NHL Draft War Room: New Jersey Devils

Nikita Zadorov
Nikita Zadorov: Will the London Knights towering blueliner be drafted by the draft hosts, theNew Jersey Devils? (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

by Eldon MacDonald

Potential New Jersey Devils Picks

The purpose of this article is to give readers a feel for what the New Jersey Devils might be looking for in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey and to provide some idea as to who may be available and picked with each draft selection. Even if you don’t agree with all of my suggestions, this article should be able to provide you with most of the information needed to make your own selections. To give the reader a fairly wide range of information, we have provided the following:

  • Major Needs
  • Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks
  • The Major Team Decision Makers
  • The Big Club – Current Roster
  • Top 10 Prospects
  • The Last Three Drafts

The reader should be aware that the suggested picks may or may not be available at the team’s turn at the draft. They are indicative, however, indicative of the types of players that will be available and the types of choices that Lou Lamoriello will have to make come June 30th in New Jersey.

Other Posts in This Series (War Room Final Rankings – Top 120)

  • Round 1 – Prospects ranked 1 to 30
  • Round 2 – Prospects ranked 31 to 60
  • Round 3 – Prospects ranked 61 to 90
  • Round 4 – Prospects ranked 91 to 120

You can use these posts to get more information on a player ranked 1 to 120 including the following on most prospects:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Quotes
  • Twitter
  • Stats

Major Needs

1 – Number one goalie –Yes, Martin Brodeur is likely to return next season but his run is coming to an end in the not so distant future; at least one would think so. Time to find the next Martin Brodeur. Is his name, Zach Fucale, Eric Comrie, Tristan Jarry, Spencer Martin or someone else entirely?

2 – Number one centre  –You want to win a Stanley Cup, the winners usually have one. They are a rare commodity so if one happens to be available, you jump on it.

3 – Lots of defensemen – After Adam Larsson, the list of quality defensemen gets short and the players on it start to age. There are a few quality prospects such as Jon Merrill in the system but most are unlikely to be impact players. Besides, you can never have too many good defensemen.

4 – Best player available (BPA) – Best player available is always a good strategy. However, when there are many players of similar value, it is usually the one who has the qualities your team values the most that comes out on top.

Likely Draft Positions and Potential Picks

Round 1; pick 9 (The numbers in brackets are my rankings)

  • Preference 1 – Valeri Nichushkin (#5)
  • Preference 2 – Sean Monahan (#7)
  • Preference 3 – Nikita Zadorov (#9)
  • Preference 4 – Max Domi  (#11)
  • Preference 5 – Zachary Fucale (#35)

Potentially available at 7 ending at 15 are: Sean Monahan, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Darnell Nurse, Max Domi, Bo Horvat, Alexander Wennberg, Frederik Gauthier and Hunter Shinkaruk. The number one ranked goalie, Zachary Fucale is likely to be available and the 6’4 Russian, Valeri Nichushkin, could drop from the number five ranking.

For me, if Valeri Nichushkin were to be available, it would be awfully enticing not to draft him to pair with Ilya Kovalchuk. While Sean Monahan does not fit the definition of a number one centre, he certainly fits the bill of a number two centre which is almost as scarce. Then, there is always the giant defenseman or the goalie. Lots of good choices, lots of tough decisions – however, what the choice, whatever the decision, a good player is likely to become a New Jersey Devil from that draft selection.

Being the hosts, the Devils may want to make a splash and trade up a couple of spots and pick someone they covet, like a Valeri Nichushkin.

Round 2: Pick 39 – Historical success rate = 33%

  • Preference 1 – Zachary Fucale (#35)
  • Preference 2 – Eric Comrie (#45)
  • Preference 3 – Tristan Jarry (#48)
  • Preference 3 –Ian McCoshen (#36)
  • Preference 5 – Dillon Heatherington (#43)

Potential picks in the 35 to 45 range are: Zachary Fucale, Ian McCoshen, Justin Bailey, JT Compher, William Carrier, ArtturiLehkonen, Michael McCarron, Jimmy Lodge, Dillon Heatherington, Anthony Duclair and Eric Comrie. The third ranked goalie is Tristan Jarry at 48 and Spencer Martin is the next goalie at 59.

If Lou doesn’t take a goalie in round one, he is very likely to take one in round two. Also, there are a couple of defensemen with first round talent (45 first round talents just don’t fit into round one no matter how much you squeeze) who might be still available in Ian McCoshen and Dillon Heatherington, to name a couple.

Round 4: Pick 100 – Historical success rate = 19%

  • Preference 1 – Will Butcher (#100)
  • Preference 2 – Mason Geertsen (#102)
  • Preference 3 – Gage Ausmus (#104)

Potentially available starting at 96 and ending at 106 are: Niklas Hansson, Peter Trainor, Brendan Harms, Tyler Hill, Will Butcher, Mason Geertsen, Emile Djuse, Anthony Florentino, Gage Ausmus, Viktor Arvidsson and Greg Chase.

Three defensemen with decent potential are available in this group – which style do you prefer:

  • Will Butcher – Puck mover
  • Mason Geertsen – People mover with belligerence
  • Gage Ausmus – Steady stay at homer with reasonable size

Round 6: Pick 160 – Historical success rate = 9%

  • Me 97 – NHL 211 – Peter Trainor(3rd time available)
  • Me 109 – NHL unranked – Jesse Lees
  • Me 114 – NHL 230 – Miro Aaltonen(3rd time available)
  • Me 119 – NHL >290 – Markus Søberg
  • Me 124 – NHL 200 – Marcus Högberg
  • Me 125 – NHL 165 – Cole Cassels
  • Me 131 – NHL 175 – Steven Harper
  • Me 136 – NHL 216 – Evan Allen
  • Me 137 – NHL 289 – JooseAntonen
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Albert Yarullin (3rd time available)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Mitchell Theoret (re-entry prospect)
  • Me unranked – NHL unranked – Brenden Kichton(re-entry prospect)

It is virtually impossible to tell who might be available from 160 on  so what I did was list those personnel who I have ranked in the 3rd and 4th rounds and the 5th round up to 145 which the NHL has ranked 160 or greater that still have a decent chance of still being available. As this is as good time as any to make sure you take the best player available, I have listed the prospects in ranking order. I have also added Albert Yarullin who has a big shot on the power play, Mitchell Theoret (6’2, 212) who looked very good for Barrie in the OHL playoffs and Brenden Kichton, a power-play quarterback with Spokane.

The Major Team Decision Makers

1 –CEO, President and General Manager:Lou Lamoriello

2– VP of Hockey Operations: Steve Pellegrini

3 – Executive VP of Hockey Operations, Director, Scouting: David Conte

4 – Coach: Peter DeBoer

The Big Club – Current Roster


Left Wing


Right Wing


Ilya Kovalchuk

Travis Zajac

Dainius Zubrus


Patrick Elias

Andrei Loktionov

David Clarkson


Steve Sullivan

Adam Henrique

Matt D’Agostini


Ryan Carter

Jacob Josefson

Steve Bernier


Krys Barch

 Stephen Gionta

Tom Kostopoulos


Alexei Ponikarosky

Mike Sislo






Reid Boucher


Stefan Matteau






Blake Pietila








Bryce Salvador

Adam Larsson

Martin Brodeur


Anton Volchenkov

Andy Greene

Johan Hedberg





Mark Fayne/Alexander Urbom

Peter Harrold






Jon Merrill

Damon Severson

Keith Kincaid


Éric Gélinas

Matthew Corrente


Brandon Burlon

Top 10 Prospects

Stefan Matteau
Stefan Matteau (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

1 – 2011 – 099 – Reid Boucher

2 –2012 – 038 – Jon Merrill

3 – 2012 – 029 – Stefan Matteau

4 – 2011 – 060 – Damon Severson

5– 1989 – FA – Keith Kinkaid

6 – 2009 – 054 – Éric Gélinas

7 – 2008 – 024 – Mattias Tedenby

8 – 2008 – 052 – Brandon Burlon

9– 2011– 129 – Blake Pietila

10 – 2006 – 030 – Matthew Corrente


The Last Three Drafts






029 Stefan Matteau 004 Adam Larsson 038 Jon Merrill


060 Damon Severson 075 Blake Coleman 084 Scott Wedgewood


090 Ben Johnson 099 Reid Boucher 114 Joe Faust


096 Ben Thompson 129 Blake Pietila 174 Maxime Clermont


135 Graham Black 159 Reece Scarlett 204 Mauro Jorg


150 Alexander Kerfoot 189 Patrick Daly


180 ArturGravus



5 thoughts on “NHL Draft War Room: New Jersey Devils”

  1. Terrific column, Chris. I have the Devils taking the #1 center potential (as you correctly said they need) of Max Domi, although Horvat and Zadorov are prototypical Devils. If Nichushkin (somehow) falls to #9, there is no doubt the Devils would snatch him up.

    The only way I see the Devils taking a goalie in the top two rounds is if Fucale somehow falls below Calgary at #22 — Lamoriello would certainly trade up to get the one surefire starting netminder in this draft. However, Scott Wedgewood remains a superior prospect to Comrie or Jarry in my mind — would Lamoriello really pass on a player like Klimchuk or McCarron or Nastasiuk or Santini to reach for a goalie at #39?

  2. Thanks Ben – Henrique updated (as well as Mark Fayne). Other comments took into consideration as well and appreciate all of your insight. The focus by the author (E-Mac) was meant to be on potential picks with some visuals on the rest of the roster. There was a slight brain freeze on some components and we apologize for that.

  3. I agree with some of this, but some of it I take umbrage with. Firstly, your assessment of our major needs. Yes, a future #1 goaltender is something that needs to be addressed. However, it’s not going to happen with the #9 pick and there’s other options for getting one either through a trade or a UFA signing. We also have Scott Wedgewood and Keith Kincaid in the system who need more time at the big club to assess them further, however, there are not a lot of our fans that are completely sold on either of them, and I can be counted in the boat.

    The biggest part of this needs list that gives me pause is your assessment of our defensive prospects. That is largely considered the Devils’ strength in respect to the farm, and Gelinas and Damon Severson can not be discounted. You also neglected to mention Mark Fayne AT ALL who is still young and is improving his game, playing lots of minutes in Newark, and the team is clearly high on. He very much reminds me of a 2nd Andy Greene, who I believe could play on virtually any team in the league, and who is also still relatively young. Alexander Urbom is also another guy who has a clear upside and hopefully will get a real shot this coming season. I have absolute hope in Jon Merrill and he and Boucher are our current prospects who I am most excited about.

    The main thing the Devils lack is a true second scoring threat. Whether it comes from a winger or a center, the loss of Parise has stung this club more so than anyone since we lost Scott Niedermayer. This is by far the Devils biggest need, as Patrik Elias, while still a big contributor is not getting any younger and is hopefully Lou’s first priority this offseason.

    I completely agree with you on your rankings of our potential selections. If the Devils can walk away from the draft with Valeri Nichushkin and Zach Fucale in the first two rounds, I would be inclined to say that the draft was a smashing success for the club. I could see Nichushkin making the team outright come October and with his speed and power could turn heads and have a Tarasenko-esque impact immediately.

    I appreciate your attempt and do agree with some of what you presented here, but I think your omissions and general overview is lacking.

    • You also failed to include Adam Henrique in your analysis of this current team. This is a very near-sighted and incomplete article omitting two very important young players in this franchise.

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