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Summary of and thoughts on Devils' 2017 Draft Picks


Triumph
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1:  #1 overall Nico Hischer, C, Switzerland, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

2: #36 overall Jesper Boqvist, C, Sweden, Timra IK (SHL)

3:  #63 overall Fabian Zetterlund, C/RW, Sweden, Farjstead BK (SHL)

4:  #81 overall Reilly Walsh, D, USA, Chicago Steel (USHL)

5:  #98 overall Nikita Popugayev, RW, Russia, Prince George Cougars (WHL)

6:  #129 overall Gilles Senn, G, Switzerland, Davos HC (Swiss Elite League)

7:  #143 overall Marian Studenic, LW, Slovakia, Hamliton Bulldogs (OHL)

8:  #160 overall Aarne Talvitie, C, Finland, Blues U-20 (SM-liiga-Jr)

9:  #191 overall, Jocktan Chainey, D, Canada, Halifax Moosehads (QMJHL)

10:  #205 overall, Yegor Zaitsev, D, Russia, Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

11:  #214 overall, Matthew Hellickson, D, US, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

I don't follow prospects a ton before they are drafted - apart from the very top of the draft, that's a needles versus haystacks situation, and most of the guys you follow will end up on other teams.  That said, judging by the numbers, not one of these picks is something where I say, what?   The Devils went heavy on forwards early and heavy on D late and that is how you do the NHL draft.  They took a goalie which I didn't love until I found out he was already 21 and playing in the top league in Switzerland - presumably that is a safer bet than taking an 18 year old.  But they didn't take anyone who is described as overly physical or someone where the numbers weren't there but the heart is there.  Heck, they took a guy in Popugayev who might be described as the opposite of that.

2017 is thought of as a weak draft and who knows, maybe it will turn out to be, but I'm very excited to see how these guys develop.

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Couldn't be happier today.  I can't wait to see where some of these guys are in a few years.

1 minute ago, sundstrom said:

Someone pointed out, this is the antithesis of Lou/Conte philosophy of old which is A-ok by me. 

Same here.

Eternally grateful for what they did for the Devils (usual disclaimer) but clearly we're moving in the correct direction.

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54 minutes ago, Devilsfan118 said:

Couldn't be happier today.  I can't wait to see where some of these guys are in a few years.

Same here.

Eternally grateful for what they did for the Devils (usual disclaimer) but clearly we're moving in the correct direction.

I was hoping for some earlier picks to be used on defense but I guess their BPA was a forward, probably by a considerable margin.  Seems like someone always snaps up a player I 'want' just before 'we' pick...  

Anyway, I totally agree with everything you said.  Exciting draft - a LOT of prospects added to the cupboard.  Seems like they took some projects with a lot of potential, fingers crossed! :evil:

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3 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Does anyone now really pick like Lou and Conte used to, including Lou and Conte?  I didn't notice one guy whose upside is being an NHL goon being drafted by anyone, and no elusive next Milan Lucic.     

i agree, you never waste a pick on a guy has tons of pims, to give you grit. Just like goalies typically don't get picked in earlier rounds. i don't think Lou GM's leafs like he died NJ. He listens to everyone else.  Devils are still keeping his seat warm.

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1 hour ago, sundstrom said:

I agree - the strategy and theory behind the picks all jibe with what equals success in today's NHL. 

Someone pointed out, this is the antithesis of Lou/Conte philosophy of old which is A-ok by me. 

Exactly, because "anyone who is described as overly physical or someone where the numbers weren't there but the heart is there" are the exact type of players Lou/Conte would go after. It's refreshing to see this new and opposite approach.  

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1 hour ago, slasher72 said:

I hope you're wrong. I don't want Lou as GM again. He'd revert back to the way he was because no one would check him the way they do in Toronto.

Yeah Lou is gone. Loved a lot of what he did but I think the franchise moved on permanently, which is for the best. 

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5 minutes ago, EdgeControl said:

I would make a horrible GM , because I would trade all my pick to move up into the 2nd round.I'm definitely quality over qty. 

Plenty of quality players come out of the late rounds though. The Red Wings won multiple Cups with those kinds of picks. 

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6 hours ago, slasher72 said:

I hope you're wrong. I don't want Lou as GM again. He'd revert back to the way he was because no one would check him the way they do in Toronto.

I meant as president, and figurehead only.  Leaving Shero the autonomy to do his job.  Not to have Lou pulling the strings any  more. 

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45 minutes ago, vadvlfan said:

I meant as president, and figurehead only.  Leaving Shero the autonomy to do his job.  Not to have Lou pulling the strings any  more. 

Not sure Lou would be ok with that though.  Not having the power to pull strings anymore is part of the reason he quit the organization.  Just imagine how crazy he'd be seeing players skate around with high numbers, facial hair, and long hair. And then there's the new uniform, lol.

Most likely, he'd try to enforce his old rules and demand to having some say in personnel decisions (draft, free agency). He wouldn't be able to come back here and be hands off, especially more so because he used to have full control of the place. 

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6 hours ago, Triumph said:

There were certainly low upside players taken - huge defensemen who don't score at any level, e.g.  The Leafs took one in the 4th or 5th round.

I thought our picks are all good gambles. So much rather have this than playing it safe with middle of the road guy. They leaned heavily on their Euro scouts for sure.  The Swiss goalie intrigues me. i'm also anxious to hear summaries from AG on rookie camp. anyone have an idea of the dates?

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First round picks aside, the selections of this draft may even be better than the last one! We've got some high upside players here with Boqvist, Popugayev, and Zetterlund. I really like all of those picks, particularly Boqvist and Popugayev. If you check out some of Boqvist's highlight videos, you'll see all sorts of speed, skill, and creativity. I'm not sure what to make of the D selections, since US players are hard for me to judge, but I am definitely intrigued by Zaitsev. Zaitsev seems like this year's Rykov, being an overager who has KHL experience. Also, Studenic is an interesting one, who I would like to know more about.

In a matter of only two years, Shero and Castron have done great work in restocking the forward pipeline with respectable players (2016 gave us Bastian, Gignac, Anderson, Bratt, and Maltsev). Now we just need to hope that some of these defensemen work out for us.

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1. Nico Hischier – Obviously love the kid, he's the one that I wanted between him or Nolan and I'm psyched he's here. Reminds me so much of Patty the way he thinks the game, we got a good one here.

2. Jesper Boqvist – Was pretty high on this kid all year, good skater and a real creative attacker, isn't afraid to challenge defenders with his stick handling and speed, drives possession well. Like this pick a lot.

3. Fabian Zetterlund – Haven't watched a lot of him but I like what he adds to the prospect pool. Shot first mentality, good skater, good puck protection skills and is willing to fight for the puck, in broad strokes, like the pick.

4. Reilly Walsh – Was mentioning to my brother 10 minutes before the pick that I have a good feeling about this kid, goal per game player this year in high school and produced well in the USHL as well, committed to a good program at Harvard so I could see this panning out well. We didn't have a pure offensive defenseman in the prospect pool before so I like this add a lot.

5. Nikita Popugaev – Consistency is the name of the game for this kid, just find that and we could have a tremendous player on our hands. Kid can rip the puck and I believe has a top 5 shot in this draft, some good hands and creativity, and he's 6'6", 200+ lbs already. Love the gamble on him at 98th, if he puts it together this has some really high reward to it.

6. Gilles Senn – Don't know much about him, but he has the frame at 6'5". Seems like he's had some good numbers playing against men in Switzerland, wonder how long it is before we see him in Binghamton.

7. Marian Studenic – This kid can flat out skate, he can make scoring chances purely with his speed and he makes defenseman nervous when he gets a step on them. Fits the Shero/Castron mold for drafting the past year or so - speed for days.

8. Aarne Talvitie – Another kid I honestly don't know much about, but projects as a good two-way center who has put up some good international numbers. Like that he's coming over to North America to play college for Penn State, we should be able to keep a close eye on his development.

9. Jocktan Chainey – Projects as a solid two-way defender, can pass the puck well and doesn't do any one thing great but doesn't necessarily do anything bad either.

10. Yegor Zaitsev – Played in the KHL as a 19 year old so I like that, projects as a solid stay at home defenseman with a good physical bite to him. If we found an Alexei Emelin type defenseman in the 7th round, I'll be ecstatic.

11. Matt Hellickson – Another two-way defenseman but he probably never develops a high end offensive skill set, he'll likely get an opportunity to play some big minutes for Notre Dame by his Sophomore year though.

All-in-all, I'm very happy with our draft. Think we have some really good potential with our first 5 picks and some intriguing projects with our later picks. For all that was made out of this year being a "weak" draft, I think I'd take the potential of the group of Hischier, Boqvist, Zetterlund, Walsh, and Popugaev over McLeod, Bastian, Anderson, Gignac, and Maltsev. Great job by Shero/Castron this year imo.

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