When the New Jersey Devils added Will Butcher to the fold back in August, not even in his wildest dreams could general manager Ray Shero imagine that the young d-man would have eight points in six games. The 22-year-old also (as of this writing) notched his ninth point tonight with an assist on a Nico Hischier goal and also had a nifty pass that was nearly converted into another goal. Butcher is tied for second in points among NHL defensemen, and has backed up his belief that he was absolutely NHL ready. Though many teams passed on the Hobey Baker winner, it’s fair to say that the Devils grow happier with each passing day that they inked a potential cornerstone defenseman.
- Not to be outdone, 2017 first overall pick Hischier not only potted his first goal tonight, but added another before the end of the first period. The tough schedule early on may have benefitted the youngster the Record’s Andrew Gross wrote yesterday. Hischier finally broke through with a couple tonight, but as Gross reported, Hischier had four assists in his first six games. Having Taylor Hall on a wing certainly helps, but Hischier is showing the talent he possesses that landed him as the top pick in back in June.
- The Devils have had one of the many surprising starts in the league, jumping out to a 5-1 mark and challenging preseason favorite Columbus for the top spot in the Metropolitan division. It’s still early and the Devils are certainly still in “rebuilder” status. But the infusion of young talent, namely Butcher and Hischier, could certainly jumpstart a team that appeared a couple seasons away from making some noise. If the “kids” continue to produce, a playoff appearance may be sooner than many initially thought.