New Jersey Devils Draft Seamus Casey 46th Overall

With the 46th pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils have selected Seamus Casey from the US National U18 Team of the United States Hockey League (USHL)

About Seamus Casey

Seamus Casey may be the best skater in the 2022 Draft class. He glides effortlessly up the ice and can change direction without any notice, making his next move very hard to predict. Paired with an exceptional vision of the ice and knowledge of how a play will pan out, he’s emerged as one of the best offensive defencemen from the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). In 63 games split between the United States Hockey League (USHL) and the U18 USDP, he put up 13 goals and 46 points; no other defender on the team, other than Lane Hutson, produced more points than him, yet he averaged just 16 minutes per game and only about a minute and a half of power-play time.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft: Live Tracker

The only qualm with Casey is he’s a bit undersized, standing just 5-foot-10 and weighing in at 172 pounds. But is that really an issue? He’s incredibly gifted with the puck, pushing the play and creating dangerous scoring chances, but also works hard to shut down opponents defensively, using his fantastic skating to close gaps and prevent zone entries. He’s also not afraid to throw a hit, and while he could stand to be a bit more aggressive, he’s already an incredibly well-rounded physical presence on the blue line. He’s well on his way to following in the footsteps of Quinn Hughes and Torey Krug, and after a couple of seasons at the University of Michigan, he’ll be ready to dominate in the NHL.

THW Prospect Profile Excerpt

“Seamus Casey is an American defenseman who’s spent the 2021-22 season with the USNTDP Juniors in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and U.S. National U18 Team. Between the two clubs, he’s totalled 35 points in 51 games. He plans to attend the University of Michigan for the 2022-23 season, a program that’s had its fair share of first-round picks in recent years.

“What stands out about Casey’s game is his skating ability, as he’s a smooth skater who excels in transition. He has no issue skating the puck out of his own end on a controlled exit, and if he doesn’t, he’ll make a breakout pass to a teammate to do so. Because he skates so well, you’ll rarely see him chip the puck off the glass to escape the defensive zone. Whether it’s through his skating or passing ability, he will try to start the rush on a controlled exit. That’s a plus for a defenseman in today’s NHL.

Seamus Casey USNTDP
Seamus Casey, USNTDP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

“Another feature of Casey’s game that works to his advantage is his ability to quarterback a power play. He can walk the blue line with no trouble, and he has the stickhandling to make defender second-guess their decisions, opening up scoring chances for himself and his teammates. He has an underrated shot and can get shots through traffic consistently, and he can use his stickhandling to do so as well.

“While Casey’s offensive upside is what makes him a potential first-round pick, he’s a sound defender. As you’ll see in the video at the end of this article, he defends the rush well and seems to know when to make the right decision in regards to whether he should defend the pass or take the shooter. His gap control is also impressive, part of the reason why he defends the rush quite well.”

Full player profile can be found here

How This Affects the Devils’ Plans

Although some scouts expected Casey to go in the back half of the first round, Casey projects to be a middle pairing defender who can play in most situations, and with the Devils, he’s in an excellent situation to blossom into a top powerplay contributor. He’s got a great offensive sense and plenty of speed, and alongside Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes, New Jersey is primed to have a modern, high-octane blue line in the future. He’s a bit of a riskier pick with his size and skillset, which is likely why he fell into the second round, but he didn’t last long there, and for good reason. After spending some time at the University of Michigan, he could become a top-pairing defender.