NHL Draft 2015: New Jersey Devils Potential 1st Round Selection


It’s the season for hopes of playoff glory and clinching scenarios, for the ten or so teams still yet to clinch a berth or are still trying to sneak in that is. For fans of the New Jersey Devils and teams like them attention now turns to the draft on June 26th preceded by the draft lottery which will be televised although not live.

The Devils lost in a bad way to the New York Rangers 6-1 last night and thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes winning over Philadelphia the Devils still have a shot at dropping to the 5th overall selection if they follow-up last night’s game with three more ticks in the “L” column and Carolina win out in regulation. On the other hand New Jersey could win two of the remaining three games and jump the Flyers for the 7th pick. The difference in lottery winning odds for each pick is just 2%. With the 5th pick getting 85 balls in the lottery with 75 for the 6th and 65 for the 7th.

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  • In short the New Jersey Devils do not want the 7th pick. The chances of getting a top-level, ready to go forward decreases at the 7th pick and especially if a team in the 8th-14th slots wins the lottery. The Devils could see a revival back to playoff contention if they can draft the right player and add two quality scoring forwards either via free agency or a trade. Looking at where in the order the Devils will most likely be picking you could say they are in the Mitch Marner, Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse territory. That’s with the hope a couple of European skaters and a defenseman is taken in the top 5.

    Many mock drafts have New Jersey taking Marner or Crouse. The Marner pick looks like it could be a lot less likely than a few weeks ago after the London Knight has been lighting it up in the OHL playoffs with 14 points in 5 games with the Knights one win away from a 2nd round date with Connor McDavid and Dylan Stome’s Erie Otters, who dispatched of the Sarnia Sting in five games after losing the first. Strome finished as the OHL’s regular season point leader with 129. Three ahead of Marner and nine ahead of McDavid who played 21 games less. Joseph Blandisi, signed by New Jersey as a free agent in January finished 4th with 112 points in 68 games. For reference Arizona Coyotes prospects finished 5th and 9th whilst the team has added Anthony Duclair via trade and has a shot at McDavid or Jack Eichel

    New Jersey Devils
    New Jersey Devils /

    New Jersey Devils

    Lawson Crouse is the name 2nd most name I’ve seen selected to be picked by the Devils in mock drafts. Crouse, 17, is enjoying his 2nd season with the Kingston Frontenacs with 51 points in 56 games and a further 3 points in 7 playoffs games as Kingston were swept by former Frontenac Ryan Kujawinski’s North Bay Battalion. Looking at points totals Crouse doesn’t seem as sexy a pick as Marner or Strome but Crouse is highly rated by many experts with some putting him above the other two. I’ve seen a couple of Devils fans say that if Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin is available then he should the choice as best player available. In my opinion the best player available is not the best pick available. The only way drafting Hanifin makes sense is if Lou Lamoriello decides to use Jon Merrill or Eric Gelinas in a trade for a quality forward.

    Should New Jersey find themselves with the 7th or 8th pick then the most likely best options will be one of Mathew Barzal, Mikko Rantanen or Pavel Zacha.  Like Crouse, Barzal is 17 and in his 2nd season in the CHL and with his current team the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. Barzal notched 57 points in 44 games as the Thunderbirds finished 3rd in the US Division and currently trail in their series with the Portland Winterhawks 3-2, with Barzal contributing 3 points. Pavel Zacha if drafted would be yet another Czech player to enter the Devils organization. After leaving Bili Tygri Liberec last summer to play in North America for the Sarnia Sting the 17-year-old had a very impressive rookie season on North American ice as he scored 34 points in 37 games. Helping to lead the Sting to 7th seed in the OHL Western Conference. Mikko Rantanen would be somewhat of a wildcard selection of the names mentioned so far as the only skater not playing in North America. Rantanen got his shot with the TPS senior team in the Finnish SM Liiga this season and impressed scoring 28 points in 56 games, earning an “A” on his jersey, as TPS limped to a 13th place finish in the 14 team league.

    The Devils should be locked into the 6th pick now. The scenarios to move up or down are highly unlikely, Carolina will not win out as they face the yet to clinch Detroit twice. Philadelphia have a chance to dent Pittsburgh’s divisional seed hopes later on today and also face Carolina again on Thursday. All in all New Jersey should end up with a great shot at one of the first three mentioned, Marner, Strome and Crouse. Unless they win the lottery, make McDavid #McDevil and this whole post is rendered pointless.

    Next: Devils Humiliated By Rangers On The Road 6-1

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