NEWARK -- Assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald seemed taken aback after watching his prospects put on a show during the final day of Devils Development Camp.
Since the start of the post-Lou Lamoriello era in the summer of 2015, the Devils have been able to acquire young talent at a rate not even Fitzgerald could have foreseen.
"It's exciting to see, not only it taking off the ground, but really starting to move quickly here," Fitzgerald said following Saturday, referencing the team's youth movement. "It's an exciting time. We had 33 skaters, 30 of them were drafted. That's pretty impressive."
All of the attributes Fitzgerald and general manager Ray Shero are looking for in their players -- fast, skilled and the ability to push the pace among others -- were on display during Saturday's scrimmage, in which Team White defeated Team Red 6-5.
"The biggest thing that jumped off the page to me, especially today, is the skillset," Fitzgerald said. "We've added a lot of skills in the last couple of years, and that's really exciting."
How defenseman Reilly Walsh showed off his offensive skills
It took about two minutes for No. 1 pick Nico Hischier to caress the puck on one side of the ice in the offensive zone, skate to the other, and circle up before putting a shot on goal that was deflected in by defenseman Steve Santini.
Hischier played on a line with Miles Wood and 2016 third round pick Joey Anderson -- it seemed every time the trio was out there, the puck was following them in the offensive zone.
"It was easy to play with them," Hischier said. "It's always fun to play some hockey."
The first few minutes of the scrimmage was dominated by the 2017 Draft Class, as defenseman and third round pick Reilly Walsh scored two quick goals following Hischier to put Team White a 2-1 lead.
"I was a little nervous of what it was going to be like at first, but once I got the first couple shifts under my belt," Walsh said. "From there it's just focusing on not getting beat wide, stuff like that, simple things."
The second goal came off a pass from 2016 12th overall pick Michael McLeod, who was effective all afternoon in generating scoring opportunities for Team White.
Following a dominant season in the Ontario Hockey League, McLeod is one of many young players vying for a spot on the opening-night roster.
You get the gist: No matter who was on the ice, there was no shortage of speed and skill.
Each player took part in a shootout afterward, which was highlighted by fans boo'ing the refs for huddling at center ice to review whether 2017 second rounder Jesper Boqvist scored on his attempt. To the fans delight, the refs overturned their original call of no-goal -- no call to the league office in Toronto was needed.
Fitzgerald and Shero have made it clear that development camp won't help determine which players make the jump next season.
But based on the talent showcased this past week, it seems head coach John Hynes will have a few difficult to decisions to make in October when filling out his lineup card.
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