With the New Jersey Devils missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996, it seemed as if there was nothing exciting to look forward to until training camp come September. Although, winning the final game of the 2010-2011 season last Sunday to the Boston Bruins, was definitely a nice way to end a season that many would like to forget. However, with the NHL playoffs beginning tomorrow there has been a sour taste in many fans’ mouths as well as players’, as everyone knows the boys in black and red won’t be competing for the most prestigious trophy in all of sports; The Stanley Cup. Something that is looking up for the Devils is their 2011-2012 season as they won the lottery on last night, for the 4th overall pick in the 2011 entry level draft. This is exciting news to say the least for New Jersey.
By winning the 4th pick, this is an opportunity for Lou Lamoriello and management to pick one of the best prospects in the league. According to Tom Gulitti of the North Jersey Blog, Lamoriello was not happy that they were even in a situation where they would win the 4th overall pick, but they’ll take what they can get, “We would rather not be in this position, but being in it right now it should make our scouts feel happy and allow them to get a better player than they would have gotten at eighth,” he said.
The last time the Devils had such a high pick was when they drafted Scott Niedermayer 3rd overall in the 1991 draft. It would be a better summer if the Devils could draft a defenseman that had the same abilities and potential that Niedermayer showed not only as a Devil but also during his entire NHL career. With 4 cups (three with New Jersey and one with Anaheim) it proves that the Devils have an opportunity to pick an excellent athlete come June 24, 2011.
So although the Devils will not be starting a best-of-seven series tonight, on the 24th of June they have the opportunity to continue creating a team that will become a champion just like they did in ’95, ’00, and ’03!