Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One To Watch: New Jersey Devils

From the outside looking in, it feels like New Jersey is midway through a era change. New ownership, the eventual end of Martin Brodeur's fantastic career, the NHL retirement of Ilya Kovalchuk... Only Lou Lamoriello seems like the only constant in New Jersey. 

I still don't agree with the team's decision to use the 2012 1st round pick, 29th overall, knowing they had to forfeit a 1st rounder by 2014. It's not hindsight to suggest it was clear the odds were against the Devils ever picking later than that. Plus, it's not like Stefan Matteau is worth more than the pick they will now be forced to give up in 2014 as a result.

I don't get it but perhaps someone will fill me in on why that isn't horrible asset management. 

2012 Choice: Jon Merrill - The defenceman was looking to put 2011-12 behind him but faced a new challenge; injury. Merrill's season didn't begin until January thanks to a cracked vertebrae. Once he got back in action at Michigan he helped stabilize the club which had struggled mightily for most of the year. Merrill finished the year in the AHL with Albany and had 8 points in 12 games. 

My New Jersey choice for One To Watch in 2013-14 is after the jump. 

Myles Bell (RW)
Kelowna Rockets
6', 210 lbs
Drafted 160th Overall in 2013

Photo: Marissa Baecker
What a year it was for Myles Bell. After overcoming a very difficult off season situation a couple of summers ago the Calgary native was dealt from Regina to Kelowna. His first year with the Rockets was positive - 41 points.

2012-13 presented a new twist in that the Rockets were short on forwards so tried the offensive blueliner on the wing to great success. A massive 38-goal, 93-point outburst not only kept Bell on the wing but enticed New Jersey enough to warrant selecting him on draft day. 

Now 20-years-old, Bell is at a crossroads in his career; he's eligible to return to the WHL for one last season but he's also old enough to play in the AHL. However, the Devils haven't signed him yet and will evaluate that at camp. 

The Rockets are considered WHL championship contenders and even more so should Bell be returned to them. The Devils would know that not only will he play a long time in Kelowna this year but that he gets excellent coaching there as well under Ryan Huska. 

If he is back in Kelowna, can Bell duplicate or perhaps even surpass his point total from last year?  If New Jersey signs him, does he start at the AHL level or with the big club? 

Lots of intriguing scenarios for Myles Bell and that's what makes him my choice as "One To Watch" amongst Devils prospects in 2013-14.

Up Next: Pittsburgh Penguins

No comments: