Devils’ 2022-23 Points Leaderboard Predictions

The New Jersey Devils are heading into the 2022-23 season with a new sense of hope. With the mix of young talent coming in, the addition of new players via free agency and trades, and most of the roster returning, they are set up to compete. Last season was a disappointing one, plagued by injuries and bad play. But this season feels different. If healthy, they can put up a lot of points, and their stars will play significant minutes. Here’s a look at which Devils will be successful and what those numbers will look like.

Who Will Score the Most Goals for the Devils?

Last season, Jesper Bratt led the Devils with the most goals with 26, the most the 24-year-old put up in a season in his career. It was also the highest number of goals a Devil has scored since the 2018-19 season when Kyle Palmieri put up 27.

Jesper Bratt New Jersey Devils
Jesper Bratt, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Bratt led every offensive category for the club last season, and he did it in a contract year, hoping to cash in big. Instead of getting the big payday, though, he settled for a one-year deal this offseason. This will be his second straight contract year, but if he performs like last season, he’ll be given a hefty contract. It’s a big gamble, but one he believes will be successful.

I believe that Bratt will once again score the most goals on the team during the regular season and set himself up for a big payday. He has shown growth as a player every season since entering the league, and year six will be no different. Whether the 5-foot-10 lefty will be paired with Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier, it won’t matter. He will once again produce at a high level.  

Final Goal Prediction: Jesper Bratt, 36

Who Will Dish Out the Most Assists for New Jersey?

Bratt also led the team with 47 assists in 2021-22. This season, we will see a different name leading in this category. If he remains healthy, Hughes will lead the organization in assists. Last season, Hughes only played 49 games due to injuries, but he still amassed 30 assists, which is a pace of 50 assists over an 82-game regular season. If he kept pace with his 26 goals scored during those 49 games, his 82-game projection would have him at just over 90 points.

Jack Hughes New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

A lot of people – including myself – are expecting a big season from Hughes. There is a lot of pressure to produce for the 21-year-old, given that his eight-year, $64 million contract kicks in this season. Between his new deal, a disappointing rookie season, a shortened sophomore season, and an injury-riddled third season, the pressure is understandable. Hughes will shrug the pressure off and put up numbers that will make everyone realize that investing in him was the right call.

Final Assists Prediction: Jack Hughes, 57

Who Will Total the Most Points for the Devils?

The Devils need more goal scorers and opportunities on the offensive end. This phase of their game has been non-existent for more than a decade now. Bratt became the third player in the organization since 2010-11 to score more than 70 points last season; his 47 assists ranked 47th in the league. It was a good season, but New Jersey still needs more production, and a lot of it.

Related: Metropolitan Division Predictions for the 2022-23 Season

Another 73-point season from Bratt would be great, and he’s going to come close to – if not top – that number. If he replicates that point total, it still won’t be enough to lead the team. Instead, this season it will be Hughes who puts up the most points.

Hughes was averaging more than a point per game last season, and he’s going to do it again in 2022-23. He will find himself on the score sheet each game and put together a season that replicates Taylor Hall’s magical MVP run in 2017-18. It most likely won’t be enough for a postseason berth, but the 2019 first-round selection will put the league on notice.

Final Points Prediction: Jack Hughes, 91

Who Will Lead the Devils in Average Ice Time?

Last season, Damon Severson led the team in average time on ice (ATOI) at 23:36, ranked 25th in the league. Severson has been a constant on this defense, and his ATOI has eclipsed 22 minutes every season from 2018-19 onward.

Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils
Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Given the overhaul of the defensive unit, though, Severson won’t lead in this category this season, but the award will stay on defense and go to Dougie Hamilton. Last season, the top free-agent acquisition played two fewer minutes than No. 28, with an average of 21:13.

Hamilton has only eclipsed the 22-minute ATOI mark twice in his career, while Severson has done so the past four seasons. Being on the top pair opposite of either Ryan Graves or Jonas Siegenthaler is a major reason the 29-year-old will see his play time increase significantly. Although the Devils’ defense has a lot more depth, I expect the top defender to play the most minutes of his career.  

Average Time on Ice Prediction: Dougie Hamilton, 24 Minutes Per Game

Which Devils Goaltender Will Have the Most Wins

The Devils have not had solid goalie play the past few seasons. After injuries and retirements the past two seasons, they hope this is the year they finally find consistent goalie play. Jonathan Bernier is not ready as the season approaches, so the tandem that will be between the pipes is Mackenzie Blackwood and Vitek Vanecek.

These two will likely split games 50/50 for the first two months. From there, I think head coach Lindy Ruff and his staff will name a starter. At the end of the season, I believe it’s Blackwood who will be the main starter, and he will end up with the most wins for the season.

When healthy, Blackwood has shown he can be a solid netminder. On the other hand, in his two seasons, Vanecek has shown solid numbers at five-on-five, but he has been inconsistent. The inconsistency of the former Capital is the main reason I’m giving the former 2015 second-round selection the nod here. General manager Tom Fitzgerald should be confident with these two going forward, and New Jersey should expect better goalie play in 2022-23.

Most Wins: Mackenzie Blackwood, 21 wins

Where These Numbers Leave New Jersey

If this all happens, these players will have solid campaigns. Bratt and Hughes will officially be deemed stars, while Hamilton and Blackwood will have solidified their spots within the organization. It may not be enough for the Devils to make the postseason, but it should give fans hope for the 2023-24 season.

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