HOW HAS BRATT GONE UNNOTICED?
Just a season ago, it seemed all but sure that Jesper Bratt, who is playing for the New Jersey Devils and was having a career season, would make his first all-star appearance. Those, like myself, who were sure Bratt would be picked for the All-Star festivities in Florida were just hoping for reality to hit the NHL. Before we get to Jesper Bratt, one thing that goes unspoken has to be said. The New Jersey Devils, we know, have had their longest dry spell in their history recently, last season was not that. When it came to All-Star players being picked, you would and should assume that a high-scoring team that had not once dropped below third overall up until that point (and throughout the remainder of the season) would have more than one All-Star representative. But no, New Jersey’s Jack Hughes was rightly sent by himself. All the while, teams who were clear to not make the playoffs by that point had multiple players out there. The Devils had Bratt, Hischier, Hamilton, and Vanecek, all of whom fit the All-Star criteria. Devils fans need to speak up if this happens again. At the time of writing this, the Devils have two of the top scorers in the league as well as the top two players regarding powerplay points. Those players were Jack Hughes with 20 points and Jesper Bratt right behind him with 18 points in ten games. Jack Hughes leaving the game in the first period against St. Louis will unfortunately set him back on his quest to stay at the top of the point race. The Devils now lost their Captain and their number-one star. Having all this is rare in the Devils world, as a star scorer has never been the route the organization would go, which leaves room for players like Bratt and Hughes to take some franchise records while they’re around.
JESPER BRATT: 63 ORIGINS
The New Jersey Devils selected Jesper Bratt in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. He was chosen 162nd overall. The number of his selection brings me to a rarely-known fact about Jesper Bratt. As you know, if you’re a Devils fan, Bratt is number 63. Not many know that he came to this number by adding the 1+62 from his draft selection, which equals 63. Back to the coming of Jesper Bratt to New Jersey. Before coming to North America, Bratt lived, was born in, and played hockey in Sweden. He played for AIK in the Swedish Elite League. For teams to overlook him 161 times is uncanny when you see his stats. Jesper Bratt came into the NHL the same day as Nico Hischier, now Captain of the Devils, made his debut. In that game, Jesper Bratt lit the lamp and came out of the gate hot. It was at that point that a select few Devils fans knew this guy was going to be the future of the team, and they went out to purchase their Jesper Bratt Adidas Climalite Jerseys. While the Devils made the playoffs his rookie year, they went back downhill, and it took a few seasons before Bratt had two consecutive 73-point seasons in 2021-22 and 2022-23. With identical points but more goals last season, it’s looking like Bratt is off to break at least his own record if not some franchise records himself. As previously highlighted, Bratt is third in points with eighteen in the NHL and tied with Jack Hughes for the NHL lead in powerplay points with twelve each, respectively.
OVER A DECADE AS A DEVIL
At this point, barring a big-time trade in the future, Jesper Bratt will have spent well over a decade as a New Jersey Devil, which will surely place him in the history books along with so many other long-term Devils, to mention one; Sergei Brylin. Players like Brylin and Bratt are/were the backbone of their team, but they go under the radar because of the high celebrity of their teammates. Jesper Bratt could easily be said to be the second-best forward on the Devils team. Any position as any number in the best forwards on a team like this is an honor, but it’s becoming more and more clear that when it comes to getting things done offensively, Bratt is top-tier. If somehow Bratt ended up as an unrestricted Free Agent, all 32 teams in the NHL would be ringing his agent off the hook. Luckily for Devils fans, he inked an eight-year deal with the Devils along with teammate Timo Meier. In a crazy world, Meier and Bratt could possibly be the last two from this era of Devils to remain eight years from now.
With the first overall picks and other stars on the New Jersey roster, Jesper Bratt has seemingly gone unnoticed all these years as a Devil while being a prime contributor. He is known to many for his knee down on the ice one-timer on the powerplay from the right side. Originally a left-wing and still listed as one, Bratt has taken the role of right-wing and ran hard with it. It is clear that since Bratt has moved to the right-wing slot, his numbers have improved drastically. There are a few, but some Bratt naysayers who may say, “He was invisible in the playoffs.” Well, to just go by what we saw in the two rounds the Devils were in, if you are to say Bratt was invisible, then you have to add that he was not alone. Hamilton, Hischier, Meier, and some others were also almost ghosts out there in the 2023 playoffs. However, when you look closer, the Devils were down 2-0 to the Rangers in the series and then had to head back to Madison Square Garden. If the Devils were to lose that game, the series was over. What happened in that game turned the whole series around, leading to the Devils winning in seven games on the back of a great performance by Akira Schmid. That Game three went to overtime, one goal by New York, and surely the series was over, but Jesper Bratt entered the zone, zig-zagged, and made a slick pass to Dougie Hamilton, who buried the puck, winning the game and essentially winning the series. With such a small sample size of playoff games, it is unknown if Bratt is a dud in the playoffs; after seeing him this season, it is highly doubtful that it will be the case in the future. Jesper Bratt deserves some sort of recognition for his underrated play. In an attempt to give him some credit, Frank Seravalli offered these comments about Jesper Bratt.
“Since the start of the 2021-2022 season, Bratt sits 34th in league scoring, ahead of bigger names like Brady Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Alex DeBrincat and Sebatian Aho, among others. In 5-on-5 play over that span, among 490 forwards who have logged 500 or more minutes, Bratt sits 24th in points per 60 minutes ahead of names like Sidney Crosby and Leon Draisaitl, placing in the 9th percentile. Yet Bratt, now in his seventh NHL season, has never sniffed a major individual award or even played in an All-Star Game. That should change this season with him posting eye-popping numbers playing in New Jersey’s loaded top 6” – Frank SeravalliFrank Seravalli
Devils Content, Streams, Clips and More
Frank Seravalli said it all right there. This is a special player, and the Devils fans are lucky to have a guy like this for the long haul. Please check out @DevilsJointYT on X, where you can find every Devils clip that you could think of and more. Game streams and goal replays in real-time. Don’t miss it if you’re a Devils fan! Also, those videos are posted to @TheDevilsJoint on YouTube, so make sure to go give Devils Joint a follow. Thank you for learning a bit about the most underrated player in the NHL, Jesper Bratt.