New Jersey Devils Draft Notes: Taking The Best Player At #6


With the 2015 NHL Entry Draft rapidly approaching, the New Jersey Devils draft strategy is starting to become a little clearer. Everyone knows that the New Jersey Devils are desperately in need of talented forwards, specifically high scoring. In most mock drafts, the top 6 picks of the draft will likely be saturated with forwards who can fit this need for the New Jersey Devils. However, with the organization in the middle of a rebuild and most likely in contention for the next 2-3 years a lot could happen.

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Two things in particular immediately come to mind given the New Jersey Devils current situation. They could either

trade down from the 6th overall spot

to acquire a player/additional picks or they could

select the best player available

. Yes, this means that the New Jersey Devils could very well end up selecting a defenseman with their 1st round pick. While this would undoubtedly upset a majority of the fan-base, New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero had a great point on this subject.

"“I get it,” Shero said of the Devils’ need for young forwards. “(But) you’re taking the best asset. You’re thinking three to five years down the road. There’s nothing worse than picking a position for the position and then all the sudden you passed on someone pretty special because, oh, you had enough of those.”"

New Jersey Devils fans should really appreciate what Shero said in this quote. All too often teams are pressured to select based on a need instead of getting a better overall player. With the New Jersey Devils in the midst of a rebuild, they need to draft based on getting the best player available instead of reaching to draft someone to fill a need. Yes, the Devils seemingly have an abundance of talented defensemen, but that can change very quickly with potential trades, injuries and or poor play.

By taking the best player available in this year’s draft, the New Jersey Devils would be able to open up a variety of options going forward. They could always move the player they drafted via trade to try to acquire players to address their organizational needs or they could move someone already in the organization. Drafting based on best available instead of by need also puts pressure on the younger players to try to perform well enough to stay in the lineup. New Jersey Devils Director of Scouting David Conte had this to say about all that goes into the development of a player from the draft.

"“A friend of mine coaches in the NFL and he says, ‘You draft a guy. That’s Stage 1. You’ve got to develop him. That’s Stage 2. Then, you’ve got to utilize him. That’s Stage 3. And they need to overlap,” Conte said. “So, this is just part of the process. The successes we’ve had in the past, it’s always been more than drafting. It’s always been coaching. It’s been development. It’s been all of those things. It’s also been trainers. It’s been good environments. That’s been standard.”"

The most important thing to note from this quote is how Conte emphasizes the fact that good drafting is more than just selecting a talented player. It’s the coaching, development, trainers and good environments that ultimately give you the end product you see in the NHL. With the New Jersey Devils, there’s been lapses in a few of those areas as of late, but now that Ray Shero and John Hynes have been brought in it appears that they have addressed that.

We may not know who the New Jersey Devils will pick at #6 or if they will even pick at 6th overall, but whoever they do end up picking will be the best player available. Us as fans often fear the unknown and uncertainty when it comes to our favorite teams, but they should not be afraid of the way the New Jersey Devils are approaching this year’s draft.

Next: Revisiting The Devils 2014 Draft Class