Three players stand out as New Jersey Devils prime targets in NHL Draft

The New Jersey Devils scouts are deep in their player evaluations for the NHL Draft. If these three players fall to the at number 10 in the first round, it will be a very intriguing decision.
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Top Prospects Media Availability
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Top Prospects Media Availability / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
1 of 2

The Stanley Cup is not yet handed out, but most of the league has been off for some time now, and the NHL Draft is approaching very quickly. The New JerseyDevils so far have been smart despite all the holes in the roster and have held on to the #10 pick which is a big deal. This draft might not have a McDavid but after the first few picks it is wide open and this could been one of the more odd drafts in my opinion.

Which NHL Draft pick has no chance to make it to the New Jersey Devils?

Macklin Celebrini will go #first. We all know why.

Ivan Demidov should go #2. The only thing that could change this is the "Russian factor." Last year, most thought Matvei Michkov was the second-best behind Connor Bedard by a mile, and he dropped a lot for that reason. That being said he is way to good to fall to #10 so he is off the board.

Artyom Levshunov is already 6'2 and over 200 pounds with a points-per-game average of .92 in the NCAA, better than Owen Power, Zach Werenski, Quinn Hughes, etc. There is no chance that he will slip to 10th overall with that skill set, and he will be going in the two-to-five range.

Cayden Lindstrom's draft season was only 32 games, but with 27 goals and 46 points in the WHL after missing half the year with an injured back, he showed a lot in that time. He is way too big at 6'4, too skilled, and teams need strength down the middle, so he will not fall to 10th.

Zeev Buium played 42 games with 11 goals and 50 points, which gives him 1.19 ppg as a draft-eligible NCAA defender, beating out Levshunov and the players listed above. He can skate, has a high-end hockey IQ, and is small-ish for an NHL defender at 6 feet, but that won't drop him down enough. If he was two inches taller, he would probably be a lock for the top five.

Zayne Parekh is another defenseman with so much high-end offensive upside (66 games, 33 goals, 96 points) and top points per game as a draft-eligible defender in his league in the last 20+ years, as well as beating out DeAngelo, Bouchard, Drysdale, and Ekblad. No shot a defender who was nearing 100 points drops to 10th.

Tij Iginla played 64 games with 47 goals and 84 points in the WHL this past season. He has that competitive factor that will make him an NHL player for sure. Even his floor is a middle six in my mind; no shot he gets past his dad's old team in the Calgary Flames to fall to Jersey either, so he is off the list.