The Devils are becoming something special
The hockey world has not had a reason to pay much attention to the New Jersey Devils in the past couple seasons, but it’s time to take notice of this young team. New Jersey is the 10th youngest team in the NHL, and as I checked in on the rookie points leaders at this the quarter mark of the season, I noticed that 3 of the top 10 points leaders wear the Devils sweater. Will Butcher has 17 points, 4th amongst rookies, Nico Hischier has 16 points, and Jesper Bratt has 14. Granted Butcher only has 2 goals and Hischier has found the back of the net just 3 times, but these 3 are consistently creating goals for this up and coming Devils team.
Butcher, Hischier, and Bratt are 3 of the top 4 scorers for New Jersey, with seventh-year man Taylor Hall leading with 24 points, including 7 goals. Bratt leads the team in power play goals with 3, and Butcher’s 9 power play goals are tops for the Devils. Butcher also has a +/- of 6, which is third best on the team.
Hischier was the #1 pick of the 2017 draft and most people expected him to make a splash in the NHL sooner rather than later, but Bratt was not taken until the 6th round of the 2016 draft. Butcher had a little more unconventional route to New Jersey. He was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2013 Draft by Colorado. However, he opted to play all 4 seasons of his eligibility at Denver, where he won the Hobey Baker Award in his final season with the Pioneers. As a free agent, he chose to sign with the Devils in August and he has been helping lead the team’s resurgence ever since.http://www.espn.com/nhl/player/_/id/4233555/nico-hischier
As of last Saturday, the Devils sit at 13-5-4, in second place in the Metro division, with a streak of very winnable games coming against Detroit, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and back-to-back games against Columbus. If the playoffs started this weekend New Jersey would face the Islanders in the first round. With the numbers their young players are putting up, expect this team to be a major force in the Eastern Conference for years to come.