The New Jersey Devils are done with the NHL Draft, finishing the two-day affair with five new players. It’s one of the smallest prospect additions in a long time. They last had five picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, famously the last time Lou Lamoriello was working for the team. The Devils came out of that draft with Pavel Zacha, Mackenzie Blackwood, Blake Spears, Colton White, and Brent Seney. Every one of those players made it to the NHL at some point.
The Devils would be happy if they repeated that fortune, although they probably wish they got more out of the picks overall than what 2015 produced. Unlike that season, the Devils were missing their first-round pick, which they gave to the San Jose Sharks for Timo Meier. The Sharks ended up taking Quentin Musty from the Sudbury Wolves with the pick, a fan favorite on draft night.
Meanwhile, the Devils first pick came in the second round. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we did predict their eventual choice as one of the possibilities.
This is a very interesting prospect that fell into the Devils lap. Yes, everyone was up in arms because the Devils did not pick Riley Heidt, who fell precipitously down draft boards. However, Lenni Hameenaho is a Finnish prospect who is either going to fit perfectly into what the Devils need or eventually grow into a really good player.
Right now, Hameenaho is a safe prospect to take. He does everything quite well, but he doesn’t really excel at anything. He tries hard on defense, he has a pretty good shot, his passing definitely exists, and he’s proven himself in a professional league. In Liiga, he had nine goals and recorded 21 points. That’s pretty good for a teenager.
Everyone expresses love for Hameenaho’s hockey IQ. He knows what he’s doing out on the ice. He lacks speed that allows him to do what he wants, unfortunately, and that’s probably why he fell to the 58th-overall pick. We shall see if that speed eventually catches up.