Why Taking Simon Nemec Was The Right Choice

Many people probably laughed, or they wanted to drive up to Montreal and yell at Tom Fitzgerald. You would think it was a gift from Santa Claus and the hockey gods, with Shane Wright available. But the Devils went ahead and took defenceman Simon Nemec. He was the third-ranked prospect amongst European skaters and was the best defenseman ranked in this draft. The Devils got a good hockey player and a foundational piece for years.

Simon Nemec’s Hockey Career

Simon Nemec has played his hockey career in the Slovakian league. As a 13-year-old kid, he went on to score 21 points in 44 games. The following year he would remain in the U18 Slovakia League, and in 52 games played, he would score ten goals and 35 points. The development was beginning to show, and his offensive abilities shined through.

During the 2019-2020 season, Nemec would then play in the U20 league. In 45 games played, he would go on to score 21 points. He would tally three points in 12 games at the professional level. Things were really coming together for him as this was all done as a 16-year-old kid.

In 2020-2021 Simon Nemec would be playing for HK Nitra in the Slovakia league. In 37 games for the club, he went on to score two goals, 17 assists, and 19 points. This year he saw his point totals jump. Nemec boosted his stats by scoring one goal, 25 assists, and 26 points. He is only 18 years old and is an NHL Ready defenseman.

The Players Strengths And What They Are Getting

Simon Nemec is a towering defenceman standing at 6’0 tall and weighing 190 pounds. That would fit in nicely with how big Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Graves are. He uses his size to his advantage. With his big frame at his disposal, he does a good job defending and poke-checking the puck away and simply taking the puck away. He reminds me of Victor Hedman. A player with his skating and defending ability is an excellent player to have on your back end.

Nemec is also offensively gifted. The young blue liner does a good job of using his skating ability and has a good burst of speed to go along with it. Skating amongst defensemen is so key in the league these days, as you often see it. Key blueliners such as Cale Makar, Charlie McAvoy, Victor Hedman, and Adam Fox all skate very well.

When the puck is on his stick, Nemec is one to watch for. He makes good crisp passes and has a good hockey IQ. He can run a powerplay from the back end, which is huge, especially for the Devils. With his development so far, he has shown the offensive gift he can bring to the big club.

What He Could Work On

No player is perfect. Every player has something or a few things that they could work on. If there is something Simon Nemec could work on, it is to get out of his own head. Just go out there and play to your ability, and don’t oversimplify yourself.

In the end, despite him being really in a lot of aspects in his game, he could work on everything. Perfecting his craft, he can go out there and work on his dangling, improving his shot to be a more prolific shooter from the point, and using his frame to become a more physical player. Simon Nemec has all the tools in the world to be an offensive dynamo on the back end, and it would propel the Devils further if he can be.

Why Defense Was The Right Choice

All the focus is on the player, but the position should also be noted. There are so many high-profile defensemen, and they are so valuable in this league. You cannot ever have too many on your team. The Devils are fine on offense and still have free agency to go through and add pieces. The Devils are building from the back end and laying the foundation. A team that allowed the second-most goals across the league could use a boost on the back end. Keep in mind that 2021 selection Luke Hughes is right around the corner but is returning to Michigan for his sophomore season. Simon Nemec is an NHL-ready player and could see the lineup this upcoming season, but he will most likely start in the AHL with the Utica Comets.

Photo Via HockeyProspecting.com

This is just to show the potential in what the Devils have in the two young defensemen they have drafted. The sky is the limit, and the potential is there.

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