Possible Options For New Jersey Devils At Fourth Overall In NHL Draft

New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils, Matthew Beniers
Matthew Beniers #10 of the United States (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Tier 3: Who The Devils Should Stay Away From

1. Jesper Wallstedt, G

Jesper Wallstedt is a Swedish goaltender that played for Lulea in the SHL and their U20 Junior team this previous season. Wallstedt impressed by having a 0.908 save percentage, 2.23 goal against average, and twelve wins while playing 22 games in the SHL. Wallstedt struggled in the two playoff games he played in. He has a 0.871 save percentage, 3.46 goal against average, and lost in the games he played. Wallstedt also has a huge frame for his age and as a goaltender by standing at 6’3″ and 214lbs. One of Wallstedt’s best qualities is his lateral quickness and positioning. He has been hyped the last year as being one of the best goalie prospects in a while, a similar accolade to Yaroslav Askarov.

Wallstedt is an amazing goalie prospect. However, the Devils should not consider drafting him at fourth overall. The Devils have much bigger holes to fill than goalie. They have a reliable starter in Makenzie Blackwood and a decent backup in Scott Wedgewood. the Devils also have an emerging prospect in Nico Daws as well. It will be best for the Devils to draft a goalie outside of the first round so they can focus on defense and the wings in the first round. Even though it will be nice to have Wallstedt, he is not the best player available at pick number four and it is not the Devils’ biggest need.

2. Matthew Beniers, C

Matthew Beniers is an intelligent two-way center who currently attends plays at the University of Michigan. The 6’1″ 174lb center displayed his offensive prowess by scoring a point per game (24 points in 24 games) during his freshman year at Michigan. This is very impressive. Beniers also gained some international experience by competing in the 2021 World Junior Championships and is currently playing at the 2021 IIHF World Championships. Beniers is well known for his skating, especially his powerful stride. This stride gives the edge against his opponents and it allows him to get into open spaces to create scoring chances.

Beniers is the top center and is arguably the best forward in the draft. What he has done so far in the college and international levels at his age is very impressive. He can be very valuable for a team that drafts him. Unfortunately, I do not think the Devils should pick him. The Devils have a lot of depth at center right now. Adding Beniers to this depth might cause long-term issues when it comes to the salary cap. If Beniers does become a top 6 center even though Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are the Devils’ first and second center, he might ask for a hefty contract. If that does happen, that will accumulate with Nico’s current expensive contract, Jack Hughes’s potential long-term extension. all the other players that need to sign extensions (a lot of the Devils’ rookies still have their entry-level contract). All of this might accumulate and it can cause salary cap issues. Without a doubt, Matthew Beniers is an amazing prospect, however, the Devils do not need a prospect that projects to be a top 6 center. The Devils have their core in Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and maybe Dawson Mercer. Beniers will be a better fit for a team that needs a top 6 center.

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The New Jersey Devils are in a great spot for the upcoming draft. They have a lot of top-level prospects to choose from that can help the team return to the playoffs. Based on the tiers, the Devils’ biggest priority with the overall pick is to draft the best defenseman available, preferably an RHD. If the Devils address their defense in this draft, it will give rebuilt a huge step in the right direction and hopefully become playoff regulars again in the next couple of years.

What do you think about these options? Who do you think the Devils should draft with the fourth overall? Feel free to leave a comment below and let’s get a discussion going.