Could Adam Larsson be the next Scott Niedermayer?
Finally something went right for the New Jersey Devils this year. The Devils won the NHL draft lottery and moved up from eighth to fourth overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft to be held at the Xcel Center in Minnesota.
Thanks to a season in which New Jersey missed the playoffs with a sub .500 record of 38-39-5 for 81 points they finished 23rd in the NHL. Despite a 3.6% chance of winning, the Devils lucked out. A positive sign that perhaps some good fortune is now shining upon New Jersey.
A team that wins the draft can move up a maximum of four spots in the order. The Devils now have the opportunity to draft in the top 5 spots for the first time in 20 seasons. In 1990-91, New Jersey drafted a young defenseman named Scott Niedermayer third overall. That pick worked out pretty well for the Devils as Niedermayer became an integral part of the teams three Stanley Cup winners.
It seems pretty obvious that New Jersey will not be forfeiting this pick as part of the debacle with the first Ilya Kovalchuk contract. The Devils have to give up one of their next four first-round picks as a penalty for trying to circumvent the salary cap.
Undoubtedly, GM Lou Lamoriello didn’t want to be in this position but he would have to consider this a small victory and a definite step in the right direction. Now it’s up to the team scouts to make the most of this opportunity. In 1996, New Jersey used the 10th pick to select a dud in Lance Ward. He never played a game for the Devils then re-entered the draft in 1998 and was selected 63rd by the Florida Panthers. This pick is too important to be wasted on another Lance Ward.
BTW, in case your wondering The Edmonton Oilers with a league worst 62 points will have the first pick overall for the second year in a row.
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Devils Catch a Break, Win Draft Lottery
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