Devils Draft Targets
The New Jersey Devils hold the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and will have many options come draft day. There have been rumors a plenty about the Devils trading the pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for sniper Phil Kessel, but in my honest opinion, the Devils are a lot farther away from competing for a championship than a Phil Kessel. I either want them to keep the pick or trade back and get more picks because this draft is very deep this year.
My dream situation on draft day is that Colorado picks up their phone and calls the New Jersey Devils with an offer of the tenth overall pick and Ryan O’Reilly for our sixth overall pick and Eric Gelinas. While that is a pipe dream and will never happen, it works out for both teams very well. With the sixth overall pick, Colorado is guaranteed one of the top defensemen in the draft in either Noah Hanafin or Ivan Provorov. The Devils will still be able to pick up a good prospect as well as an immediate impact player for their team.
Here are the top three players that will realistically be available for the Devils to take with the 6th pick.
1. Matthew Barzal: From the WHL he is a great playmaking center who has a great burst of speed and a decent shot. His downfall is that he did not score much for his team but the WHL is primarily known for its tougher defense. While he did not score much, you watch tape on him and he jumps off of the screen, he is a great hockey player and will be successful at the next level.
2. Mitch Marner. The reason why Mitch Marner is #2 on my list is because I do not see him getting past Carolina. He is a terrific playmaking center with tons of skill. He is a smaller center but he is still growing. His hands are silky smooth and can make something out of nothing with his puck skills. Crazier things have happened at the draft and I am hoping that he slides to us at number 6. And even if he was drafted by the Devils, he honestly needs another year in the OHL to refine his game and to try and fill out his body a little bit more.
(Photo from http://www.thehockeynews.com)
3. Lawson Crouse: Crouse is a big big man. Standing at six feet three inches and pushing 200 pounds at only 17 years old, he has already been compared to Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins. He is hockey’s stereotypical power forward, his size will allow his to be successful in the league because he knows how to use it very well to shield the puck from opponents. His knock is that he does not have great puck skills but when you are that size, your job is to get into the dirty areas of the ice and win those battles. Crouse can do that well but the Devils already have players like that and they need more skill which is why Marner and Barzal are higher on this list.