Biggest NHL Draft Steals In New Jersey Devils History

Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Brian Gionta #14 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

5. Brian Gionta

1998: Round 3, Pick 82

People forget that Brian Gionta popped off for a franchise-record 48 goals back in the 2005-06 season, a record that still remains. The 5`7 winger was one of the many Devils who have fled the Garden State during free agency, but that doesn’t take away from him being a third-round steal. Gionta put up a 45-point campaign six times in his career, four in New Jersey. Also, on his resume, Gionta was named the captain of the Montreal Canadiens and the 2018 US Men’s Olympic team. Not to mention, he played over 1,000 games, three huge accomplishments for one of the smallest hockey players during his career.

4. Steve Sullivan

1994: Round 9, Pick 233

While sorting through Devils draft picks, I couldn’t get over the number of players Lou drafted and traded early in their career, one of those being Steve Sullivan. A 9th round pick by the Devils back in 94′, Sullivan’s tenure with the Devils only lasted two seasons before being shipped off to Toronto in exchange for Doug Gilmour. Sullivan went on to play for a handful of teams, most notably the Blackhawks. During his four and a half seasons there, he put 60 or more points in all of them before being traded to Nashville. All in all, Sullivan played over 1,000 games in the NHL and amassed 747 points in his 16-year career.

3. Jesper Bratt

2016: Round 6, Pick 162

Before you ask why Jesper Bratt is up this high, this is where I expect him to rank by the end of his career. Currently operating at just under a point per game pace, the former 6th rounder from Sweden is having a breakout year. Bratt has a chance to become the second Devils since 2012 to achieve a point-per-game pace, all while at the age of 23. For Jesper, the skating ability has always been there, and this season, the vision and goalscoring finally caught up. Not to mention he’s on a line with Jack Hughes. If the two remain paired, the points and all-star game appearances may begin to pile up a few years down the road.

2. Pat Verbeek

1982: Round 3, Pick 43

The last two spots on this list aren’t the late-round steals you’d expect but getting a player in the third round who put up over 1,000 points in 1,400 career games is a general manager’s dream. Pat Verbeek spent seven years in New Jersey and scored up 45 or more points in five seasons. After being dealt to Hartford, he’d go on to register three 80-point seasons in four years. The two-time all-star also managed to get his name etched into the Stanley Cup as a member of the Dallas Stars in 1999. Verbeek was one of the few bright spots on some terrible Devils’ teams in the 80s.

dark. Next. Ranking Every Devils 1st-Round Pick: The Successes

1. Patrik Elias

1994: Round 2, Pick 51

It’s not every day of the week you find a future Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion at the second to last pick in the second round. Patrik Elias is also the franchise’s record holder for most goals all-time with 408, most points all-time with 1025, most points in a single season with 96. Basically, any offensive record you can come up with, Elias holds that honor, which is why he is the only forward whose number is retired. Elias played a grand total of 1240 games as a pro, all with the Devils. Although he came awfully close with signing with the Rangers back in 2004. The stats and the records speak for themselves and why he’s number one on this list.