Newark, NJ – If the New Jersey Devils needed any more confirmation they made the right selection second overall in the 2022 NHL draft, they just got it. On Wednesday, defenseman Simon Nemec has been named to the AHLs Top Prospect Team.
As a native Slovakian, Nemec made the jump to North America right away suiting up for the Utica Comets. It’s worth mentioning that Nemec made it hard on the Devils’ brass in training camp to send him down to the AHL with an impressive showing.
In his first season of North American hockey, the 18-year-old defenseman certainly impressed. The first-year rookie registered 12 goals and 34 points in 65 regular season games. Nemec also tallied a goal and three assists in four Calder Cup Playoff games.
Following Utica’s playoff exit, Nemec met Team Slovakia at the 2023 IIHF World Championships. A year prior, Nemec helped Slovakia claim its first-ever Olympic ice hockey medal (bronze) at the 2022 Bejing Olympics. Slovakia did not medal at the 2023 world tournament this year.
Alongside Nemec, a team of highly talented top prospects around the NHL also received the top prospect honors. Those prospects consist of Tyson Foerster (Flyers), Jiri Kulich (Sabres), Lukas Reichel (Blackhawks), David Jiricek (Blue Jackets), and Jesper Wallstedt (Wild).
Nemec’s success has left the Devils organization weighing their options on the blueline, which could ultimately lead to Damon Severson’s departure. Severson spent the last nine seasons in the Devils organization. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Reports have indicated the Devils could trade Severson’s rights before the July 1st free agency window.
Severson will potentially be in a different organization come September. If so, Nemec will certainly be in the mix to claim top-six minutes on the Devils’ blueline alongside fellow rookie defenseman Luke Hughes.
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