Photo: Defenseman Jon Merrill had a strong rookie pro season in 2013-14, managing two goals and nine assists in 52 NHL games. (courtesy of Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Thanks to a few rookies stepping up last season, the New Jersey Devils feel comfortable to trust their prospects with bigger roles going forward. The change has already started on the blue line, but the transition with forwards might take a while.
Photo: Defenseman Steve Santini is one of several strong defensive prospects in the New Jersey Devils system. Santini was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)
Stacked with 12 shootout loses and inconsistent play throughout the year, the New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. Once more, scoring was the culprit as the Devils failed to finish off their opponents when they had to in regulation.
Photo: Forward Ben Thomson played a key part of North Bay’s deep run through the OHL playoffs. New Jersey signed Thomson to an entry-level deal on May 23rd, 2014. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
While the New Jersey Devils missed the 2013-14 NHL playoffs, quite a few of their prospects had impactful postseasons. Their AHL affiliate reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010, giving many pro prospects their first taste of the postseason. Other players at lower levels, such as Damon Severson and Ben Thomson, also had strong playoff performances.