The New Jersey Devils are going to (unless they trade it) make the second overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft thanks to some more lottery luck. There are a few different players for them to consider with that spot and they all pretty much play different positions.
The expectations are that the Montreal Canadiens are going to take Shane Wright with the first overall pick. It is becoming more and more clear that Juraj Slafkovsky is the right pick for New Jersey with the second overall pick.
He was dominant in the Olympics as he led all players in goals with seven. He came into the 2022 IIHF World Championships with high expectations. He delivered all he could for Team Slovakia. They were defeated by Team Finland on Thursday by a final score of 4-2, so Slafkovsky is done.
He finishes the tournament with three goals and six assists for nine points in eight games. That is the second-most points in this tournament’s history by an under-18 player. Patrik Laine had seven goals and five assists for 12 points with ten games played during his draft year.
The New Jersey Devils have to consider Juraj Slafkovsky with the first pick.
Laine is a very good player in the NHL despite being very streaky. Slafkovsky hopes to come into the NHL and be that productive for whatever team he is playing on. The New Jersey Devils have to consider taking him at 2 (also where Laine was drafted).
The Devils have a Slovakian player that could help Slafkovsky out if he were the pick and that is Tomas Tatar. He also played with him in this tournament and collected three goals and three assists for six points in those eight games for Team Slovakia. It would just be a perfect pick.
The debate over who New Jersey should take is going to get spice over the next few weeks but Slafkovsky is the clear-cut favorite at this point. Playing that the way that he has in these tournaments (Winter Olympic Games, IIHF World Championships) certainly improves his stock.
He also fits what New Jersey needs in terms of his position. He plays on the wing which is perfect for the Devils. He’d be able to play alongside one of Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier which is a great place to start in the NHL. We can only hope that if the Devils do select him, he is able to make an impact for a long time. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it feels like a safe bet.