With Ray Shero steering Devils ship, we may finally get to see the inevitable rebuild come to fruition. It’s been a long time coming for Devil fans but this may be the year where the Devils move away from adding veterans like Mike Cammalleri and Tuomo Ruutu, and look the way of young skill in guys like Larsson and Boucher to guide the Devils through the next 10 years. One thing Shero has going for him is the fact that the D core is almost solidified with guys like Gelinas, Merrill, Larsson, and Severson making up the top four. Despite the fact they have a good up and coming defensive core, they are exceptionally weak on the front end. After reaching for guys like Matteau and Quenneville in recent drafts, they lack an elite offensive player under the age of 20. This year however, they will be able to change that. With guys like Barzal, Rantanen, and Zacha basically locks to be on the board, they have a wide range of skill sets to choose from. Rantanen is the biggest, has hands and shooting ability. Barzal, though only 5’11 has the potential to be a future number one center who can put up 50 or 60 assists. Zacha brings a grittier goal scoring side, and if there’s one thing we know it’s that LL loves guys with an edge. That being said, an interesting scenario may play out where we see Ivan Provorov slip to that spot. If so, it would be incredibly hard to pass on a guy like that. In the grand scheme of things, it may be better to grab a guy like Provorov, but right now there’s a desperate need for an elite prospect up front. Throughout the draft, the Devils need to look at adding depth at all positions, especially in net. Daniel Vladar may be sitting there in the third, and if he is that’s the guy you use pick 67 on. In my opinion, the Devils will have the most difficult pick in the draft, and it will be extremely interesting to see who Ray goes with come June 26th.
Draft Day Gameplan
– As much as I’d like to say take Rantanen or Barzal, you have to go BPA at 6.
– If the opportunity is there, move some cap. I know Green is more than “cap”, but moving him and adding a late 1st or a good prospect may be in their best interest.
– Move away from the power forwards, even if it’s just for this year. With two picks in the second round you have to look at adding high end skill.
– Take a low risk goalie. Whether it’s in the 3rd or 4th, grab the best goalie available.
Devils Big Board (Without McEichel)
1. Dylan Strome
2. Mitchell Marner
3. Noah Hanifin
4. Ivan Provorov
5. Mathew Barzal
6. Mikko Rantanen
7. Pavel Zacha
8. Kyle Connor
9. Travis Konecny
10. Zach Werenski
Who do they take?
Can I just say BPA? It’s tough to tell who will remain but I’ll say one of Barzal, Zacha, Rantanen, or Provorov are locks. If it were me I’d take Provorov, if he’s off the board I’d go with Barzal, though Rantanens close behind.
Kyle Connor. He has the size and skill to be a good NHL player, and though I’m not a huge fan, I’m sure the Devils brass has given him some consideration.