Not only are certain New Jersey Devils youngsters like Nico Hischier, Will Butcher and Jesper Bratt OK, they’re turning out to be more than OK.The first week of the New Jersey Devils season is in the books and they have jumped out to their best start in a really long time.
The Devils sit at 4-1 with a goal differential of plus eight. They have 21 goals through five games thus far, and it took them until November last season to reach that mark. That is one of the major differences in this team. The Devils got off to a hot 9-3-3 start last season, but they just were not scoring goals so it was unsustainable.
This season, they are putting pucks in the net at a high rate and playing winning hockey behind a group of youngsters.
Recently acquired defenseman Will Butcher has been a source of not only the Devils 5-on-5 offense but especially their power play. Butcher has eight assists this season which ties him atop the list for most points by a defenseman. Five of his eight assists have come on the Devils new look powerplay. The best part about Butcher is that he hasn’t been a liability on the defensive end, which is the thing that you worry most about a rookie defenseman.
Jesper Bratt, a 2016 sixth-round pick, is showing that he deserved to be drafted higher after posting five points in five games. In the team’s opener with Colorado, Bratt netted his first goal and added an assist in his debut. Since then, he has had three more points for a total of five through as many games.
We saw this in the preseason from Bratt, but nobody could have predicted this. The only issue with Bratt thus far is size. He does get knocked off the puck rather easily sometimes, but he has played himself into a top-six role early in this season.
Bratt will continue to grow considering he is only 19 and can be a mainstay in this lineup for years to come.
You're dealing with double-trouble with the #NJDevils Swedes. ???? pic.twitter.com/8Cd8gRgjFv
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 10, 2017
Nico Hischier has had a pretty good start to the season, he just has not been on the scoresheet yet. You can already tell that this kid is really good, and was worth the pick. So far, he’s only had two points but we are really close to seeing him post big numbers.
As soon as he finds the back of the net the floodgates will open. The rest of his game has been great thus far. He’s quick and has tremendous hands. He has also been defensively responsible and that is important with Travis Zajac being sidelined until December.
Look for Nico to get on track this week and start putting up numbers.
Congrats to @NicoHischier, who just recorded his first career @NHL assist! #NJDvsBUF pic.twitter.com/zWngouNBgW
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 9, 2017
This is a club that is growing at a rapid rate. Five games out of 82 is such a small sample size to deem this a potential playoff team, but its certainly looking like that can be a distinct possibility.
When Kyle Palmieri and Taylor Hall start putting the puck in the net more often, and the kids continue what they’re doing this offense will give opposing teams fits all year long.