The New Jersey Devils’ 2020-21 season has concluded with no playoff berth and a list of improvements to work on for next season. However, this does not mean all of the team is stepping off the ice just yet. The 2021 IIHF World Championship will be held in Riga, Latvia, from May 21 to June 6, and as of right now there are seven Devils players participating for their home countries.
New Jersey captain Nico Hischier and recently acquired Jonas Siegenthaler will be putting on their Swiss jerseys, Yegor Sharangovich will play for Belarus, Matt Tennyson and Matthew Hellickson for the United States, Kevin Bahl for Canada and Marian Studenic will lace up for the Slovak Republic. As the start date approaches, let’s look at what each of these players have to contribute to their respective countries.
The Swiss Pair of Hischier and Siegenthaler
Hischier might have had only played less than half of this season due to multiple injuries, but he made the most of what he had. With six goals and five assists in this shortened schedule, the captain has some good momentum going for him as this tournament comes up. He can use this opportunity of playing more to make up for some lost time in this NHL season and hopefully showcase his abilities that made him New Jersey’s captain in the first place. It would be good for the Devils to see that Hischier has not lost his touch and it will, again, help him rake up some more offense.
Hischier has contributed to multiple World Junior Championship over his playing years and also represented Switzerland in the 2018-19 World Championship, where he accumulated four goals and five assists in eight games played. He has certainly had success in these tournaments and it would be a beneficial booster for him to perform at that level again.
An acquaintance of Hischier since before he came to New Jersey, it will be especially good to have Siegenthaler back on defense and Hischier available at center. It is a merger that could potentially give Switzerland the one-up on their opponents as they are teammates in the NHL already.
Both are younger players with a lot of skill — Hischier is a young captain at just 22 years old, and Siegenthaler comes in at 24 years old. Although he has yet to collect a point as a Devil, he is is a good complement to his Swiss companion. The combination of them playing in this tournament together will be good. Hischier has his speed and the ability to move the puck and get chances, while Siegenthaler can provide reliable defense for Team Switzerland.
Young Devils and Prospects Looking to Prove More
Sharangovich was easily one of the Devils’ best rookies this season, especially after playing 34 games with the KHL before making his debut in New Jersey. He has been an explosive force on the ice, and raked up 16 goals and 14 assists, ranking him fourth among league rookies in points this season. One thing I can say is that Sharangovich has been consistent and it will be exciting to see what he can do for Belarus after such a solid debut season in the NHL. It would do nothing but benefit his game, and both the Devils and his country in this tournament.
A lot of Devils participating may be on different teams, but they are all looking to prove themselves for their future with New Jersey as well as keep themselves on the ice, this time for their countries. Studenic played eight games for the Devils, 22 for the Binghamton Devils, and before that he played on loan in Slovakia where he had 15 points in 25 games.
He has a goal and an assist in the NHL this year, and three goals and four assists with Binghamton. While still trying to make a spot with the team, playing for Slovakia will be beneficial for his game especially after all the points this 22-year-old tallied up with HC Slovan Bratislava.
As for Hellickson, the 23-year-old has yet to crack the Devils roster, but has played in the World Juniors for the United States before. After playing at Notre Dame for four years, he played five games for Binghamton in his first season with them. It will be good to see him get a chance to play at the World Championship to hopefully improve his chances to come up in the future.
Bahl is in the same boat as these youngsters — the youngest in this group to be exact — at just 20. He had a chance to play in seven NHL games this year and tallied two assists, but played mostly in Binghamton. He is also looking to make the team and playing for Canada will give him some more needed experience with the competitive roster they have.
The last Devil set to compete is Tennyson, who has played a solid role in the team’s defense this season while also getting a goal and two assists. He can bring some veteran experience to the team to help other players like Hellickson, and it will be beneficial for him to get some more playing time as he played in less than half of New Jersey’s games this season.
Hischier and Siegenthaler look to be teammates again, those young prospects hope to improve their game, Sharangovich prepares for more repetition and Tennyson is eager to contribute at the World Championship. It will be good to see Devils players receive more ice time after not making the 2021 NHL postseason.
Sam is currently Managing Editor, and used to be Sports Editor, of The Montclarion, Montclair State University’s student-run multimedia newspaper. She’ll be earning her Sports Media and Journalism degree from there in Spring 2021. A hockey fan since she was a young girl, she covers the Montclair State men’s team as well as the Metropolitan Riveters and New Jersey Devils for The Hockey Writers.