Revisiting 5 Biggest New Jersey Devils Storylines of 2020

New Jersey Devils: (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils: (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Alexander Holtz – New Jersey Devils (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Crazy 1st Round Of NHL Draft

The NHL Draft was supposed to take place on June 26, but because of the pandemic, it was delayed all the way to October 6th. That gave bloggers like us more than three extra months to talk ourselves into prospects, out of those prospects, and back into those prospects again. Things got even more interesting when the Rangers won the number-one overall pick. With the Rangers getting Alexis Lafrenière, the Devils needed to hit on their top draft pick, and more than likely needed to hit a home run on two.

The Devils watched the board fall in a very interesting way. Many people tied the Devils to the two defensemen on the board; Jamie Drysdale and Jake Sanderson. They both ended up going five and six, right before the Devils picked at seven. That left the Devils taking Swedish sniper Alexander Holtz. Despite some very interesting names still on the board (Cole Perfetti and Marco Rossi being the best), this is definitely a pick every Devils fan is happy with now.

Fast forward 10 picks. There weren’t a lot of surprises in the teens. The only real surprise was Dawson Mercer was falling down draft boards. The all-around skater was ranked as the 10th best North American skater, and many expected him to go between 12 and 15. The Devils saw he was still available at 18, and they pounced.

This is where things got interesting. The Rangers traded up to take safe defenseman Braden Schneider (safe as in low downside, not safe as in how he hits). Devils fans were very upset they lost a quality defenseman because the Rangers traded one pick in front of them. The happiness of getting Mercer had subsided. Things would only get worse.

The Devils went completely off the board with the 20th-overall pick. They took Russian defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin. He wasn’t even awake during the pick because he didn’t think he was going in the 1st round. It was clear this was a pick driven by the pandemic. He looked a lot better after the new season started. Either way, the Devils are tied to the lanky defender who still has a few more years of development left.

Overall, the Devils crushed it on the first day of the draft. There were some much safer picks with 20th overall, but the Devils absolutely dominated with their first two picks. Even looking at the Rangers taking Schneider, things would be so much worse if they had Mercer.