New Jersey Devils Can Address Depth Woes by Trading for Jack Hughes's Best Friend

Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte played together for two years in the U.S. National Team Development Program.

New York Rangers v Los Angeles Kings
New York Rangers v Los Angeles Kings / Harry How/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils love their first-round picks. They've taken a flier on several in recent years, including Cal Foote and Shane Bowers this past offseason. With Timo Meier, Ondrej Palat, Jack Hughes, and Tomas Nosek all out indefinitely, it might be time to look elsewhere for reinforcements up front.

If there's one player out there - within reason - that would genuinely excite Jack Hughes when he gets the news, it's Los Angeles Kings prospect Alex Turcotte. Yes, the same Alex Turcotte who was drafted fifth overall in the 2019 NHL Draft. He has history with the New Jersey Devils star; they were teammates on the USNTDP's U-17 and U-18 teams through their draft year in 2019.

The 22-year-old has yet to make much of an impression at all at the NHL level. Turcotte has appeared in 12 total NHL games since being drafted and has yet to produce a single point. In parts of four years in the AHL, though, the young center has racked up 23 goals, 53 assists, and 76 points in 114 games. The caveat for both Turcotte and the Devils is that Turcotte has yet to eclipse 32 regular season games in any year since being drafted (AHL or NHL).

That's a big risk for a Devils team already marred with injury at both ends of the ice. In fact, Turcotte is out injured right now with a lower-body injury but, fortunately, is expected to return within a week. Before his injury, the Ontario Reign talisman had collected five goals, 15 assists, and 20 points in 23 games for what has been the most productive season of his pro career thus far.

Are the Kings willing to finally sell on Turcotte? Are the Devils willing to meet LA's potential asking price? Who knows. However, we can offer this: the Devils have very little forward talent in their system, with or without injuries. Outside of Graeme Clarke and Nolan Foote, there isn't anybody available who can add even a little scoring touch to New Jersey's lineup. Foote hasn't even played this season after starting the year on season-opening injured reserve.

So, even if the Devils take a swing on Turcotte and he doesn't develop into a contributor for them in the long term, they still have a guy known to produce in the AHL. That bodes well for the few top prospects they do have in Utica, including Akira Schmid. If the price is right, the Devils should at least consider a trade.