There aren’t quite a lot of organizations that may graduate a No. 1 choose and stay this excessive within the rankings, however New Jersey is in a novel place in that regard after selecting excessive and sometimes in the previous couple of years since choosing Nico Hischier. The hope is that they now have the nucleus to show round this franchise on the backs of Hischier, Jack and Luke Hughes, and Simon Nemec.

Key graduates: Nico Hischier, Jesper Boqvist

Key additions: Simon Nemec, Seamus Casey

Key subtractions: Ty Smith

2021 rating: No. 6

2022 NHL Draft grade: B+

Full 2022-23 NHL Pipeline Rankings

Player Ranking

1. Jack Hughes, C

21 years previous | 5-foot-11 | 170 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 1 in 2019
Tier: Bubble elite NHL participant and NHL All-Star

Skating: High-end
Puck expertise: Above NHL common
Hockey sense: Above NHL common
Compete: Above NHL common

Analysis: Hughes was injured for a portion of the season, however when wholesome he was an impression NHLer, having a real breakout season and looking out just like the No. 1 choose of the 2019 NHL Draft. His expertise jumps out on account of his excellent skating with excellent pace and higher edgework. He’s additionally a extremely expert and imaginative puckhandler who could make tough performs at excessive speeds. Hughes lacks measurement however performs with out concern and competes onerous. He additionally confirmed a bit of extra goal-scoring contact this season. He initiatives as a perennial All-Star who may contact the highest of the scoring leaders at occasions in his profession.

2. Luke Hughes, D

18 years previous | 6-foot-2 | 184 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 4 in 2021
Tier: NHL All-Star

Skating: High-end
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: NHL common
Shot: Above NHL common

Analysis: Luke Hughes was wonderful as a freshman this season, notably within the second half the place he went on an offensive tear. His athletic instruments are freak-ish. He’s an distinctive skater like his brothers Jack and Quinn, however in contrast to them, he has a big body to go along with that skating. He’s a highly-skilled, assured puckhandler, which mixed along with his attain and ft enable him to maintain puck possession for lengthy stretches of time. He’s not the very best playmaker you’ll ever see, however he could make performs, and lower down on the varieties of dangers he took in his junior days. Hughes has NHL star qualities and I believe he’ll change into an impactful defenseman within the league in a number of years.

3. Simon Nemec, D

18 years previous | 6 ft | 190 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 2 in 2022
Tier: Top of the lineup participant

Skating: NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: Above NHL common
Compete: Above NHL common

Analysis: Nemec is a really well-rounded defenseman. His puck sport is nice. He has the high-end mind to make quite a lot of robust performs usually. Nemec can hit seams, make performs beneath strain and makes a terrific outlet cross. He additionally exhibits particular person ability which, when mixed with good pace, permits him to be harmful in transition too. Defensively he’s stable on account of his skating, compete and mind, regardless that he’s not imposing bodily and might be trusted with robust tasks. Nemec initiatives as a top-pair defenseman who may run a PP1 within the NHL.

4. Dawson Mercer, RW

20 years previous | 6 ft | 180 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 18 in 2020
Tier: Bubble prime and center of the lineup participant

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: High-end
Shot: Above NHL common

Analysis: Mercer had a unbelievable rookie NHL season, scoring 42 factors and appeared like a legit middle-of-the-lineup ahead from the get-go of his NHL profession. Mercer has nice offensive expertise and may make performs, nevertheless it’s his work ethic that actually stands out. As such a younger participant within the NHL he received a ton of battles and his potential to generate offense within the high-percentage areas is uncommon for a participant his age. The solely draw back to his sport is his footspeed, however all the pieces else about his toolkit is obvious top-six ahead potential.

5. Alexander Holtz, RW

20 years previous | 6 ft | 192 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 7 in 2020
Tier: Bubble prime and center of the lineup participant

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: Above NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: NHL common
Shot: High-end

Analysis: Holtz had a robust season, scoring at a point-per-game fee for Utica within the AHL and as a teen being a serious a part of a robust AHL membership. Holtz is stuffed with ability and creativity, displaying he may beat professional defensemen at a excessive fee. He could make performs, however he’s clearly extra of a aim scorer, with a wrist shot that may be a menace from the dots. He doesn’t have a lot pace or physicality so I don’t see him with the ability to drive a top-two line, however he could be a large a part of a prime six on account of his aim scoring potential.

6. Nolan Foote, LW

21 years previous | 6-foot-3 | 195 kilos | Shoots left

Acquired by way of commerce
Tier: Middle of the lineup participant

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: NHL common
Shot: Above NHL common

Analysis: Foote didn’t put up large numbers within the AHL this season, however he was an essential a part of a very good AHL membership, and performed nicely in his temporary NHL look for the Devils. Foote’s enchantment is that he’s a giant winger with good offensive expertise and a giant shot. He can rating from vary and on the internet. The large situation with him has all the time been his skating. It’s a heavy stride and it might in the end restrict him within the NHL, however I believe there’s sufficient to his sport that he can nonetheless be a very good NHL participant. I’m kinda sticking my neck out on him given his manufacturing this 12 months and am betting on a breakout in 2022-23.

7. Shakir Mukhamadullin, D

20 years previous | 6-foot-4 | 178 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 20 in 2020
Tier: Middle of the lineup participant

Skating: NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: NHL common

Analysis: Mukhamadullin performed common minutes on a robust KHL membership this season. He didn’t put up large offensive numbers, however I appreciated his puck sport loads this season and thought he took strides offensively. Mukhamadullin confirmed confidence as a rusher and handler. He’s not a tremendous passer however he could make a robust outlet. He’s large and cell so regardless of not being overly bodily I believe he’ll defend effective as a professional. I see him as a future top-four defenseman.

8. Kevin Bahl, D

22 years previous | 6-foot-6 | 216 kilos | Shoots left

Acquired by way of commerce
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: Below NHL common
Hockey sense: Below NHL common
Compete: Above NHL common

Analysis: Bahl had a stable second professional season, enjoying largely within the AHL however obtained time with the Devils, too. There’s nothing flashy about his sport and in case you’re anticipating offense you’ll be upset. Bahl is a giant, cell, bodily defenseman, although, who might be excellent in his personal finish. The first cross in his sport is simply OK, however the bodily instruments are ok. I can see a full-time third-pair defenseman.

9. Nico Daws, G

21 years previous | 6-foot-4 | 199 kilos | Catches left

Drafted: No. 84 in 2020
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common

Analysis: Daws was fairly good within the AHL this season, and got here as much as play within the NHL throughout the Devils’ damage points in aim. He possible wasn’t prepared for that stage but, however I believe he took constructive steps this season to displaying he will probably be in the future. Daws is a brilliant, technically polished goalie who makes robust stops look simple on account of his large body and effectivity. I don’t assume he could make the robust saves at a excessive fee within the NHL, however I believe he has sufficient to his sport to be a backup goalie.

10. Arseni Gritsyuk, LW

21 years previous | 5-foot-10 | 168 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 129 in 2019
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Above NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: NHL common
Shot: High-end

Analysis: Gritsyuk had a robust season, turning into an essential a part of Avangard’s KHL workforce and made Russia’s Olympic workforce. He’s proven quite a lot of improvement since being a fifth-round choose in 2019. He’s all the time had ability and a very good shot, however his skating has improved considerably, and he offers a extra constant effort even when that’s not his promoting level. Grirtsyuk’s sport has a professional tempo to it and he assaults along with his ability, to go along with a shot that may be a legit weapon from vary. He initiatives to be a bottom-six ahead within the NHL with an opportunity to play greater in a lineup.

11. Seamus Casey, D

18 years previous | 5-foot-10 | 173 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 46 in 2022
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Above NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: Above NHL common
Compete: NHL common

Analysis: Casey has NHL-caliber skating and ability. His potential to skate pucks out of hassle and up the ice is kind of noticeable. He has good palms to maneuver in tight areas and make expert rushes. On the ability play, he shows good poise and imaginative and prescient to make performs and may make robust retailers, too. I wouldn’t name him really dynamic with the puck although, which leaves some scouts questioning, as a small defenseman, what his NHL position will probably be. He defends nicely sufficient in junior on account of his skating, however for a 5-foot-10 defenseman, his defending would be the query as he advances ranges. I undertaking him as a full-time third-pair defenseman.

12. Tyler Brennan, G

18 years previous | 6-foot-4 | 185 kilos | Catches left

Drafted: No. 102 in 2022
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Below NHL common
Hockey sense: Above NHL common

Analysis: Brennan is a goalie with nice measurement, sense and general poise within the internet. He could make robust saves look simple on account of how nicely he reads the play, is environment friendly along with his actions and takes away angles along with his body. He strikes nicely sufficient however lacks the explosive pushoffs along with his decrease physique to make the spotlight lateral saves, which will probably be a priority versus higher gamers. Brennan is superb at saving the high-percentage photographs, however offers up too many objectives from vary that he’ll want to chop down on. He initiatives as a backup goalie within the NHL.

13. Zakhar Bardakov, LW

21 years previous | 6-foot-2 | 198 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 203 in 2021
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: Below NHL common
Hockey sense: NHL common
Compete: Above NHL common

Analysis: Bardakov didn’t put up large scoring numbers this season, however he labored his method into an everyday shift on a prime KHL workforce in SKA. Bardakov isn’t going to land on many spotlight reels, however he’s a giant, robust, bodily winger who offers a very good effort each shift. He has sufficient sense to make some performs with the puck, however his general ability and pace aren’t that robust. I believe he’s the kind of participant a coach will fall in love with and stick of their backside six.

14. Chase Stillman, RW

19 years previous | 6-foot-1 | 180 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 29 in 2021
Tier: Projected to play NHL video games

Skating: Below NHL common
Puck expertise: NHL common
Hockey sense: Below NHL common
Compete: Above NHL common

Analysis: Stillman had a down season, scoring solely 49 factors in 59 OHL video games between Sudbury and Peterborough. He does have good palms and may create some offense, however the pure ability and playmaking in his sport doesn’t leap out. He will get his offense via a robust work ethic and being inventive sufficient. I like his physicality and off-the-puck play, however he additionally has common pace so I may see him struggling to maintain up within the NHL. I believe he performs video games, as a fourth-line kind.

Has an opportunity to play (listed alphabetically)

Graeme Clarke, RW

21 years previous | 5-foot-11 | 175 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 80 in 2019

Analysis: Clarke has the ability, sense and shot to attain versus males however he’s not that large or fast, so whether or not he can rating on the highest stage is a query.

Ethan Edwards, D

20 years previous | 5-foot-10 | 166 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 120 in 2020

Analysis: Edwards is a superb skater who works onerous, however isn’t the most important defenseman and I’m not bought on how a lot offense he has in him both.

Josh Filmon, LW

18 years previous | 6-foot-3 | 157 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 166 in 2022

Analysis: Filmon’s athletic toolkit is the primary draw. He’s 6-foot-3, he skates fairly nicely, and has room to fill out in his body, too. He can carry pucks via the impartial zone to create managed entries. He has some offense, with good flashes of particular person ability and creating for his teammates, however I wouldn’t think about him a real driver of offense. He’s good however not nice offensively or defensively so he could also be a tweener between the NHL and AHL, however his measurement and pace will give him an opportunity to make it.

Daniil Misyul, D

21 years previous | 6-foot-3 | 176 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 70 in 2019

Analysis: Misyul’s offense hasn’t come within the KHL, however given his measurement and mobility if he may even develop a bit of puck-moving sport at that stage, he may very well be a very good professional.

Patrick Moynihan, RW

21 years previous | 5-foot-10 | 174 kilos | Shoots proper

Drafted: No. 158 in 2019

Analysis: Moynihan is a brilliant participant with a very good shot, however he’s not that large or quick, so he could battle to attain as a professional.

Nikita Okhotiuk, D

21 years previous | 6 ft | 198 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 61 in 2019

Analysis: Okhotiuk is a cell, bodily defenseman who could make quite a lot of stops, however whether or not he has sufficient puck expertise to maneuver it within the NHL is the difficulty along with his ability set.

Daniil Orlov, D

18 years previous | 6-foot-2 | 180 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 110 in 2022

Analysis: Orlov’s bodily instruments give him an opportunity to make it. As a 6-foot-2 defenseman who skates nicely, there’s some professional enchantment there. He has some offense, displaying a very good shot, potential to make use of his ft to leap into assaults, and flashes of ability. I wouldn’t name his puck play overly inspiring, although, and I’ve a tough time seeing him be a real puck-mover at greater ranges. The measurement and skating enable him to defend nicely however the lack of ability and sense will push him as he advances to the professionals.

Samu Salminen, C

19 years previous | 6-foot-2 | 186 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 68 in 2021

Analysis: Salminen had a troublesome season from a scoring perspective however nonetheless was a very good junior participant. Salminen is a giant heart who works onerous and has good hockey sense, however whether or not he has the pace and ability for the NHL is an open query in his sport.

Akira Schmid, G

22 years previous | 6-foot-4 | 165 kilos | Catches left

Drafted: No. 136 in 2018

Analysis: Schmid is a tall and athletic goalie, which is extremely intriguing from an NHL projection standpoint. But he’s fairly inconsistent, allows too many photographs from vary and may lose his approach loads.

Michael Vukojevic, D

21 years previous | 6-foot-3 | 212 kilos | Shoots left

Drafted: No. 82 in 2019

Analysis: Vukojevic is a tall defenseman with some puck-moving potential however he doesn’t skate that nicely and his offense is simply OK at finest.


Player Eligibility: All skaters who’re 22 years previous or youthful as of Sept. 15, 2022, no matter what number of NHL video games they’ve performed, are eligible. Player heights and weights are taken from the NHL.

Tool grades: Tool grades are based mostly on a scale with six separate ranges, with an eye fixed towards how this attribute would grade within the NHL (poor, below-average, common, above-average, high-end and elite). “Average” on this scale means the instrument initiatives as NHL common, which is supposed as a constructive, not a criticism. Skating, puck expertise, hockey sense and compete for each projected NHL participant are graded. Shot grades are solely included if a shot is notably good or poor.

Tier Definitions: Tiers are supposed to present roughly the place in a median NHL lineup a participant initiatives to fit in.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic; photograph of Jack Hughes: Rich Graessle / Getty Images)



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