At 7th overall, the Devils select Alexander Holtz
The New Jersey Devils started off the night with a smart pick getting an absolute sniper in Alexander Holtz. He is going to tear it up and slots perfectly into this lineup. The Devils will likely let him play out the year in Sweden since it has already begun and the NHL season is months off. Last year, he was good against men and has started off with a goal in 3 games this season, not a lot to add on to what has already been said about him.
He should be put immediately on the wing of Jack Hughes when he comes to North America and the Devils need to build that chemistry fast. Elite IQ on two players one a playmaker the other a sniper is something that could carry us up the standings rather quickly. Look for him to be a 20-goal scorer when he comes over and a 30 goal guy in his third year.
At 18th overall the Devils select Dawson Mercer
Mercer was rated by most people higher than the Devils selected him so in that regard it was a good pick. Defense is our biggest need, though you should always draft best player available, so this pick is one that can both be liked and not liked. He is a good player but having Braden Schnieder on the board still it was a concern he would be gone at 20. Mercer has a good drive and work ethic though so he should help amp up the Devils line up in a few years and hopefully will slot in the middle six.
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At 20th overall the Devils select Shakir Mukhamadullin
This one needs to be graded an F. If the Devils were so desperate for a defender, take Braden Schnieder at 18 or take William Wallinder or Helge Grans at 20. Other notable prospects passed over such as Hendrix Lapierre, Connor Zary and John-Jason Peterka are already making us look foolish day 1 of the draft which is not a good look. Mukhamadullin was rated the #20 European skater by the NHL and #39 European skater by Dobber Prospects.
"“Mukhamadullin is a divisive prospect who seems to be ranked all over the place. But besides his size, he doesn’t have a lot of great qualities. He seems to be still growing into his body which could be why his skating looks a bit awkward. His skills are mostly average or slightly above average and his defensive game isn’t really a strength for him either. It is a bit baffling that he’s gotten some KHL games already.” via Dobber Prospects"
Though only a sample of one opinion going off board and seeing this, among other, analysts and scouts talking about him, it looks like a disaster. Being big is not the most important thing. He might not even be the biggest defender on the board (that probably goes to Wallinder, but it’s close). This is a long-term project and a huge risk. The Devils need to hope he figures it out or this will be questioned for a long time.
The Devils currently do not have a 2nd-round pick, so we will be waiting a while to take another player and the draft is very important for a building team. A good strategy might be to even try and move down for a few extra later picks.