Devils’ Potential 4th-Round Draft Targets

The New Jersey Devils currently own one fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The pick is locked in at 96th overall and will be the Devils seventh selection through the first four rounds.

Assuming general manager Ray Shero hangs onto the pick, here’s a look at some potential fourth-round targets for the club:

Fourth Round, 96th Overall

Domenick Fensore – D, USA NTDP (USHL)

Domenick Fensore is flat-out one of the best skaters in the draft, which is why, despite being 5-foot-7, the 17-year old has a shot to make the NHL. The Thornwood, NY native recently wrapped up his second season in the U.S. National Team Development Program, where he totaled 42 points (six goals, 36 assists) in 55 games.

He always seems to make a good first pass and has great hockey sense in all three zones. The Boston University commit thrives in transition with the puck on his stick and might just be the best offensive defenseman at the U18 level for the USA NTDP. If he’s still on the board in the fourth round, the Devils should jump all over him. If he can put on 15 to 20 pounds without losing mobility he has the potential to be elite at the pro-level.

Here’s a look at some of his dynamic skating and scoring ability:

Zachary Jones – D, Tri-City Storm

Similar to Fensore, Zachary Jones is a natural hockey talent who is a bit undersized. He was the first defenseman drafted in phase one of the 2018 USHL Draft and rewarded the Storm for their faith in him by registering eight goals, 37 assists, and a plus-38 rating in 54 games. Following his sensational first season, the 18-year old out of Glen Allen, VA was named the 2019 USHL Rookie of the Year. The speedy defenseman has tremendous poise with the puck and makes a good decision in all areas of the ice.

Pyotr Kochetkov – G, Ryazan HC (VHL)

Pyotr Kochetkov is currently ranked No. 1 on Central Scouting’s list of international goaltenders. The 19-year old netminder finished the year with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in 18 games in the VHL (the second-highest level of Russian hockey). Recently, he posted a 1.45 GAA and a .953 save percentage in five games to help Russia win bronze at the U20 World Junior Championships. The Penza native always seems calm, cool and confident in between the pipes and really does well to take away the bottom of the net. If he can reach his ceiling, Kochetkov projects to be a starting goaltender in the NHL.

Fast forward to the 3:23 mark to take a look at his ridiculous athleticism:

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John Malone – RW/C – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

John Malone is a big winger with a lot of talent. He had a breakthrough season in 2018-19 with Youngstown, finding the back of the net 19 times while adding 40 assists in 57 games. Prior to the USHL, Malone played youth hockey and high school hockey in New Jersey, helping Delbarton to a New Jersey State Championship in 2016. The Madison, NJ native is committed to Cornell University. In addition to his extremely accurate shooting, his strengths include wearing down opponents and playing in high traffic areas. His biggest area of improvement is foot speed. If he can get a step quicker he has a shot to play in a middle-six role at the professional level.

2019 NHL Draft Guide

Historically the Devils don’t do well with fourth-round picks, but they’ve had some success in recent years with players like Miles Wood (100th overall in 2013) and Reid Boucher (99th overall in 2011). Hopefully, they can find a good enough prospect that can develop into a key member of their future core. You can follow all the action from the 2019 NHL Draft when it gets underway on Friday, June 21 in Vancouver, BC.