The New Jersey Devils are without a first-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft after the trade for Timo Meier. That means, barring any further movement, Tom Fitzgerald will have to wait for 57 picks before they can select their first prospect. Last year, the Devils literally had to wait for one team to make a surprise pick before they took Simon Nemec.
It’s been 10 years since the Devils didn’t have a first-round pick. They traded that pick as it was on the clock for goalie Cory Schneider. The draft was in New Jersey that year, and it was a wild moment.
This year was much less dramatic. We knew before the deadline that the second round is where the Devils will pick first. There can be some great players who are taken at 58th overall. Nikita Kucherov was the best player ever taken 58th overall. Tyler Bertuzzi, Jordan Martinook, and Christian Dvorak are all active players who are or at least have been quite good after teams took them 58th overall.
Now, the Devils hope to hit on a player like those (hopefully Kucherov). Who might be their best bets? Let’s take a look at five options.
Alex Ciernik – LW/RW – Allsvenskan
The New Jersey Devils will likely look to build up their forward prospects after spending a few years beefing up the defense. This would be a very interesting player to target. He has a lot of what the Devils typically like in a prospect. He’s incredibly fast, and his skating can come off as silky smooth. However, he is missing a little size. At 5’10, he doesn’t help the claim the Devils play too small.
Still, his skating ability cannot be taught. He is one of the best skaters in this draft. There is some lineage there, with his father Ivan playing for the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals. Ciernik has “steal” written all over him. The Devils can build around his skating and upgrade all the other parts of his game.