New Jersey Devils Have New Need at 2017 Draft


Ever since Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise left the New Jersey Devils, along with a couple of other players who were good for them when the team desperately needed more offense. The Devils tried going after some free agents, but none would amount to what they lost over those two offseasons.

The best way to restock and get good young players is through the draft, so the past two drafts and especially last year Ray Shero has used almost all of his draft picks on forwards. Now the New Jersey Devils have a solid young crop of forwards coming through the system, but it’s clear as day that the Devils have a new need come the 2017 NHL draft.

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They need defensemen as the Devils are just allowing too many goals. Not all because of Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid, but because their defense is filled with too many mediocre defensemen where if the Devils had better ones than they would become 3rd pairing or 7th defenseman by default.

Adam Larsson Was Undervalued

I was one Adam Larsson’s biggest supporters because I saw the potential that it turned out he had. When he was playing at his peak he covered up so many of the Devils defensive deficiencies and made captain Andy Greene a better player.

Without him, Andy Greene has majorly regressed this season and the entire defense corps had to take a step forward when some of them weren’t ready for that yet.

Steve Santini has come in and done a very good job as a rookie and I expect him to continue growing, but just like at forward, the Devils need more depth on the backend. You’re not going to win a championship with Dalton Prout playing 18 minutes a game, he’s a 7th defenseman and while I like what he brings to the table he’s not what the Devils need.

Needing More Defensive Skill

Just like at forward also the Devils need more skill from their defensemen and ability to make plays when breaking the puck out of the zone or making a good play at the point to get a shot through to the net since a lot of what the Devils do when they’re in the offensive zone runs through their defensemen.

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I’m not saying they need a Brent Burns since there’s only one of him, but with a high pick that they’re going to have in June, I expect them to take a look at Timothy Liliegren or Cale Maker.

However, if the Devils decide to go in the direction of taking a center, then Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier, and Casey Mittelstadt would be who the Devils would target depending on where they end up picking and who’s available when they’re on the clock.

Either way, this is a very important offseason for the Devils as they’re a team with the potential to get better very quickly if everything falls into place. And yes, I’m looking at you Kevin Shattenkirk.