Yeah thanks feisty for all of this. I admit I don't follow the junior leagues much... Can you give some insight jnto which guys have a legit shot at the nhl? I know severson looks promising but do guys like black Johnson and kujawinski have decent odds of being pros or are they more outside chances/ 4th liners as best?
Short answer, legit NHL potential in my opinion (no particular order): Johnson, Kujawinski, Black, Severson, Bell, Gedig, Coleman, Pietila, Kerfoot, Santini, Gavrus, and Wood. I expanded with some quick thoughts below. I kind of rambled a bit but I was trying to touch on all the guys and give out the best case scenarios.
Out of this year's prospect pool, the only players I've actually seen multiple times on tv are Severson, Bell, Faust, Gedig, Rodwell, Coleman, Pietila, and Santini. The other guys I really only know from what I've read about them and from the boxscores. By no means am I an expert but if I had to give my opinion I'd probably shake it out like this:
LW Ben Johnson - Speed is his best asset, best case scenario is NHL 3rd/4th liner who can be a solid PK'er. NHL prospect but has a lot of holes in his game especially offensively.
LW Ben Thomson - May not get an ELC but I can see him signing with Albany after this year. Probably only way he can make the NHL one day is as an enforcer. Not much of a NHL prospect though.
C Ryan Kujawinski - Tons of offensive talent but lacks consistency. Best case scenario is he puts it all together and makes the NHL as a top 6 player one day. Devils did well to take him in the 3rd round last year since he came into his draft year as a potential 1st rounder.
C Graham Black - Putting up a ton of points as an overager as he should but it's important to note that his battle with Graves' Disease is a big reason he is a late bloomer. Has a lot more skill/potential than the average overager. Speed is his best asset and his best case scenario seems to be NHL 2nd/3rd liner who can play on special teams. I look forward to him playing in Albany next year to better gauge his value.
D Damon Severson - I've seen him play a few times and think he may be the best D prospect in the system. Smooth skater, comfortable handling the puck, can contribute offensively, and seems to have improved his D game every year in the WHL. If not for the age requirement, I think he could do well in the AHL this year. Best case scenario is him being a top D for the Devils. Should contribute even if he doesn't reach that potential.
LW Myles Bell - Passed over in 2011 and 2012 in large part due to his tragic auto accident, has done well to transition from D to F with a heavy shot. Read a lot of reports that suggest his skating isn't all that great. Seems to be one of those guys who will need to rely on his heavy shot to carry him to the NHL. Legit NHL prospect but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being a minor league guy for most of his career. His shot could be valuable on the PP though.
G Anthony Broduer - Great story but a nepotism pick even in the 7th round. I don't think he's a NHL prospect but hey, goalies can be wildcards and he has the legendary bloodlines so maybe it all works out for him. His brother Jeremy (2015 draft eligible) looks like he may end up being a more legit prospect.
D Joe Faust - Not a NHL prospect in my opinion. His offensive game never developed after being drafted and from watching a few games of his in his first 3 seasons at Wisconsin, he was always on the 3rd pair and never saw special teams action for the most part. I can't see the Devils signing him to an ELC or Albany giving him a contract for 2014-15.
D Curtis Gedig - Overlooked by the quality D prospects the Devils have but I think he's a legit NHL prospect. Has size, loves to play physical, willing to block shots, and was named captain for Ohio State so he seems to be a good character guy. I've seen him play a few times on tv and he was used in all situations. Best case scenario would probably be a 2nd pair D but could still be valuable on the 3rd pair. Seems to do a lot of things well but nothing great.
RW Derek Rodwell - Like Faust, congrats to him on being able to play at the NCAA level - not many players get to that level, but not a NHL prospect. Started his senior year as a healthy scratch.
C Blake Coleman - One of my favorite prospects to watch. Drafted out of the USHL at age 19, originally from Texas. Almost get a football player vibe out of him when I've seen him play. Loves to play physical, never backs down, has mainly spent his career at Miami playing on the 3rd line but gets PP time. Haven't seen him yet this year but his production is way up. I'm intrigued by him and think a best case scenario is him playing a 3rd/4th line role.
LW Blake Pietila - Defensively sound winger with a scoring touch. Reads the play well, has won Gold for the US at the U17, U18, and U20 levels. Always competes hard and I think his best case scenario is 3rd line winger who is excellent on the PK.
C Alex Kerfoot - Has offensive talent and started his 19 year old freshman season at Harvard on the 1st line. Some scouts had concerns over his consistency and compete level. A wildcard prospect but certainly could have NHL upside. Going to be a bit of a project and will be interesting to see how he develops at Harvard.
D Steve Santini - I'm a big fan of Santini. Not much offensive upside but can keep the play alive in the offensive end and is really sound defensively. Plays physical and with confidence. Best case scenario is top pairing D. Even if he doesn't reach that potential, I think he will be a solid contributer for the Devils in a few years.
C Artur Gavrus - NHL prospect but a complete wildcard. Read he has a good shot and vision so he has offensive talent. May not be able to contribute defensively but could be nice on the PP. May not be suited for the North American game as he suffered 2 concussions in his rookie OHL year and is said to put himself in bad positions to get hit. Another guy the Devils were able to grab late in the draft even though his true talent is better than that. Just got over a minor knee injury in the KHL so health seems to be a concern with him still.
LW Miles Wood - Really don't know much about him. His father Randy had a long NHL career and Miles is set to attend Brown after another year at Noble & Greenough School (Mark Fayne's HS). Taken in the 4th round last year so the Devils definitely see something they like in him.