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With next to nothing happening in the hockey world, I've decided to take the plunge and write daily profiles for members of the New Jersey Devils.
I'll be commenting on the year each player just had as well as their projected role and expectations for 2019-20. I've written seven so far, with Sami Vatanen being the most recent player profiled
Today we're going with Jesper Bratt.
51 games played, 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists), 15:10 average time on ice
2.23 points/60, +0.78 CF% Rel, +2.92 GF% Rel, -0.11 xGF% Rel, 99.4 PDO
You want to see steady development from young players as they fully establish themselves in the NHL. We certainly saw that from Bratt last season.
He recorded just two points fewer than in his rookie campaign despite playing 23 fewer games. At 5v5, Bratt's output actually increased from 19 points to 23. The jump in efficiency was through the roof. Bratt mustered up 2.23 points/60 at 5v5 – more than Tyler Seguin, Mikko Rantanen, Filip Forsberg, Nicklas Backstrom and Vladimir Tarasenko – after recording just 1.32 as a rookie.
That is legitimately the difference between being a high-end top liner or a bottom-6 role player. Bratt progressing to that extent without consistently good linemates (he logged almost as much ice with Pavel Zacha as Nico Hischier), a shooting percentage spike, or a strong power play to inflate his totals with, is extremely encouraging.
So is the fact his on-ice Corsi For%, Scoring Chance For% and Goals For% increased across the board.
Bratt's assist/60 rate of 1.65 was good for 18th among skaters to log at least 500 minutes at 5v5. That number was directly in line with Claude Giroux/Brad Marchand, and ahead star passers like Jack Eichel, Elias Pettersson, Mathew Barzal, Rantanen, and Backstrom.
His efficiency under far from ideal playing circumstances has me wondering just what levels he can reach, especially with a better supporting cast. Bratt should see top-6 minutes at evens – and steady power play minutes – with Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes centering him and (likely) either Taylor Hall or Nikita Gusev playing wing on the opposite side. Joe from the corner store could be productive in that situation so it's exciting to think what Bratt could accomplish. If he stays healthy, 55-60 points seems like a realistic expectation. I really think he's going to take off.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and hockey-reference.com
top-5 goaltenders in the Eastern Conference?
top-5 defensemen in the Eastern Conference?
top-5 wingers in the Eastern Conference?
2019 player profile: Travis Zajac
2019 player profile: Damon Severson
On Will Butcher's three-year extension
On the Nikita Gusev trade
Pavel Zacha will play an important role in 2019-20
Wayne Simmonds' poor 2018-19 campaign was not a one-off