The Devils signed forward prospect Joey Anderson to a three-year entry level contract on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Anderson is in New Jersey and will join the NHL team on Monday. The first year of Anderson’s contract will count toward the 2017-18 season, so he will have two years left on his deal starting next season.
Anderson is eligible to play in the postseason with the Devils, who play Game 3 of their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at Prudential Center.
When Anderson played with the U.S. National Development Team prior to being drafted, he shared a line with Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows — two players taken in the first round of the 2016 Draft before Anderson. Keller just finished his first NHL season, and his play earned him consideration for the Calder Trophy.
When those three played together, Anderson showed the ability to play with high-quality skill and speed, and it was one of the appealing things to the Devils about getting him in the middle of the Draft. Now the Devils will see if he can make an impact at the NHL level.
Anderson possesses the speed and offensive ability that could help make the Devils a deeper, more dangerous team, if he shows he is NHL-ready. The Devils have used several left-handed shots on their opposite side during the 2017-18 season, so Anderson would add another righty to line up on that side down the line.
Dak, who was thrust unexpectedly into the starting lineup as a rookie and who built confidence with a great running game and an offensive line that allowed him to work through his progressions until a receiver was clearly open, possibly never developed the comfort level during two NFL seasons to consistently throw what looked like a 50-50 ball, but that may have had a higher chance of success.
The Panthers also have an immediate need at cornerback following the Daryl Worley trade and the Bashaud Breeland free-agency fail. But Wynn and/or UTEP’s Will Hernandez need to be play with this pick as potential replacements for left guard Andrew Norwell, who left for the Jaguars. Wynn is the better overall prospect.