Simon Nemec Shining In His First Three Games; Big Indicator of Long Term Success in New Jersey

After the first three games in the NHL, Simon Nemec has answered the bell big time offensively.
Sep 25, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) prepares for a
Sep 25, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) prepares for a / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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After the first three games in the NHL, it is safe to say there is little to no reason to send Simon Nemec back to the Utica Comets. After producing one goal and two assists in three games played, we're advocating for the right-handed defenseman to keep his spot in the NHL.

We've been pounding our fists for Nemec even before the 2022 NHL Draft. One of the first signs that stood out back in the 2022 Draft Class was that Nemec was already playing at a very high level. How he carried himself and his national team of Slovakia in the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament and the World Juniors, nearly taking down a star-studded Hockey Canada team, was a big selling point.

Nemec scored a clutch goal that helped send Slovakia to overtime but eventually lost to Canada. In that boisterous arena, watching him making selfless shot-blocking attempts and playing physically was another reason to love him pre-draft, His overall game was too good to ignore. So his level of characteristics, competition, skating, and offensive production is not far off from being a two-way player at the highest level.

Having seen Nemec's production in his first three games has improved the NJ Devils on the right side of the defense, especially after Dougie Hamilton's injury. His level of compete from his post-draft season has not halted. That will help long-term to eventually replace Dougie Hamilton and/or John Marino. There will be a smoother transition when the changing of the guards occurs (of which, we expect Seamus Casey to also be a part of that transition). Offensively, eliteprospects.com has the Liptovsky Mikulas native on pace to play in 61 games at the NHL level, potentially scoring 20 Goals and 61 points. That pace would put him near Dougie Hamilton-like offensive productivity.

Robert Svehla is the Gold Standard for Slovakian defenders who can score. He had 335 points in his career, still the most ever for a Slovakian defenser. Fellow countryman Erik Cernak is 7th all-time with 80 points and 62 assists in 323 games played. He is the best active right-handed defender for Slovakia, playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Simon Nemec's maturity level and compete is well ahead of his peers

When looking at Simon Nemec and the way he has played at a young age, he is most certainly a hybrid of Brian Rafalski with the scoring prowess, stature, and physicality. The way Simon Nemec has carried himself at age 19, not turning 20 until February 15, is a fantastic indicator that he already thinks like a veteran defenseman and is very coachable. From a scouting perspective, one of the things that is paramount is always listening to interviews of players before and after they are drafted. Seeing Nemec carry himself in the first three games in such a humble yet confident manner gives the right impression of how he will handle himself for the many seasons to come. He will be one of the pillars of the New Jersey Devils' backend.

The New Jersey Devils just need to add a shutdown defenseman because they already have Simon Nemec who has locked down Dougie Hamilton's spot for a good while. As General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is going big game hunting and looking for a solid goaltender as well, it just depends on the way other teams are dictating the overall market. New Jersey has a very solid chance of getting over that hump and an 87% chance of making it to the playoffs at this time per MoneyPuck.com.

As Simon Nemec keeps playing big games and munching big-time minutes on this Devils roster, it is a beautiful sign to see him, along with Luke Hughes and Kevin Bahl, being the young defensive pillars for the long term. Until Tom Fitzgerald makes a trade for a Chris Tanev or an Ilya Lyubushkin-type defenseman, we will see a lot of the young defenders pick up the slack with guys like Hamilton out. If Simon Nemec can keep producing at the same pace he is now, he will go on to have a legendary superstar career with the New Jersey Devils and has already become a fan favorite.

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