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Prospect Info: 2018 Devils-Centric Mock Draft 3.0

Discussion in 'New Jersey Devils' started by StevenToddIves, Jun 11, 2018.

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  1. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    Spoiler alert: I have a new pick for the Devils at #17.

    1. Buffalo LD R. Dahlin the no-brainer of no-brainers, Dahlin has superstar written all over him. The Sabres will have a disgustingly talented core to build around with Eichel-Mittelstadt-Dahlin. You won't find a higher-upside 22-and-under trio in the NHL.

    2. Carolina RW A. Svechnikov I have advice for anyone who reads a mock draft which does not include Svechnikov in the top 2 -- stop reading that mock draft. Svechnikov is every bit Dahlin's equal at the top of this draft, and could score 30+ goals for the Canes next season. The knowledge that they are taking him is certainly a factor in why they have been shopping Jeff Skinner so aggressively since the lottery.

    3. Montreal RW F. Zadina here's where things get interesting. I believe there is a very strong chance that the Habs trade this pick. They are desperate for a #1C and have a strong need on the blueline. A trade-down scenario would give the Canadiens a shot at a future #1C in Veleno/Kotkaniemi/Hayton while likely gaining another late-1st rounder to take a D-man. Unfortunately for Devils fans, I see the strongest players in the Zadina sweepstakes being division rivals; the Rangers and the Flyers. So, I'm still saying that the unbelievably skilled Zadina will be the 3rd overall selection, just maybe not by Montreal.

    4. Ottawa LW B. Tkachuk the Senators' management wants to get more physical up front, and Tkachuk might be the best old-school power F to enter the draft in years. Critics who slag his upside might just not understand the value of a incredibly strong and physical winger who dominates in the corners and the crease and is capable of scoring 35+ goals per season. This kid is a rare player, and might have the highest floor in the draft after the top two picks come off the board.

    5. Arizona RD N. Dobson it may seem like a surprise, but it really is not. Dobson's incredible play in the Memorial Cup skyrocketed his value, which was already seen as top-10 overall-worthy. His upside is that of a two-way, physical force on the blueline, an every-situation 25+ minute per game player. There is really no discernible weakness or red flag in his game. Though the Coyotes have picked for the blueline in the past two first rounds (Jakob Chychrun, Pierre-Oliver Joseph), they were both LD and Dobson would immediately become their top prospect at RD.

    6. Detroit LD Q. Hughes this was an easy pick to project a month ago, as Quinton is not only a "one-man breakout machine" and best skater in this draft, but also fits a desperate Red Wings need for a top-pairing puck-mover on the blueline. It would also be a popular pick, as Hughes was outstanding this year at nearby University of Michigan. The situation has clouded a bit with recent rumors that the Detroit front office is enamored with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. I'm going to stick with Hughes, for now -- the pick would just make too much sense to second-guess.

    7. Vancouver RD E. Bouchard probably the best defenseman in the CHL this season, Bouchard only drops this far because of the "One Big Weakness". The "One Big Weakness" has dropped several players in several drafts, and several teams have gone on to regret passing on players like Clayton Keller (too small), Jamie Benn (too slow) and Nikita Kucherov (too Russian). Bouchard is a pinpoint passer, cannon-like shooter, and superlative defensive/physical player... but he is an average skater, at best. Vancouver is one of the few organizations left who value skill and size as much as speed, so they will be thrilled if Bouchard falls to them -- especially considering their biggest organizational need is at RD.

    8. Chicago RD A. Boqvist raise your hands if you predicted that the Blackhawks would miss the playoffs in 2018 and the Vegas Golden Knights would make the finals. One big reason for the plummet in Chicago was an inconsistent and spotty blueline behind the aging Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Boqvist would immediately give them a much-needed injection of speed, skill and youth on the backline.

    9. NY Rangers C J. Kotkaniemi for much of the year, Kotkaniemi was seen as a player in the top 12-20 range, but his stunning recent tournament play has shot him into the top-10 equation. The Rangers are in desperate need of a #1C, and as such they have to be regretting their mind-numbingly idiotic decision to take Lias Andersson at #7 in last year's draft with not only #1-prospect-on-earth Casey Mittelstadt sitting there, but also Necas and Vilardi still on the board. I cannot see them passing on a center again with the #9 overall pick, although the Rangers also remain a strong candidate in my mind to trade up to #3 (picks #9 & #26 would probably get it done) and nab a potential franchise winger in Filip Zadina.

    10. Edmonton RW O. Wahlstrom every draft has a guy who falls a bit for reasons beyond his control. Wahlstrom, in my mind, has the highest pure-goalscoring upside in this draft outside of Svechnikov. His shooting is just sublime, and he's a very good skater/puckhandler with ideal NHL size. I think the young US-NTDP winger could go as early as #5 to Arizona, which could set up an unstoppable American duo of Keller/Wahlstrom on their top unit for years to come. But if not, teams drafting 6 thru 10 have huge needs at D or C or both, and wingers are often not seen as equal in value. Even the Oilers would be tempted to grab a defenseman here, but it would be tough to pass on a potential combination of Connor McDavid and a pure goalscorer like Wahlstrom.

    11. NY Islanders LD T. Smith the Islanders were a league-worst in goals against last year and new GM Lou Lamoriello has a lot of work to do. Fortunately, he has the 11th and 12th overall picks in a very strong draft. I expect him to trade one of these two picks, which will unfortunately ruin this mock draft, but fortunately get them a very good, cheap goaltender like Philipp Grubauer. With the other pick, they can get a stud young D like Smith, a speedy offensive wizard who is also ridiculously competitive and very solid defensively. He's also the victim of the "One Big Weakness", as he is a bit undersized at 5'10. However, Mr. Lamoriello had a great deal of success unearthing a similar player in Brian Rafalski, so it seems doubtful he would be swayed from an absolute stud like Smith.

    12. NY Islanders C B. Hayton assuming the Isles keep both picks, they can solidify their defensive acumen with the best shut-down center candidate in the draft. Hayton is compared to the best player in Boston, Patrice Bergeron, and rightfully so. Who wouldn't want a center who can put up 60+ points while shutting down the opposition's top pivot? This is the kind of player many think Hayton can develop into.

    13. Dallas C J. Veleno my dream scenario has Veleno falling to the Devils at #17, but the chances are slightly below remote. Veleno is a two-way ace pivot with size, speed, and absolutely no discernible weakness in his game. In my own rankings, I have him in the top 7 and as the far-and-away top center in this draft. The Stars will be thrilled if he, as many expect, takes a short slide into the early teens. A top two of Seguin and Veleno could be downright deadly in the Big D.

    14. Philadelphia RD B. Wilde Flyers' GM Ron Hextall has built perhaps the most formidable prospect pool in the NHL, amassing a horde of early picks in recent years and then using them to swing for the fences with high-upside players. One position the organization could use some bolstering at is RD, and Wilde's upside is enormous -- he has jersey flapping speed, tremendous offensive instincts and outstanding size/physicality. Blueliners with such a combination are rare, and can usually only be found in the top half of a first round.

    15. Florida LW J. Farabee the Panthers are deep at center and solid on the blueline, but they need more offense from the wings. They solidified the RW position with their first-round pick of Owen Tippett in 2017. At LW, they have Huberdeau at the pro level and prospect Henrik Borgstrom ready to play a supporting role, but Farabee outshines both of them in talent. His vision is absolutely elite, he skates very well, and he knows how to put the puck in the twine. He is reminiscent of a young Claude Giroux, and oozes offensive potential.

    16. Colorado LD K. Miller as many on these threads are aware, I've had Miller going to the Devils in my past two mocks. Unfortunately, he is also precisely what the Avalanche need. Their weakest organizational position is LD, and they lack any defenseman in the system who can match Miller's elite combination of speed/size/physicality. He's a few years away from the NHL as he has only three years of experience on the blueline since being converted from F, but the potential upside here is just enormous. I have often compared him to a "rawer Charlie McAvoy" due to his off-the-charts skill-set, but he is also bigger and stronger and has been reported to be perhaps the strongest interviewee at the recent NHL scouting combine.

    17. NEW JERSEY DEVILS: RW V. Kravtsov
    If the draft played out the way I have it for the first half of the first-round, Ray Shero would have a very interesting decision at #17. We all know the biggest organizational need is at D, particularly on the left side. In this scenario, the best ones remaining in terms of upside would be Jared McIsaac, Alex Alexeyev, Johnny Tyonchick and Rasmus Sundin -- all players available later in a trade down scenario. Shero has spoken at length of how he WOULD trade down for the right offer. But I'm going to assume here that he does not, and instead takes the highest upside remaining forward, a guy who could be a potential star at the necessary positions of C or RW (Devils are already quite deep at LW). This narrows down the field in my book to two players: Vitali Kravtsov or Rasmus Kupari. In this scenario, I have them taking Kravtsov, but it is an unbelievably close call, as Kupari matches Kravtsov's size/speed and can play center or RW. But Kravtsov is just a scoring machine who lit up the KHL playoffs and can beat you in so many ways with an absolute arsenal of offensive weapons. He has Tarasenko-like boom potential from the middle of the first round, and I can't see the Devils passing up on the idea of a player with Kravtsov's upside one day lining up on the top unit alongside Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier.

    18. Columbus C/LW I. Lundestrom the Blue Jackets are desperate for a top offensive center, but their (idiotic) head coach John Tortorella will bench/ruin any prospect who sacrifices an iota of offense for a modicum of defense. Enter Isac Lundestrom, a C/LW with excellent wheels but a mid-6 skill-set who will not offend Tortorella's bloated ego with creativity or any risk-factor to his game.

    19. Philadelphia W D. Bokk I've said at length that I think the Flyers, loaded with prospects, try to move up in this draft to take a higher-end future star like Zadina or Dobson. But if not, Bokk is a versatile sniper who can play either wing and really lit it up in Sweden this past season. He has some Pastrnak-like upside as a big, skilled and smart winger who can turn any inch you give him into a goal-scoring opportunity and is certain to become the highest-drafted German since Leon Draisaitl.

    20 Los Angeles LD J. McIsaac there is absolutely nothing not to love about Nico Hischier's old Halifax teammate McIsaac. In fact, he's a strong candidate to be taken by the Devils in a trade-down scenario. And why not? He's fast, smart, big, physical. Although his offensive creativity is not as high as some of the D who will be drafted before him, he's a s good of a bet as any to become a future second-pairing shut-down specialist with mobility and the offensive acumen to QB a #2 PP unit.

    21. San Jose C/RW A. Thomas the Sharks are still very competitive, but they are aging rapidly. How long does Thornton have left? Or Pavelski, for that matter? Though there is a clearer need for youth on the blueline, this scenario has all the top options for the blueline off the board by #21. Thomas, however is just a tremendous prospect -- he's lightning fast and as competitive as any F in this draft, he's just a wolverine on skates. He's a laser-like passer, and if his scoring/core strength develop, he could become a top-line stud and a steal at #21.

    22. Ottawa RW S. Noel this particular mock draft has Ottawa filling their stated desire for physicality up from with the two most intriguing power F prospects available in the 2018 draft. While Tkachuk is a slam dunk at LW, Noel is more of a project at RW. At 6'5 with above average skating ability, his upside is that of a match-up impossibility for opposing defenses. But the fact that his scoring totals in the OHL have been middling should drop him into the 20s.

    23. Anaheim C R. McLeod the Ducks literally ran out of centers this season, forcing them to deal Sami Vatanen to the Devils in exchange for fan-favorite Adam Henrique. Ryan Kesler's health issues leave them questions at the position for 2018-19, as well. Ryan McLeod offers another Devils connection, as his older brother Mikey was the first round pick for NJ in 2016. Like Mikey, Ryan is a very good two-way player, smart and competitive, though perhaps lacking in high-end scoring upside. Ryan is a very fluid skater, though he lacks his older brother's dynamic speed.

    24. Minnesota C R. Kupari the absolute dream scenario for the Wild fan -- they desperately covet a high-end 1C, and Kupari's upside is simply electrifying. He is one of the best skaters in the draft and one of the most explosive offensive players. The scouting combine had him up to 6'1 and displaying top-end athleticism. He is a very possible selection by the Devils at #17, though I had NJ eventually going with Kravtsov. If Kravtsov is gone by #17 and the Devils are not enamored with any of the D available to them at that spot, Kupari could quite feasibly be the New Jersey 2018 first-round pick.

    25. Toronto LD R. Sandin most pundits believe the Leafs will use their first round pick on a defenseman. In earlier mocks I had Toronto taking Alex Alexeyev (whom I personally have rated higher than Sandin), but Sandin has been gaining a great deal of recent momentum with major scouting bureaus. Though he lacks the high-end upside of a Miller or Tyonchick, Sandin is extremely steady and effective, one of the smartest players available in the 2018 draft.

    26. NY Rangers RW M. Kaut with three first-rounders in a very good draft class, the Rangers have a golden opportunity to rebuild their recently-shallow prospect pool. Kaut has played internationally with NY prospect and fellow Czech Filip Chytil, and he is a very polished, two-way force at the right wing. Though Kaut might lack the superstar potential of a Kravtsov or Kupari, he has an extremely high-floor as an extremely effective middle-6 forward who can contribute on the scoresheets, as well.

    27. Chicago C/LW G. Denisenko here is a player most often compared to Artemi Panarin, whom the Blackhawks severely regret trading one year ago. They can make up for this mistake with an unbelievably skilled Denisenko, a player who can be the perfect compliment to Patrick Kane in the foreseeable future.

    28. NY Rangers RD R. Merkley with a trio of first rounders, the Rangers can afford to roll the dice on the biggest wild-card of the 2018 draft. On one hand, Ryan Merkley's offensive/skating skills are simply off-the charts -- I would rank them even with Quinton Hughes and slightly above Adam Boqvist. On the other hand, his defensive play and character concerns are red flags of the highest degree. Best case scenario, Merkley can one day be atop NHL defensive scoring leader lists and challenge for a Norris Trophy. Worst case scenario? He becomes the bane of coaches and teammates before winding up a cautionary tale in future drafts. The kid's talent is undeniable, so I suppose it's up to him and him alone.

    29. St. Louis LD A. Alexeyev were it not for an health-issue-maligned draft-eligible season, I believe Alexeyev would go much higher. I have him ranked above several defensemen likely to go above him, notably Sandin and Tyonchick. Alexeyev has ideal skating ability and size, he is terrific in his own zone, and his passing ability is higher-end than all but the top-tier defensemen in this draft class. The Blues have some great young forward prospects in Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, but Alexeyev could really solidify the future of their defense corps. He's just an outstanding player, and a possible Devils top pick were they to trade down into the later-first round.

    30. Detroit C T. Dellandrea another prospect I absolutely adore, Dellandrea is a two-way pivot with terrific wheels. His offensive skill-set is that of a top-6 center in the NHL, though his numbers were sub-par due to his unfortunate circumstance of plying his trade for the worst team in the OHL in Flint. That location has likely given the nearby Wings scouting staff ample time to watch him play and realize that this kid is far better than where most scouting bureaus have ranked him. A rare case where the "One Big Weakness" is not the player, but rather the team which he plays for.

    31. Washington C J. Olofsson congrats Caps faithful -- you've finally won your cup. Unfortunately, this is a team led by an aging core which lacks any kind of forward skill in the prospect pipeline. Washington rarely drafts out of North America in the first round, so I have them taking a bit of a surprise pick in Olofsson, a very good all-around player who has the potential to become an ideal second-line pivot in the Paul Stastny mode at the NHL level.

    Early 2nd Round
    32. Buffalo RD J. Woo
    33. Detroit RW K. Marchenko
    34. Florida LD S. Perunovich
    35. Montreal C B. Groulx
    36. Detroit RD T. Emberson
    37. Vancouver RD C. Addison
    38. Montreal RD N. Lundqvist
    39. NY Rangers LD M. Samuelsson
    40. Edmonton RD J. Bernard-Docker
    41. NY Islanders LW B. McLaughlin
    42. Carolina C J. Wise
    43. NY Islanders RW J. Berggren
    44. Dallas RW J. Ylonen
    45. St. Louis C L. Foudy
     
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  2. Setec Astronomy

    Setec Astronomy Registered User

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    If Wahlstrom falls to 10, I hope Ray again uses his Jedi mind trick on Chiarelli. Severson and 17 for 10 overall. Worry about finding another RHD later.
     
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  3. Devils Dominion

    Devils Dominion NJD on the Rise

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    Very risky pick
     
  4. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    When a team is picking in the top 7, teams can go for upside without risk. Dahlin, Svechnikov, Zadina and Tkachuk all have extremely high floors and very few weaknesses.

    When picking in the middle of the first round, upside normally comes with risk. If there were no risk with Bode Wilde or Rasmus Kupari or K'Andre Miller, they would be top 10 picks due to their tremendous talent ceilings. The other option would be to go for a "safer" pick in the middle of the first round, like a Hayton or McIsaac or McLeod or Sandin. Sure, none of those players have "star" upside, but they all have very high floors as very productive NHL contributors.

    Out of all the players I had remaining to the Devils at #17 (and I pay close attention to all 31 organizations), Kravtsov had the highest upside of anyone -- along with Kupari and Merkley. Kupari, however, had more risk than Kravtsov. And Merkley's downside is just precipitous. So, I went with Kravtsov at #17.
     
  5. Setec Astronomy

    Setec Astronomy Registered User

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    Isn’t the problem with Kravtsov that you don’t know when he’s ever going to leave Russia?
     
  6. Cheddabombs

    Cheddabombs Status Quo

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    it's definitely a risk but if the talent is there, and Shero and co believes he'll eventually come over, then it's a risk worth taking
     
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  7. devilsfan35

    devilsfan35 Registered User

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    I really like Kravtsov but I feel like Florida might snag him
     
  8. Devils Dominion

    Devils Dominion NJD on the Rise

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    I could see FLA taking one of three Euros
    Kravtsov. , Kupari or Denisenko
     
  9. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    In my mock, I have Florida taking Farabee, who has huge offensive upside comparable to Kravtsov. Also, Farabee is a LW, and the Panthers took a RW in the first round last season (Owen Tippett). I also strongly considered Kupari and Miller to Florida at #15, before eventually settling on the safest of those high-upside picks, Farabee.
     
  10. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    Farabee has similar upside to the very talented trio you named, but less risk. I'd say Denisenko is a level down in upside from the other three, while Kupari carries the most risk. Because of those factors, I would say that Farabee and Kravtsov are a pretty good bet to be drafted before Kupari and Denisenko.
     
  11. Nubmer6

    Nubmer6 We want... Information

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    I'd be interested in seeing your player rankings as opposed to a mock draft, since the two could be very different. It would be kind of a cool comparison to see how much team's drafting styles and needs.
     
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  12. megajake

    megajake Registered User

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    I'd love to take a chance on Kravtsov, but I don't think he falls to us.
     
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  13. My3Sons

    My3Sons Registered User

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    As STI goes through this exercise with us what I am seeing is that someone good has to fall to 17 and even beyond. Whether NJ ends up with Kravtsov Bokk Wilde or Miller they are all good picks at that spot with high upside. I agree that they all have some risk at 17 but as STI noted that goes with the territory. If they were easily projectable as NHL players they would be top 10 picks. I’m excited to see how the first round unfolds and I’d like to see NJ trade back a few spots if it can recoup a 2nd round pick but I think that is unlikely. I’d be skeptical moving lower than 20 for anything less than that. This is very educational for those of us who don’t follow the young players outside of this time of year so thanks as always!
     
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  14. Zajacs Bowl Cut

    Zajacs Bowl Cut Nova Nation

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    if the Devils pick him = risky
    if the Panthers pick him = he will win 10 Hart trophies and we should be worried
     
  15. MadDog172430

    MadDog172430 Palm Trees

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    Aw man, Wilde going to Philly would bum me out. :laugh:

    This draft is incredibly intriguing, I wish it was this weekend and not next!
     
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  16. Devils Dominion

    Devils Dominion NJD on the Rise

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    All of our local rivals are going to get multiple great prospects this Draft

    It's going to be a painful watch, but I'll try to focus on our pick and hopefully Castron Inc comes through
     
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  17. Smitty426

    Smitty426 Registered User

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    12. NY Islanders C B. Hayton
    13. Dallas C J. Veleno
    14. Philadelphia RD B. Wilde
    15. Florida LW J. Farabee
    16. Colorado LD K. Miller
    17. NEW JERSEY DEVILS: RW V. Kravtsov


    Steven, I know many say move back and pick up another pick, but if your scenario were to play out what do you think the cost would be to move up to say Isles second pick at 12, or Stars pick at 13?
    My thought was that these picks have to hit and are the 5-6 spots earlier worth something we have for those GMs?
     
  18. Devils Dominion

    Devils Dominion NJD on the Rise

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    I don't think Hayton will go that high. I think he's slips to the 16-20 range
     
  19. Cheddabombs

    Cheddabombs Status Quo

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    I think the Isles go with Veleno for at least one of their picks. Getting a strong defenseman and Veleno at 11 and 12 would be great for them
     
  20. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    Will do. I'll post my top 40 or 50 list this week.
     
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  21. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    Everyone I have getting drafted above Kravtsov is almost universally ranked over him in most scouting bureaus except K'Andre Miller, whom I think is rising because he impressed so much at the scouting combine.
     
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  22. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    The prevailing school of thought is that the Devils are more likely to move down than to move up, in the effort to recoup a second or third round pick.
     
  23. StevenToddIves

    StevenToddIves Registered User

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    Hayton rankings among major bureaus/pundits:
    ISS 12
    McKeens 13
    Future Considerations 11
    TSN (McKenzie/Button) 12/6
    The Hockey News 8
    Kournianos 14
    Pronman 23

    While Corey Pronman would agree with the assessment, most would not. But I do agree with you that there will be a great deal of variability in this draft.
     
  24. Devils Dominion

    Devils Dominion NJD on the Rise

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    I'll be pissed if we trade down and pick McLeod
     
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  25. My3Sons

    My3Sons Registered User

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    Who would be your target picks at 17?
     
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