With the season over for the New Jersey Devils, it’s time to focus on the draft again. Usually, the Devils are bound to select a pick in the top 10. The 2022 NHL Draft had the Devils initially getting the 5th or 6th overall pick before the draft lottery. When the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery aired on Tuesday night, the Devils’ luck changed when they moved up three spots to get the second overall pick. They didn’t even have Taylor Hall this time to help them. But there is a complicated problem. The Devils originally had plans to trade the pick to acquire a talented high-end player. Now that they’re selecting 2nd overall, they’re likely to keep the pick to draft a player. But who exactly can the Devils draft 2nd overall in the 2022 NHL Draft?
While it may not be a deep draft in terms of talent, there are many good players that the Devils can take at 2. While Shane Wright is most likely to go no.1 to the Montreal Canadiens, this would be the Devils’ best option at no.2. Juraj Slafkovsy is a Slovakian left wing who has been the best player out of all the European skaters. Slafkovsky is 6’4, which is a good thing for Fitzgerald because he loves big-size guys. Slafkovsky is usually known for his shot and his net-front presence. He could be potentially a first-line player with speed and presence. While the last few seasons haven’t raised his draft stock, this year changed everything, and people noticed him as a potential star. The Olympics made his stamp on how good he can be.
During his time in the 2022 Men’s Winter Olympics in Beijing with the Slovakia men’s team, he turned heads in the ten games. In the first seven games he appeared in, he had seven goals. Each time he has the puck, he works his vision to determine the open net and shoots hard to beat the goaltenders he faces. Against Sweden, he scored the first and last goal leading Slovakia to get the bronze medal. So how could Slafkovksy fill a need on a team?
For one, he is an LW, which could be a massive get for the Devils. Depending on whether Tom Fitzgerald re-signs Jesper Bratt, filling that hole with the skill of Slafkovksy could prove deadly for the team’s offense. Aside from Bratt, the LW position has been growing thin. Tomas Tatar and Andreas Johnsson seemed to be invisible all year, and Miles Wood didn’t play for most of the year, and as for Jimmy Vesey, he’s had some good moments but not much. Getting Slafkovsky would be a big boost for the LW core. Placing him on a line with Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich could be a unique young line. This player would be the number 1 choice for who they get at no.2 overall for the Devils.