Drafting Competitive Players
The New Jersey Devils not only are looking for the “best available” players in the draft, but they are looking for players that have the most competitive edge and spirit. We saw these types of picks last year in Alexander Holtz who competes to improve his team on offense as a finisher, Dawson Mercer who is a 200 foot forward who has Selke Trophy potential. Then you have Shakir Mukhamadullin who competed very well in the Russian feeder system and began performing well above his peers at the KHL level from a two-way defenseman with a physical edge that can shoot a heavy slap shot from low danger.
In the video above the Devils scouts often hinted with adjectives of players descriptions, and some players that popped up on my radar sounded like they were in on Luke Hughes, Dylan Guenther, Oskar Olausson, Simon Edvinsson, Brandt Clarke, and William Eklund. These are all players who have a high potential of not only making but succeeding at the NHL level. As mentioned in the past the guys that stand out the most are Hughes, Clarke, and Eklund not only due to their style of hockey but have ties to players within the Devils organization.
As Meghan Duggan joined the Devils scouts meeting she brought up a very good bit of constructive criticism from a former NWHL, and US Olympic Hockey perspective was “What is this kid’s compete level overall?” That is something I will be reiterating a lot going forward. She is playing a big role in New Jersey Devils prospects development from the ECHL, and AHL currently but could be doing more than that with Dr. Aimee Kimball no longer part of the organization. There will be a lot of evaluations and assesments done under Duggan’s watch that will help the Devils scouts filter a very tailor-made draft board.
I don’t expect every fan or critic to applaud every pick the Devils’ brass make but the criteria being done in a build for a “winning culture” and fielding a “competitive” player to assemble a pipeline for the New Jersey Devils to not only grow the team but help them become prosperous again. There likely will be some players being moved as the Seattle Kraken expansion draft inches closer. More players will be drafted, and others moved to allow the current nucleus to build from external additions after the Stanley Cup Finals ends. Honestly, I like the certainty of the Devils assets they have and they can turn this offseason into a very productive one building off the youth movement they have currently.
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