Photo: Jon Merrill had 14 points through 66 games during his sophomore NHL season. (Courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
The 2010 trade deadline marked a dynamic change in the New Jersey Devils organization, as GM Lou Lamoriello went against his principles to acquire star forward Ilya Kovalchuk—giving up a 1st round draft pick to make it happen. After sending a 5th rounder to Toronto in exchange for Martin Skoula, the Devils went to the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles with just five selections. Read more»
Photo: Defenseman Jon Merrill has dealt with injuries and inconsistencies in his sophomore NHL season. In 31 games, Merrill has two goals, seven assists, and a minus-10 rating. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
It has not been a good season for the New Jersey Devils, as the team has fallen out of playoff contention and appears to be in transition. While the season may soon be lost, the team’s mindset now shifts to see the growth and development of their talented, young defensemen. There have been some growing pains along the way, along with some surprises earlier in the year, but the organization is giving the young players the responsibility, ice time, and patience needed to grow and become NHL players.
Photo: Forward Reid Boucher is one of the more promising forwards in the New Jersey Devils prospect pool. Boucher started the 2014-15 season in the AHL, but should be among the first forwards recalled by the Devils in case of injury. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Since the 2004 lockout, the New Jersey Devils system has not produced the same quality of prospects they were known for during their glory days. This is a result of different issues, like lack of picks, location on the draft board, or losing the magic touch to find late-round gems. But over the past seven years, management has slowly restocked the prospect pool where depth and quality are now returning NHL ready players.
Photo: Forward Michael Dal Colle was selected fifth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders following a 95-point season in the OHL. Dal Colle is currently playing for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Fall edition of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects continues with the prospects ranked 21-30. This particular section of the rankings is led by 2014 NHL Draft pick Michael Dal Colle, one of several recent draft picks to make their top 50 debut.
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.