The NHL Draft went all over the place on Friday night in the 1st round. Because of some of the team’s decisions, there is amazing talent available to the New Jersey Devils in the 2nd round.
The New Jersey Devils go back to their own picks when the 2nd round starts on Saturday morning. When we went over five possible 2nd-round picks way back in April, we felt Nolan Foote and Tobias Bjornfot would easily available to the Devils at 34, and Arthur Kaliyev was the long shot. Well, it turns out it was the other way around.
The 1st round was insane, and that insanity allowed multiple 1st-round talents to fall into the 2nd round. There are at least five players that should have gone in the first 31 picks, but they are available on day two.
With that said, which five players should the Devils and their fans focus on?
Something feels off here. Arthur Kaliyev scored 51 goals last season for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He has a world-class shot, and he might be the second best pure scorer in the draft outside of Cole Caufield, who also fell. Maybe this is just which direction the league is going in, moving away from pure scoring and going more towards two-way players. Kaliyev needs major work on the defensive side, but that can’t be the only reason he fell. He’s too good offensively. Either way, bring him to New Jersey, and fast.
This guy is just straight smooth with the puck. He’s kind of short at 5’9, so maybe that’s why he fell like he did, but he has a ton of skill, plays left wing, and can straight up score. He may be small in stature but he plays like he’s eight feet tall. Nils Hoglander gets into the hard areas and pushes around players twice his size. He plays like he’s been smaller than everyone his whole life. Hoglander feels like a Ray Shero type player. He never quits. The play isn’t done until he says it is done. He will scratch and claw to make it to the NHL, and he will do the same once he puts on a Devils jersey.
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Bobby Brink was going in many mock drafts in the early 20s. Surprise, surprise, he’s an undersized winger that fell into the 2nd round. Some of these GMs need more analytics, that’s all we’ll say about that. But, other team’s passing helps the Devils. Brink is a finisher. He has amazing hands, and his wrist shot gets me up in the morning. However, his best trait is how fast he can process the game. It’s similar to Jack Hughes best trait. He sees the ice quicker than just about everyone else. Even if he’s four feet tall, someone who can do that is someone you want on the team.
This guy was getting top-15 buzz towards the end of the season. Raphael Lavoie went on a ridiculous run with the Mooseheads in the playoffs. He scored 20 goals in 23 postseason games. When the lights were brightest, he delivered, and he delivered in the biggest way possible. Lavoie is the type of player this team will want when they are perennial playoff contenders. He didn’t have the best regular season, but his ridiculous run shows just how good he’s capable of being, and shows that he does it when the lights shine brightest. There’s one thing different here, Lavoie is huge. He’s 6’4 and 200 lbs. So it really doesn’t make much sense that he’s here, besides the fact that people might think his playoff run was a fluke. We don’t.
Nicholas Robertson is the player I’m lowest on here, but he’s still a 1st-round talent, and the Devils would be lucky to have him. He’s capable of making highlight reel plays, and his puck handling is off the charts. Everything he does is quick. He has quick hands, quick feet, he moves through the zone quickly, and he’ll quickly become a Devils fan favorite. He was close to a point-per-game player, and could continue that production for the Devils in a few years. He has a ton of upside, as his highlights will prove, but he might be worth the wait.