From 01-07, our scouting as absolutely abysmal. Aside from Henrique, Parise, Zajac and Fayne, there was absolutely no talent in that 7 year period. I think it is fair to say that the last five years, they've been much better drafting
Edit: if it wasn't for picking up key UDFA like Greene and Clarkson, it would've looked a lot worse
Where I give credit to scouting staffs is when players look like NHLers all the way up until they actually don't, especially with later-round picks. So yeah, Hoeffel is a miss - year 2 of his NCAA career and he didn't look like he'd be anything worthwhile. Still, people like Palmieri and Halischuk have or had NHL careers - they're not bad picks. Obviously that doesn't win you NHL hockey games to say 'Oh, well Nick Palmieri was a half-decent player until his career fell apart and this year he was 5th in scoring on his German league team', but they identified players with NHL-level talent, which isn't easy to do.
Maybe what we can take from this is that our scouts are much better with North American prospects than they are with Europeans. It's to the point where I'd rather they just draft North Americans. It can't all just be bad luck with the Europeans we've drafted recently.
The Devils really haven't drafted that many European players overall. Sticking to North America is a good way to fall behind other organizations who aren't categorically rejecting 25% of the player pool for no good reason. And again, under the system I outlined above, someone like Urbom is a success. He skates like an NHLer, he's got an NHLer's body, he just can't play NHL-level defense. They identified a good player and a lot of stuff happened since he was drafted and he didn't make it all the way there. I'd say the same thing about Josefson - who knows what he is without all the injury setbacks? But if you can draft 5 Urboms in the 3rd and 4th round over the course of 5 years and one guy turns out to be Henrik Tallinder and the other 4 wash out in different ways, I think as an organization you'd take that.