Devils Players at WJC
The Devils prospect list once again is getting a little empty, but two players still managed to make WJC teams - both of them for team Canada. Defenseman Evan Bouchard and forward Jack Studnicka are currently representing Canada at the 2019 World Junior u20 tournament. So far the early going is more interesting for Studnicka, the 53rd overall pick in the 2017 NEFHL entry draft, who was picked right in front of fellow WJCer but on the American team, Evan Barratt. The team definitely wanted him that day and while immediately it looked like an ok coinflip, Barratt is destroying the NCAA in his sophomore season with 29 points in 17 games potentially on his way to a Hobey Baker. Studnicka has been nothing but trending upwards since he was selected, and while his point totals in the OHL aren't crazy he still lead his team in points last year and is currently sitting 2nd on the team this year behind fellow 2nd round draft pick Serron Noel. Reports on Studnicka have consistently been strong with a lot of positive talk about his ability to be a complete player all over the ice as well as his ability to dish the puck. He had a strong camp with Boston before being sent back to juniors and while there was hope he would have more points as a top line C in the OHL so far, his project is still that of a future NHL player. Hopefully he hits the high end but even if he "only" makes it as a checking line C that's a pretty good pick up for a 2nd round pick.
The other player currently in the WJC for the Devils is the defenseman that's really hard to read. At first it didn't look like he would make the WJC because out of camp he made the Oilers of the NHL. However, he's since been sent back to the WHL and while his point totals aren't as eye popping as they were in his draft season he still has managed 18 points in the brief 13 games he's been back. A tough pick to make this past draft, when players like Joel Farabee, Adam Boqvist and Vitali Kravtsov were still around, the team felt that Bouchard was both the safest player to pick as well as a player with huge upside. That being said, Bouchard has some potential drawbacks that he is showing in the tournament so far that will be red flags until he fully proves himself in the NHL. His footspeed is not quick enough and his shot selection can seemingly be iffy if this WJC is a reliable view on his normal play. Those things can be worked on and with his playmaking (and being a righty helps) he should be able to find himself a job in the NHL on the PP for a long time.