The New Jersey Devils have inked another interesting prospect, signing Topias Vilen to a three-year entry-level contract. Vilen spent this season playing at the highest level in Finland, after being drafted last year.
The youngest player on the Pelicans this season, Vilen recorded six points in 50 games. The 19-year-old was a fifth-round pick of the Devils in 2021 and is known almost exclusively for his defensive game. Even at the junior level the young defenseman barely registered any offense, meaning it will be a long difficult road if he’s ever going to make the NHL.
Still, there are signs at least that he might be able to carve out a niche as a bottom-pairing, penalty-killing option. For one, his work ethic has never been questioned as he battles constantly in his own end, and his size–6’1″ 195lbs–at least gives him an advantage over the undersized offensive players he’ll be battling in the minor leagues.
Given that he has only just turned 19, the young defenseman will be eligible to play for Finland at both this summer’s and next winter’s World Juniors, if selected. He previously represented his country at the U17 and U18 level, even wearing an “A” as an alternate captain during last year’s event in Texas, where the Finns finished fourth.