New Jersey Devls: Simon Nemec's Impressive Start Solidifies His Role

The New Jersey Devils were forced to call former second-overall pick Simon Nemec up after Dougie Hamilton's injury. He's more than secured his spot in the lineup after three games.

Dec 7, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) takes a shot
Dec 7, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) takes a shot / Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils' defensive structure has been a disaster this season. From its constant poor play trying to defend in their zone to the laundry list of injuries, it seems the one unit that has plagued the Devils in their rebuild has continued. However, there are a few bright spots on this defensive core, one being Luke Hughes and the other being Simon Nemec. Nemec came up when Dougie Hamilton tore his pectoral muscle.

He is earning his role to be on the team full-time. The Hamilton injury will likely be out for what is likely months, maybe the whole season. Nemec got called up, and so far, he looks phenomenal.

When Nemec got called up against the Sharks, he immediately began to get many impressions with his skating. Nemec could easily keep up with the pace of these many NHL veterans and stars. When trying to stay in the zone, he found ways to put himself out there to make plays. As for his shooting, Nemec got two assists in his first game. Nemec's first assist came when he shot a lucky bounce off the board that Jesper Bratt batted into the net. Nemec's 2nd assist came from a deflection that came to Bratt's stick, into which he could set up Palat for a goal.

While the Devils may have lost the game, many people agreed the only positive takeaway from that game was Nemec's play. Nemec would get his first goal against the Kraken on Thursday. The goal came off a great pass from Bratt, who found Nemec open for a great shot that went past Phillip Grubauer. Nemec's goal would turn out to be the game-winner as well. Nemec's shooting and skating can continue to be a vital part of his game, and games like tonight prove that.

As for Nemec's defensive abilities, he has showcased in these first three games that he can get into the defensive zone to make a play. Nemec can also adjust to find ways to stop passes from breaking out into odd-man rushes, which has been a problem for the Devils throughout this whole season. The only issue he has to work out so far is doing better on the penalty kill, which has also been a problem the entire season. Aside from that, Nemec looks to be a big healer for the Devil's big defensive woes, and he has proven that so far, so let's see if he can keep it up.

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