of what we saw in Liiga, when he logged a solid 17 points and nine goals in 41 games with the Pelicans before amassing another nine points and four goals in 18 playoff games. Given his production at the lower levels and in Finland, the Devils may have a prospect in their organization who can rack up some unprecedented points if they keep the fifth-round pick from 2021 around. 

Despite points-productivity, however, Vilen’s game is defense-first, so he’s completely fine with pushing opponents around near the crease and disrupting would-be plays before they even get going. Overall, he has a simple approach that works: End an opponent’s play before it begins or at least minimize it, and make the right decision with the puck if it lands on his stick. Yeah, that’s a player worth developing in your system, then calling him up when he’s ready. 

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(Statistics provided by Elite Prospects as of March 1st)