Devils Future Looking Bright
The Devils are going into the 2018-2019 season with a lot of additions all around the lineup. With free agency right around the corner, more veterans could also join the club but for the above is strictly about rookies joining the team. Right now the pro team could see up to 5 season long additions as well as 3 more with players who can get called up during injuries or suspensions. The rookies will be more noticeable up front with the additions of Kyle Connor, Alex Tuch and Pierre-Luc Dubois who all right now are being penciled in to the top six. Connor and PLD are basically locks at this point to start the season there but Tuch might find his way to the bottom six depending how the roster shakes out as his ratings are a little bit soft in some important areas. He is a big body with a somewhat all around game though so his presence on the team should be important, being able to protect some of the smaller forwards like Zuccarello and Patrick Kane. That's 3 of the 5 rookies likely to break camp this fall with the other two are defensemen. Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Chychrun are those two defensemen and right now they look to be the #1 and #3 in terms of depth chart. They are opposite handedness from each other so it's also quite likely they end up playing quite a few minutes this season and in the following seasons together as well.
The other young players who will likely see time with the big club this season but in a lesser role in terms of games played, are defensemen Samuel Girard and Ian McCoshen as well as forward Alex Kerfoot. Kerfoot is a tough one to gauge right now as he has some solid ratings but his puck control could really hold him back from being a meaningful player this year. At a very cheap $575,000 against the cap he'll likely find his way up the depth chart if he shows he can provide some value early on. Girard is a very speedy D-man from the left side but right now neither his offense or D is probably good enough to warrant serious consideration for play but his 64 PA might make him good enough to find his way onto the PP. Even beyond them there's other young-ish players who have been around awhile without developing much who will fill holes here and there including Justin Bailey, William Carrier and possibly Ivan Barbashev. Barbs didn't really develop the way it was hoped this past season but with the way PLD did, it's hard to be too upset about it.
Of the guys listed above, right now Connor is looking like the #2 LW beyond Kane with PLD lining up alongside him. If that turns out to be too much youth together then Bjugstad probably resumes his duties as the #2 C. Tuch lines up right now on the 3rd line, being bumped down the depth chart by Mats Zuccarello and Charlie Coyle. As I said above, McAvoy comes in as the #1 guy with Edler leaving for UFA and Chychrun being the almost default #3 guy behind Hutton or Kevan Miller. The D future is looking bright but right now it's a very shallow pool of defensive D-men. The team could definitely be in the market for trading some other forward youth to pick up some solid D this summer. With the lack of a goalie though, that is still the first priority as the D won't matter if there is nobody in net to stop the pucks!