Training camp and preseason are in full swing. The Devils are coming off of a historic campaign that saw multiple players reach career highs in goals, assists, and points. With the regular season right around the corner, here we do an exercise of making projections of the scoring totals for every New Jersey Devils player who should have significant production this year. These predictions are based on last year’s play, fit in the lineup, and potential (or lack thereof), and are not based on any statistical predictive models.
New Jersey Devils Player Point Projections
Jack Hughes: 40 goals, 65 assists, 105 points
To start off the New Jersey Devils point projections, the offensive leader. Jack Hughes would have easily broken the 100-point barrier had he not missed four games through injury. If he’s able to play all 82 he should be able to finally break through. Jack led all Devils forwards in ice time last season and is a good bet to do it again. The biggest component of his game that has improved over the years is his shot. Since entering the league he has been one of the Devil’s top playmakers and chance-creators, but the big change in 2022-23 was his ability to create for himself. A hopefully improved powerplay should inflate his numbers a little more despite a career-high 31 points on the man-advantage. Hughes is a superstar in this league, and at just 22 years old there’s still room for improvement in his game.
— NHL (@NHL) December 16, 2022
Nico Hischier: 28 goals, 47 assists, 75 points
Hischier had a career-high 80 points in 81 games last season. His willingness to shoot and create more offence is a major positive, but we can anticipate a small step back in points strictly from the fact that there is more offensive firepower entering the season. Hischier finally stepped up and played a Selke-calibre game last year, and should be the heavy favourite for the award in 2023-24. The comparisons to Patrice Bergeron are evident, but Hischier showed last season that his offensive ceiling can be much higher. What also works in his favour are his potential linemates. A combination of Bratt, Holtz, Meier, Mercer, and Toffoli are all capable 30-goal scorers.
Jesper Bratt: 29 goals, 43 assists, 72 points
After matching his career high of 73 points last season, Bratt enters 2023-24 armed with a new eight-year contract. It should be much of the same for him from a production standpoint. His speed and skill are only matched by Hughes, but Bratt brings plenty of attack to record similar totals from the past two years. He is one of the most dynamic forwards in the league and has seen his offensive metrics continue to trend upward. Over the past two years his shooting percentage, powerplay points, and Goals per 60 Minutes have had a linear increase. We went with a modest point total, but Bratt is a prime candidate to have an 80+ point breakout.
Timo Meier: 35 goals, 35 assists, 70 points
Meier reached a career-high 40 goals last season. He struggled at times scoring after coming to New Jersey, but a clean slate and new contract should have him ready to return as one of the top scorers in the league. The Devils likely won’t need him to score 40 goals, but settling for 35 isn’t too bad. Meier’s power-forward game brought a breath of fresh air during the playoffs. The Devil’s forwards are young and on the smaller side, but Meier’s presence gives them a different dynamic. He has the capability of getting his nose to the net and scoring the greasy goals, while also possessing the most lethal shot on the team.
Tyler Toffoli: 26 goals, 36 assists, 62 points
The Devils traded for Toffoli off the back of a career year for the 31-year-old. A 62-point season would be a drop-off from last year, but it’s partly due to his role being smaller on the Devils than it was on the Calgary Flames. Early on Toffoli has been saddled next to Hughes and Bratt and it will be interesting if that trio sticks for the majority of the season. He doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with them, but they possess elite vision and playmaking. If Toffoli can be the third man trailing into the offensive zone, he should have plenty of chances to get that elite shot off. The only issue is before last season, Toffoli’s point totals have been average and all over the place year to year. However, there’s potential for him to reach 60+ points playing in one of the best offenses in the league.
— NHL (@NHL) February 14, 2023
Dawson Mercer: 31 goals, 30 assists, 60 points
Mercer had his coming out party last year after reaching 27 goals and 56 points. Entering just his third year, the sky is the limit for Mercer. It would be great to see him hit the 30-goal/60-point mark. Mercer has made the blue paint his home since coming into the league. Outside of Meier, Mercer is one of the few Devils forwards who drives straight to the net-front. That being said, if he can start firing from range there should be an uptick in goal totals. Similar to Hischier from last year, Mercer should start trusting his shot and shoot more from distance.
Alexander Holtz: 19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points
The biggest thing for Holtz this year is to make the team and stick for all 82 games. Hopefully, with a big role on this team, he can become a top-six staple. Holtz scored only a few goals last season, but each of them showed off his quick release. The goal-scoring potential is there, it’s just whether or not his all-around play will be improved enough to warrant the ice time. For the past two years, he was stuck on the fourth line and made minimal impact. However, it looks like the coaches have more trust in him this year, which should bode well for his offence.
NO GOAL LIKE YOUR FIRST 🚨
Alexander Holtz nets his first career goal❗ pic.twitter.com/yGNV6r4vtr
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) October 13, 2022
Erik Haula: 16 goals, 26 assists, 42 points
For the first third of the season Haula couldn’t buy a goal. He recorded his third goal in his 43rd game . In the latter half, things began to take an upswing. His finished on a tear with six goals in his final seven games he appeared in. For 2023-24, it should hopefully level out and lead to some solid production for a 3C that also plays on special teams. Haula’s shooting percentage of 8.5% was one of the lowest of his career, over 3% lower than his career average. He also spent a lot of last season on Hughes’s wing but looks as if he can finally settle back into playing centre.
Ondrej Palat: 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points
Palat’s struggles were obvious last year. However, injuries played a big part in that. Hopefully, he can produce more than this, but there’s a lot of tread on his tires for a 32-year-old. During his time with Tampa Bay, Palat was a consistent 40+ point scorer in a secondary role. With the additions to the Devil’s top six, he should yet again be a complimentary player. Dougie Hamilton was another Devil who came over for big money in Free Agency before an injury wiped him out for most of the season, and he exploded for career highs in year two.
Dougie Hamilton: 18 goals, 48 assists, 66 points
Speaking of Dougie Hamilton and his projections, the New Jersey Devils number-one defenceman blew his career highs out of the water last season. His 74 points were 24 more than his previous career high. Dougie brings a ton of offence from the backend at 5v5 and on the PP. His bomb of a shot and crisp in-zone passing should see him generate loads of offence again. Dougie will once again be relied upon to carry the bulk of the scoring from the backend, especially with Damon Severson and Ryan Graves gone. The contributing factor to this major increase in scoring comes from the powerplay. Hamilton’s 28 powerplay points were 10 more than his previous career high. Scoring 74 points from him again is a tough ask, but 66 is still more than any other year and would provide a spark from the backend.
— nopClips (@nopClips) January 25, 2023
Luke Hughes: 14 goals, 40 assists, 54 points
One final New Jersey Devils player to do their point projections for is Luke Hughes. Hughes is entering his first season with a tonne of expectations. However, his offensive talent is undoubtedly elite, even at 19-years-old. Furthermore, Hughes should see plenty of time quarterbacking a powerplay unit. He put up 48 points in 39 games at the University of Michigan last year and was heavily relied upon not just in college, but on the national stage at the World Juniors. It will be fascinating to see his deployment early on in the year, but there’s just too much offensive talent for him not to have big minutes. Don’t be surprised if he puts up massive numbers and is a Calder finalist.
Main photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports