The New Jersey Devils currently own one pick in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Draft. The pick is locked in at 127th overall and will be the team’s eighth selection through the first five rounds.
Devils general manager Ray Shero has been known to find a few gems in the later rounds of the draft. Some of his notable fifth-round selections include left winger Kenny Agostino (140th overall in 2010), Chad Johnson (125th overall in 2009) and Jake Muzzin (141st overall in 2010).
Assuming the Devils hang on to their pick, here are a few potential fifth-round draft targets:
Fifth Round, 127th Overall
Dustin Wolf – G, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
The 18-year-old netminder out of Tustin, California took over as the every-day goalie in Everett in 2017 when Flyers top prospect Carter Hart signed his entry-level deal and jumped to the AHL. Dustin Wolf made 61 starts last season for the Silvertips and posted an impressive 41-15-2 record.
He is a prospect on the rise, and his numbers from last season foreshadow future success. Wolf led the WHL in goals-against average (1.69) and finished second in both save percentage (.936) and shutouts (7). If he’s still available in the fifth round, the Devils should take a shot on him. He has the tools to be an NHL caliber goalie if he reaches his ceiling.
Michael Gildon – LW, USA NTDP (USHL)
Michael Gildon is a solid left winger with quick hands and the ability to make high percentage plays in small areas. He has decent speed and creates scoring chances as he moves up and down the wing.
The 17-year-old out of Plano, Texas totaled 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) in 61 games for United States National Development Program last season. He finished with over a point per game against USHL competition, finding the score sheet 29 times in 26 games. He’s committed to Ohio State University for the 2019-20 season and would be a good depth prospect for the Devils.
Massimo Rizzo – LW, Penticton Vees (BCHL)
Massimo Rizzo joined the long-list of Penticton Vees players to commit to the University of North Dakota and will begin his collegiate career in the 2020-21 season. The 17-year-old, left winger out of Burnaby, British Columbia wrapped up last season with 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 37 games as the Vees’ captain.
Rizzo is a skilled winger who uses his agility and above-average puck handling abilities to torment opposing players. He’s a bit undersized but makes up for it with his skating and ability to control the puck at full speed.
Ethan Phillips – C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Ethan Phillips is an interesting prospect. At just 5-foot-9, he tends to get pushed around a bit but his hockey IQ on the offensive side is well above average. He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time and has a knack for finding the score sheet. The Boston University commit recorded 43 points in 50 games last season for Sioux Falls and was named MVP at the 2019 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, scoring a goal and an assist for Team West.
Here’s a look at Phillips and his hockey IQ in the offensive zone:
Hopefully Ray Shero and his scouting department can identify some late round prospects who can be valuable contributors to the big league club at some point down the line. With eight picks through the first 127 selections, the Devils have a great opportunity to add some much-needed talent to their pipeline.
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