Jack Hughes
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The future looks strong for the Devils. And it’s coming soon.

Earlier this week, Corey Pronman at The Athletic released the completion of his rankings of organizational depth of players under age-23. The future of the New Jersey Devils appear to be in good hands.

Pronman ranked the Devils’ crop of under-23 players sixth overall in the NHL. The teams ranked ahead of New Jersey: Buffalo, Ottawa, Carolina, the Rangers and Los Angeles.

The Devils slid from No. 2 in 2020 to sixth overall this year. Four players graduated from the under-23 qualifications: Michael McLeod, Jesper Bratt, Janne Kuokkanen and Yegor Sharangovich.

New Jersey’s 2021 NHL Draft started at No. 2 overall and Pronman gave their group of picks a B grade. That supplemented a strong group of young players, some of whom are already making an impact at the NHL level.

Pronman ranked 15 potential NHL players in the Rangers’ organization with legit NHL grades. Here’s how those top 15 players ranked.

  1. Jack Hughes, C
  2. Luke Hughes, LHD
  3. Nico Hischier, C
  4. Ty Smith, LHD
  5. Alexander Holtz, RW
  6. Dawson Mercer, C
  7. Kevin Bahl, LHD
  8. Nolan Foote, LW
  9. Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD
  10. Samu Salminen, C
  11. Jesper Boqvist, LW
  12. Reilly Walsh, RHD
  13. Graeme Clarke, RW
  14. Chase Stillman, RW
  15. Patrick Moynihan, RW

It’s a pretty indication of organizational depth when your 22-year-old captain ranks third on the list. The Hughes brothers should give Devils fans plenty to be excited about in the near future.

Stillman was selected with the first-round pick the Devils acquired from the Islanders in the trade for Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri.

Bahl and Foote were selected by Arizona and Tampa Bay, respectively. Additions to the system should strengthen the depth and trade options for the Devils’ front office in the near term.

Pronman also mentions these players as climbing:

  • Tyce Thompson, C
  • Case McCarthy, RHD
  • Fabian Zetterlund, RW
  • Daniil Misyul, LHD
  • Zakhar Bardakov, C
  • Nate Schnarr, C
  • Michael Vukojevic, LHD
  • Marian Studenic, RW
  • Topias Vilen, LHD
  • Jaromir Pytlik, C
  • Nikola Pasic, RW
  • Aarne Talvitie, C

That’s a huge list of up-and-coming players, significantly longer than the honorable mention lists for the Rangers or Islanders.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.