The New Jersey Devils have officially added one of their top young prospects to the team. The Devils have announced the signing 2019 second-round pick Nikita Okhotyuk to his entry-level contract. It is a three-year term for the young defenseman, but financial terms have not been disclosed.
Okhotyuk, 19, is in his third season with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League. The lefty blue liner made the jump to North America in 2017 after being selected in the first round of the CHL Import Draft. A well-regarded prospect who was universally considered a second-round caliber prospect last year, Okhotyuk was considered a great value for the Devils at No. 61.
A player who excels more in the defensive aspects of the game than the offensive ones, Okhotyuk nevertheless appears to be improving in the latter. While his five assists in ten games so far in a season slowed by injuries doesn’t exactly stand out, his scoring pace is substantially higher than his previous two junior campaigns. His hard-working, physical game is a nice contrast to New Jersey’s current NHL defensemen and many of their top prospects as well, potentially putting him in good shape to push for a spot with the big league squad sooner rather than later.