Two Ideal Forwards Make Trading 10th Overall Hard Proposition For New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils landed on 10th overall in the NHL Draft Lottery. While they didn't win, two players who could be available there might make it hard to move the pick.
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Now that everyone is officially tuning into the offseason after Tuesday night's NHL Draft Lottery kept every team in their proper slots. Our New Jersey Devils are in the 10th overall position. For those who don't know, the NHL Draft holds the combine in Buffalo, New York. This is where all the potential NHL Draft Prospects get to meet with NHL Execs like Tom Fitzgerald, Kate Madigan, Dan MacKinnon, and other head scouts. They get to weed out certain players they feel fit their draft boards better, as well as the Devils' reputation.

The New Jersey Devils are currently stockpiled with Defenders from Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, John Marino, Dougie Hamilton, Jonas Siegenthaler, Santeri Hatakka, Kurtis MacDermid, and Kevin Bah, now add Seamus Casey to that list of defenders. This here creates a good problem for the New Jersey Devils to aim more towards getting a center and wingers.

Selecting Tij Iginla

Tij Iginla is a 6'0, 185 lb center who has proven to be an absolute beast. He can hit the net while also hitting his opponent with a Sasquatch style of play. He is one of the most complete centers, if not forwards not named Macklin Celebrini, in the draft.

Iginla netted six goals in seven games and 12 points at the U18 World Championships. That is a 1.71 points per game clip and goals per game of 0.857. The kid is the main reason the USNTDP U18 team fell short of back-to-back gold medals in Finland's U18 Men's Tournament. He is very elusive as a skater evading defenders and can deke his way around, and his job in the faceoff circle is key to adding that stability at his position. He knows what winning is all about, and his father, Jarome Iginla, too, was a leader and a Hockey Hall of Famer, so he is very fortunate to have had so many great teachers from his growth to potentially reaching his ceiling.

Selecting Cole Eiserman

Cole Eiserman was mentioned on ESPN to go around 12th overall if this is the case this would be a Top 5 prospect falling into the Devils' lap. GM Tom Fitzgerald has selected Luke Hughes out of the USNTDP U-18 team program, and he was on the staff when the Devils took Jack Hughes in 2019. He knows the USNTDP very well.

Eiserman is an elite-level shooter and would add a scorer's touch on the Devils' left wing in a top-six role, but he likely gets eased in on the third line at his start. The way he gets open in the offensive zone allows him to set up for the one-timer or snap a rebound home. He has the best all-time goals record the USNDTDP U18 team has produced, ahead of Cole Caufield with 127 goals. Cole Eiserman is second behind New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes' 228 points while at 193 points. Adding a guy who gets shots off so fast and accurately is hard to come by. His release is Auston Matthews style, and that is something that would truly benefit Devils playmakers where there will be more high-quality shots on the net.

There is a lot to like about these two fine prospects who have very bright futures ahead but we wouldn't be surprised to see Eiserman foregoing his commitment to Boston University and play at the NHL level where he is built frame-wise and would benefit from being around the likes of a Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Erik Haula. With Tij Iginla, seeing him potentially in camp, he will likely get a chance to prove himself against NHL players. To be fair, it is gonna be extremely hard to not only the 10th overall pick but also the fear of missing out on a great player and ending up with another bad trade similar to Lou Lamoriello made for Cory Schneider in 2013.

What about a trade?

Yes, New Jersey is getting to the win-now phase, but the risk-to-reward ratio has to be properly evaluated before letting up on a high pick. It's a completely different story if the pick was 16-to-32 range. It is a lot easier to move it, but it's harder to move a boulder, and hoping Sasquatch can take over the heavy lifting and improve your situation in that fiasco.

Word back in 2022 that the New Jersey Devils were kicking the tires of certain forwards like Kevin Fiala, but many trades called for them to move the second-overall pick. We have to admit it's much better now to have Simon Nemec on the roster. Despite the noise that Brady Tkachuk could be had, sources are saying that's not the case, but the Ottawa Senators are open to shipping off Jakob Chychrun is available. Again, that shows why a trade with a top-ten pick is so hard and happens almost never. Finding the value for a top-ten pick is hard, and teams usually target that pick for less-than-stellar choices.