Devils’ Sharangovich Poised for Big Role in 2022-23

In recent years, the New Jersey Devils have found luck in the draft lottery. Three of the past six events have seen the Devils move up to select in the top two picks. Twice, New Jersey drew first overall, resulting in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. However, the Devils also found success in later rounds of the draft, with sixth-round pick Jesper Bratt leading the team in scoring. The next late-round gem for them was a fellow European: Yegor Sharangovich.

After a slow start to his sophomore campaign in the 2021-2022 season, Sharangovich returned to his scoring form as the season progressed. Tom Fitzgerald made moves to improve the top six in free agency, leaving the fifth-round pick from Belarus slightly overlooked. However, recently Sharangovich has seen growth, and there are reasons to believe his 2022-2023 season could be his best yet.

A Surprising Success Story

The Devils selected Sharangovich 141st overall in the 2018 Entry Draft. He would spend the following season in Binghamton with the team’s AHL affiliate, scoring a pedestrian 17 points in 68 games. The following year saw significant improvement, as in 57 games, Sharangovich would put up totals of 10 goals, 15 assists, and 25 points. He was also a plus-13 on a Binghamton team that went 34-24-4. Sadly, the COVID pandemic ended their season, as well as Sharangovich’s, prematurely. The playoffs would be cancelled, and his future unknown. 

Yegor Sharangovich Binghamton Devils
Yegor Sharangovich with the Binghamton Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Belarusian forward would return to his homeland to start the 2020-21 season, playing for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. He would put up 25 points in 34 games, 17 of them goals. Soon, Sharangovich would get some news that would change his career: he would be playing the rest of the season for the Devils.

At this point in his career, Sharangovich spent most of his time as a center. With the Devils, he would play more of a role on the wings, with Hughes, Hischier, and Pavel Zacha already down the middle. Almost immediately, he made an impact, scoring his first NHL goal in overtime against the Boston Bruins. In his rookie season, the fifth-round draft choice put up 30 points in 54 games and finished 10th in Calder voting, receiving one second-place vote. The next season, Sharangovich would increase his totals in several categories. He put up 46 points in 76 games, both career highs since being drafted by New Jersey. He also scored his first career hat trick on April 2nd in the Devils’ heartbreaking 7-6 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Growing Into a New Role

Gearing up for the 2022-23 season, the main goal of the Devils was to improve the forward group. They accomplished that, signing Ondrej Palat to a five-year, $30 million contract and swapping Pavel Zacha for Erik Haula. With Miles Wood set to return as well, Sharangovich could get lost in the shuffle.

Yegor Sharangovich New Jersey Devils
Yegor Sharangovich, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As a left winger, it is almost a guarantee that he will be on the same line as either Hughes or Hischier, two of the strongest passers on Jersey’s team. If Sharangovich starts with Hughes, his goal-scoring total will only increase as the 2019 first overall pick returns to full strength. With Hischier, he’s going to have a center who’s not only the team captain but is coming off career highs of 21 goals, 39 assists, and 60 points. The second scenario is more likely. Sharangovich is 24 years old and Hischier is just 23, and both came over from eastern Europe, with similar styles of play. Plus, for most of last season, he was linemates with both former first-overall picks, so there’s no reason to alter something that’s already working.

Related: Devils’ Sharangovich Proved Top-Six Value in 2021-22

The last time the Devils selected a winger in the later rounds that made the team was Bratt, who is coming off a breakout season in his own right. He just turned 24 on July 30, and put up 73 points in 76 games. Granted, Bratt is in his fifth NHL season while Sharangovich is only entering his third, but it’s a positive trajectory to see for the Belarusian.

There should be no reason to overlook Sharangovich in a revitalized Devils offense. In each of his first two seasons, he finished in the top 5 in scoring for the team. He’s following the same path as Bratt, who has now blossomed into one of the Devils’ main contributors. As he continues to develop, Sharangovich should be a part of the Devils not just for next season, but for many years to come. While 2022-23 may or may not be his breakout campaign, he could still be a consistent scoring option on a team filled with them. Do not be surprised if he puts up new career highs and outperforms expectations as he has each year he has been a part of New Jersey.