New Jersey Devils make perfect choice at NHL Draft selecting Anton Silayev

The New Jersey Devils selected Anton Silayev with their 10th overall pick during Friday night's NHL Draft. His play style is intriguing and fits within the Devils' timeline.
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round
2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft - First Round / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Friday night, the New Jersey Devils selected Anton Silayev with the 10th overall pick. Silayev was ranked number one among international skaters heading into the draft. He stands 6 foot 7 and flashed his potential this past season in the KHL. This past season, Silayev had the most points (11) by a U18 player in KHL history, surpassing Vladamir Tarasenko's previous record of 10 points (2008-09). Considering that he's a defenseman, Silayev certainly has a lot of potential.

"Silayev is a giant defenseman with the skating ability to cover any area of the ice in the blink of an eye. His form is perfect, whether you look at his posture, the flexibility through his ankles, knees, and hips, or the overall output. With that explosive skating stride comes a vast defensive range and a willingness to activate into the play"

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Shortly after being drafted, Silayev had his first-ever Devils media availability. Pucks & Pitchforks was on-site for the event in Vegas. Silayev admitted that he grew up idolizing Victor Hedman, "[I play] two-way. I like Victor Hedman, hockey science, good shots, good skate, and [I am] physical." Ironically, due to his playing style, Silayev has been compared to Hedman. During his career with the Tampa Lightning, Hedman has won two Stanley Cups, the Norris Trophy, and Conn Smythe Trophy. That's a good player to model your game after.

Since he still has two years remaining on his KHL contract, it's going to be a while before we see him suit up in an NHL game. However, given how young New Jersey's current blue line is, that works to their benefit. That allows Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, and Santeri Hatakka to gain more NHL experience and polish their respective games.

Once Silayev is ready for the NHL, the Devils' other young defensemen will all have more experience under their belts. Thus, this gives Silayev a fair chance to develop and adjust to North American-style hockey correctly. When asked about the other highly touted defensemen on the Devils roster, Silayev didn't seem phased, "Everything comes through with hard work." The Devils have certainly landed themselves a gem.