The New Jersey Devils have had a busy last few days. Tom Fitzgerald has made moves in order to upgrade his roster. After Johnny Gaudreau decided to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the heads turned to Ondrej Palat, whom they signed to a five-year deal. From there, the Devils look to the future. The Devils struck gold at the draft, drafting Slovakian defenceman Simon Nemec. Simon Nemec has signed his rookie contract. His entry deal is for three years and has an average annual value of $950,000 plus any bonuses he earns.
Simon Nemec Signs Entry Level Deal
Simon says, “I’m a Devil now.”
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 14, 2022
Simon Nemec has signed his contract and is officially a New Jersey Devil. This is great news for him and the team. Nemec is one of many top prospects in the organization including Alexander Holtz, and Luke Hughes. Both the organization and Simon Nemec expressed his desire to playing in North America. Nemec could begin his season in the AHL with the Utica Comets.
OFFICIAL: #NJDevils have signed second overall pick Simon Nemec to his entry level contract.
Both Nemec and the Devils have expressed they would like for him to start in the AHL this season. pic.twitter.com/RltIFiYoDS
— Kyle Cannillo (@KyleCannillo) July 14, 2022
Simon Nemec has spent last season with HK Nitra, which is in Slovakia’s top professional league. In 39 games played, Nemec scored one goal, 25 assists, and 26 points. His point totals ranked second among defencemen on the team. Throughout his tenure with HK Nitra, he managed to score 48 career points in 88 games. In addition to those stats, the blueliner ranked second amongst defencemen with 17 points in 19 playoff games.
Simon Nemec was the top-ranked defencemen in this year’s draft. And the Devils recognized that and made the selection. It was a great draft for Slovakian players. Juraj Slafkovsky went first overall to the Montreal Canadiens, and Simon Nemec went second overall. The previous highest drafted Slovakian-born player was Marian Gaborik. The Devils have not drafted second overall since 1987, when they took Brendan Shannahan.
What This Means For The Player
This is a great day for Simon Nemec. Simon Nemec has signed his contract and can start his professional hockey career. The player is hungry and is ready. Despite the Devils starting him in the minors, a spot will be ready for him. The Devils are forming a nice core on the back end. In addition to Simon Nemec, Dougie Hamilton, and Luke Hughes will round out a steady blueline.
LWOS Ben Kerr said this about Nemec in his scouting report: “Nemec has already played big minutes against men in the Slovakian league meaning that he could be NHL ready before the average defender. However, the Slovakian league certainly isn’t the strongest in Europe and he may need to spend a year in a better European League or the AHL before he is NHL-ready. Once he gets there, he has the potential to be a do-it-all two-way defender in time. Nemec’s ceiling is to be a true #1 franchise defender once he matures. He will need to iron out a few things in his game, such as being smarter with his offensive zone entries and continuing to add weight to his frame. His game is reminiscent of Roman Josi. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.”
Main Photo: Slovakia’s Simon Nemec (R) is challenged by Finland’s Hannes Bjorninen during their men’s preliminary round group C match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 10, 2022. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)