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Draft Preview: New Jersey Devils – Resource management

With plenty of picks and cap space, can the New Jersey Devils parlay that into points?

Look for New Jersey to be active at the draft this summer, as the Devils have a plethora of picks. On top of the first-overall selection, they are slated to pick three times in the second round and twice in the third, which gives them maximum flexibility on Day 2. This is similar to the franchise’s 2017 draft, which saw the rebuilding squad make 11 picks (including first overall) after having nine selections the previous year.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The Devils need a major upgrade in skill. Nico Hischier and Taylor Hall have made magic together, but the loss of Hall to a knee injury really exposed the team, which ranked near the bottom of the league in offense. New Jersey had just two 20-goal scorers in Kyle Palmieri and Blake Coleman.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Goalie Cory Schneider, 33, is healthy again, but he’s had a real rough road the past few years. With Keith Kinkaid traded ahead of pending free agency, GM Ray Shero faces a crucial decision when it comes to the crease. Is Mackenzie Blackwood the long-term answer? The kid has looked good early on.

CAP SITUATION: Shero has more than $30 million in cap space. Even more fascinating is the fact the team doesn’t have a single pending UFA making $1 million, so any re-signings will be minor affairs. Even the RFAs are a humble bunch, with Will Butcher and Pavel Zacha as the headliners. Don’t expect any of the players, useful as they are, to break the bank.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: New Jersey has a couple of dynamic defensemen coming up the pipeline and while the Devils don’t want to rush anybody, it’s hard not to get excited about Jeremy Davies and Ty Smith. Davies, 22, turned pro after a dynamite NCAA junior campaign that saw him lead Northeastern in scoring, while Smith, 19, averaged more than an assist per game skating for WHL Spokane.

DID YOU KNOW: He’s a Swiss goaltender playing in the U.S. for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, but Akira Schmid is actually named after a Japanese movie: the film Akira was a groundbreaking anime work in 1988.

LATE-ROUND GEMS:
(2000-2018 drafts)
Adam Henrique, 82nd, ’08
Deryk Engelland, 194th, ’00
Mike Rupp, 76th, ’00
Mark Fayne, 155th, ’05
Blake Coleman, 75th, ’11
Alexander Kerfoot, 150th, ’12
Miles Wood, 100th, ’13
Jesper Bratt, 162nd, ’16
Matt Halischuk, 117th, ’07
Cam Janssen, 117th, ’02

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 108
100+ NHL GAMES: 14
PERCENT SUCCESS: 12.0%
NHL RANK: 19th

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