In an action-packed Sunday that saw the New York Jets #2 overall pick, Zach Wilson, throw four interceptions, it was Miles Wood shotgunning a beer at the Jets game that caught the eye of the sports world. Not really, but he did make excellent time on his chug. It was the performances of Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer, and Nolan Foote that took the Devils’ fanbase by storm. In today’s prospect’s game, the trio managed to rack up 7 points, accounting for three goals and four assists in a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins. Each of the three registered a goal and an assist, but it was the 18th overall pick, Mercer who finished with two assists on the day. While it’s only the prospects challenge, it’s always nice having hockey on, and it’s even nicer to watch your A prospects put their talent on full display.
Of the three, it was Mercer who had the best game. Mercer may have had the prettiest stat-line, but he also displayed how well-rounded his game is as a whole. On his goal, Mercer flashed to the front of the net and let it fly. In that short sequence, Mercer demonstrated his above-average hocket sense by finding an opening in front and a quick release on his snapshot. As for his assists, the first one was a secondary assist, but the second one showcased why the Devils are so high on him. Thanks to his hustle and IQ, Mercer forced a turnover, leading to him picking up a loose puck, and with it, he drew the defenders and goalie towards him and dumped the puck off to Foote for an easy goal. Whether you’re going to commend him for his hustle, passing ability, or hockey intelligence, Mercer put it all on display today.
As for Holtz, all I have to say is watch the highlight of his goal, and you’ll understand why the Devils took him 7th overall. Watching Holtz let go of a wicked wrister and sending the goalie’s water bottle into outer space is a sight to see for Devils. In the next year or two, Holtz will be on a line of Jack Hughes, and the two of them will put up monster numbers. And yes, while his goal was spectacular, his dish to Mercer for his goal wasn’t shabby either.
I know with Hughes, Holtz, and Mercer, it’s easy to forget about the Devils’ other prospects, but Nolan Foote reminded fans today not to forget about him. Outside of his one-timer goal that was on a wide-open net, a few times in today’s game, Foote utilized his big frame to win puck battles. Thanks to Foote, him grinding along the boards and freeing up the puck is what led to the Devils’ first goal. If Foote can continue to utilize his big body and grow his shot, he’ll bring size, strength, and goal-scoring to a team that needs all three of those skills drastically.
“Photo: by Andrew Maclean / NewJerseyDevils.com”