The 2023 NHL Draft is complete. For the first time in a long time, the New Jersey Devils didn’t have a first-round pick. For a while, the first round was where New Jersey needed to find its next star. There were even two first-overall picks in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, a second-overall pick in Simon Nemec, and a fourth-overall pick in Luke Hughes. Now, that is expected to be the foundation of a Stanley Cup contender.
They went into this draft with six selections, but one trade left them with just five. Tom Fitzgerald, the first captain in the history of the Nashville Predators, facilitated the final trade in the history of David Poile’s career, sending them the Devils seventh-round pick for a future pick. It was a very cool hockey moment for the long-time Nashville GM.
That left New Jersey with five selections, all in the second day. They didn’t have their first because they gave it to the San Jose Sharks in the Timo Meier trade, so things started for them on Thursday.
The New Jersey Devils are having a very successful offseason so far.
In the second round, they took Finnish forward Lenni Hameenaho. He is a winger that has a high hockey IQ and uses his smarts to make an impact. You’ll always find him doing the right thing at the right time.
In the later rounds, New Jersey took Cam Squires (F), Chase Ceslock (D), Cole Brown (F), and Daniil Kapovich (D). It is a nice little haul for Fitzgerald, who clearly is acting like a winning general manager.
Earlier in the week, Fitzgerald extended Timo Meier, which was one of the biggest offseason needs for this team. Meier will be a big part of what this team does for a long time. They also got Jesper Bratt and Erik Haula extended before that, so things are going very well.
He also landed a very good top-six forward. He sent Yegor Sharangovich and a draft pick to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Tyler Toffoli. Obviously, Toffoli is a great forward who will make an immediate impact via his play and leadership.
A lot of good is coming with this team. They seem to know what they are doing now and it is starting to translate to success on the ice. Following the 2023 NHL Draft, there is a lot to like about this team and where they are as a franchise.