In addition to their three second-round picks, the New Jersey Devils currently hold two picks in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft. While they do not have their own third-round pick after trading it away in 2018 to the Edmonton Oilers for Patrick Maroon, general manager Ray Shero has been able to hang on to the 70th overall pick via the Adam Henrique trade in 2017 with the Anaheim Ducks and the 80th overall pick that was packaged in with Connor Carrick from the Dallas Stars.
Assuming Shero doesn’t trade any of his 2019 third-round picks, here’s a look at who the Devils might target with each one.
Third Round, 70th Overall (via Anaheim)
Rhett Pitlick – LW, Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Rhett Pitlick is an interesting prospect given his hockey resume to date, but the University of Minnesota commit is certainly putting himself on the radar. The 18-year old left winger dominated the Minnesota State High School Hockey League last season, putting up 61 points (28 G, 33A) in 25 games played for Chaska High School. He joined the Omaha Lancers in the USHL after his high school season and didn’t miss a beat – scoring in his first game and going on to register five points in seven games played. He has
Robert Mastrosimone – LW/RW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Robert Mastrosimone made the leap to the USHL two years ago at the age of 17 and got off to a hot start, registering 45 points in 60 games and being named to the USHL All-Rookie First Team. This year, in his second season, the East Islip, NY native continued to find the scoresheet, registering 31 goals and 29 assists in 54 games played.
His excellent vision and relentless playing style has earned him a commitment to Boston University, and he should get drafted late in the second round, but if he slips into the third round, the Devils should be all over him.
Martin Hugo Haš – D, Tappara U20 (Finland)
Martin Hugo Haš has spent the last two seasons in Finland playing for the Tappara U20 team in the Jr. A SM-liiga, which is the top junior league in Finland. Haš has also been a mainstay with the Czech national team at the junior level and has consistently remained one of their top defensemen. He’s a two-way defenseman with plus size at 6-foot-4 and projects to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL if he can reach his ceiling.
Third Round, 80th Overall (via Dallas)
Marshall Warren – D, USA NTDP (USHL)
Marshall Warren is a skilled offensive defenseman committed to Boston College. He spent the past two seasons with the United States National Development Program, where he notched 31 points in 60 USHL games. At 5-foot-11, Warren is a solid skater who likes to rush the puck when he has an open lane. While Cam York is looked at as the premier defenseman coming out of the program, I wouldn’t sleep on Warren. He is a prospect with a high ceiling and can be a great defenseman in the NHL one day if everything pans out.
Here’s a look at Warren leading the rush and eventually scoring a nice goal against college hockey players at the beginning of this season:
Blake Murray – C/LW, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Blake Murray burst onto the scene last season, leading the Sudbury Wolves in goals (21) and points (44). The 6-foot-3 center is a powerful skater who excels at using his speed to drive around defenders with authority. He shoots the puck often and makes good decisions with and without the puck. He certainly has the skillset to develop into a difference maker at the next level.
Jake Lee – D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Jake Lee was originally drafted in the first round of the 2016 WHL Draft and played in 64 games as a rookie in 2017-18. Last season he played in 67 games and finished with 24 total points and second in assists (21) for Thunderbirds defensemen. The 17-year-old Sherwood Park, AB native isn’t flashy, but he’s consistent. His gap control, stick work, and great skating ability catapulted him to the top of the WHL prospects list. He has the size and skill level that can translate to him being a solid defensive defenseman in the NHL, but he needs some time to develop.
All in all, the third round hasn’t been impressive for the Devils historically. Outside of Brian Gionta (3rd round, 82nd overall in 1998) and Adam Henrique (3rd round, 82nd overall in 2008), the Devils have missed on a lot of their third-rounders.
The good news is Shero has been known to find a diamond in the rough from time-to-time in the third round. Some of his third-round picks include players like Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, and Bryan Rust, all of whom are considered big parts of the Penguins’ future core. Let’s hope he can bring some key prospects to New Jersey with his two third-round draft picks in June.