Reaching for Jake Sanderson would be a bad idea for the New Jersey Devils.
The New Jersey Devils fell down to seventh with their first pick in the 2020 Draft thanks to the Draft Lottery. There are so many great options that will likely be available at seven. They are all forwards. Unless Jamie Drysdale falls down to them at seven, they should absolutely take a forward with that pick. In no way should they reach for defenseman Jake Sanderson.
Sanderson is a defensive defenseman that plays for the United States National Development Program. He has some offensive upside, but it is unclear if he will reach that in the National Hockey League. He is one of the younger players in the draft, so it will be a while before he reaches that dream. He is slated to play for the University of North Dakota in 2020-21.
Sanderson might very well be a fine young defenseman, but reaching for a defensive defenseman that “might” have some offensive upside is not a good idea. It is especially not a good idea when you consider the fact that they are going to have some premier forward prospects available to them at that pick. It is true that they need help defending but this doesn’t seem to be the right path to get that help.
The Devils also have Kevin Bahl in the pipeline. He might be ready to crack the New Jersey lineup as soon as next season, so he might be able to be one of the players that helps the Devils get better at defending. They also have Ty Smith who seems to be more of a two-way player. Adding those two to join what they already have might be fun to watch.
Now, if Sanderson is still on the board when the Devils are on the board with Arizona’s pick, that would be a great pick for them. He is a good young player, but he needs to be selected once all of the top forwards and Drysdale are gone. The Devils are still at a point in their organization where they need to go with the best player available and Sanderson doesn’t fit that mold at pick seven. He might, however, fit that mold in picks 11-16.