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A Peak Inside Stillman's Draft Day I FEATURE

Take a look at the day and thrilling moment when Chase Stillman found out he was selected by New Jersey

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

Chase Stillman stared at the television screen as Tom Fitzgerald stepped to the podium. But before the Devils general manager started to talk, Chase heard a scream from the basement of the family's cottage. 

The shriek came from his older brother, Riley, who had descended to use the bathroom. 

"I thought, 'did this guy fall over in the bathroom or something?'" Stillman smirked. "Hearing him screaming and going nuts, it was momentarily after that my name was coming up."

Riley already knew what was coming. He'd witnessed it on the basement television, which was a second or two ahead of the one in the living room, where Chase was surrounded by the rest of his family and friends watching Day 1 of the NHL Draft. 

Fitzgerald was about to announce the Devils' second first-round pick (29th overall) of the evening. But even before Chase's name was announced, with the combination of Riley's cry and Fitzgerald's opening words, Chase knew what was coming. 

"When I heard 'From the Sudbury Wolves' I knew it right then and there that it was going to be me," Chase told the Speak of the Devils podcast. "I was just overwhelmed with excitement."

Indeed, Fitzgerald and the Devils chose Stillman. And the celebration erupted in the Stillman cottage. Family and friends cheered, quickly joined by Riley. 

"He came flying up. He was excited as well," Stillman said. 

Riley, who plays for the Chicago Blackhawks, wasn't the only sibling to have his younger brother selected by the Devils on that evening. Earlier in the night New Jersey, with the fourth-overall pick, selected Luke Hughes, brother of current Devils center Jack Hughes. And the images of Jack leaping and hugging his brother was plastered across social media platforms.

"That Jake Hughes excitement was really hard to top," Stillman laughed. "Riley was right up there with excitement. He's super proud of me."

It had been a long day for both Stillman brothers. With Day 1 of the NHL Draft starting at 8 p.m. EST, Stillman's name was announced close to midnight. There was a lot of time to pass on that day. 

"Definitely a lot of nerves leading up to the draft," admitted Chase, who signed an entry-level contract last week. "The week felt like a year. Every day it got slower and slower the closer it came to draft day.

"Riley had to go for a walk. He was pretty nervous. He was a lot more nervous than I was."

Though, the wait could have been longer. Many draft prognosticators had prognosticated that Stillman's name would be in the second day of selections. But, Stillman had a good idea that he would be taken in the first round. 

"I was given the range from my agent. He was talking to teams," said Stillman, who wore his best suit on Day 1 in anticipation of being selected. "Those are the only guys with the real list. I had an idea where I was going to go."

When the Devils were on the clock at No. 29, Stillman knew there was a chance. He had many conversations with the Devils organization, including top brass, and knew that both sides felt it would be a good fit, though he knew nothing was guaranteed. 

"I never thought it was set in stone or I was going here for sure," he said. "There were a couple other teams leading up to that (29th pick) too that I talked with. When Jersey came up at 29, I thought maybe this is the one. Let's hope."

He didn't have to hope for long. The howl from Riley downstairs signaled the ensuing celebration as family came together in an embrace. That included Chase's father, Cory, whom had played in over 1,000 NHL games and won two Stanley Cups. 

"My dad is never one to show to much emotion," Chase said. "He was very excited for me to be drafted, but he was pretty mellow." 

Mellow runs a bit in the Stillman surname. When Cory was drafted in 1992, his father didn't even give Cory a hug. A handshake was all that he received. But things were slightly different this time around. 

"My grandfather didn't even stand up to give my dad a hug. He just shook his hand," Chase said. "My dad stood up and gave me a hug."

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