DRAFT: A Look at Prospects in the Devils Top 100 Range
NewJerseyDevils.com contributors Peter Robinson examines some of the prospects who could be targets for the Devils with their six picks in the top 100
/ Special to NewJerseyDevils.com
VANCOUVER, BC - When the lottery bounced the Devils way in Toronto 10 weeks ago, it meant that Friday in Vancouver would be an especially important night in the history of the franchise.
But even if lottery luck did not break the Devils way, the 2019 NHL Draft was still going to be a seminal event for the hockey club. That's because, in addition to its first selection, the Devils are going to be taking six more picks between Nos. 34 and 96 on Saturday.
That type of Draft bounty is a hockey executive and scout's dream.
While the No. 1 selection will give the Devils a player to build around, the six selections that follow relatively soon after are a golden opportunity to add building blocks up and down the organization.
NewJerseyDevils.com will interview scouts and GM Ray Shero in Vancouver. Also, Part 2 of Journey to One will be published on the site. All that and more coming soon.
Broken down roughly by where the Devils are expected to pick in rounds two, three and four, here's a look at 13 prospects who are projected in that bracket.
Brett Leason, C, Prince Albert Raiders - If Leason can overcome concerns about his skating, he projects as a traditional NHL power forward. His third time through the Draft, he is a classic late bloomer who led the Raiders to a WHL title.
Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats - Size (5'9", 160) is a concern. But if the game continues to trend smaller and faster, Pelletier will be viewed as a Draft day steal in the future. Pelletier plays hard and makes up for his lack of size with a tremendous compete level.
Alex Vlasic, D, USNDTP U-18 - Speaking of size, Vlasic (6'6") is one of the tallest prospects in this year's class. Vlasic uses his massive frame, especially his reach, well but he can be caught flat-footed. If his name is still on the board at 34, Vlasic could be too enticing to pass up.
Devils selections in the past: Jay Pandolfo 32nd 1993, John Quenneville 30th 2014, Jesper Boqvist 36th 2017
Nick Robertson, C, Peterborough Petes - See Jakob Pelletier above and repeat. He is the younger brother of Dallas Stars prospect Jason Robertson.
Jordan Spence, D, Moncton Wildcats - One of the big movers in the class. A puck savvy defenceman, Spence needs work on defending. He has an interesting back story: Spence was born in Australia to a Canadian father and a Japanese mother.
Devils selections in the past: Colin White 49th 1996, Patrice Cormier 54th 2008, Eric Gelinas 54th 2009,
Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Magnitogorsk - A late-born 2000, Dorofeyev dominated the Russian junior loop and earned a mid-season promotion to the big club. A right-shot, he plays his off-wing.
Kaedan Korczak, D, Kelowna Rockets - Another product of the blueline factory in Kelowna, he started the play that led to Team Canada's controversial game-tying goal as time expired in last summer's Hlinka/Gretzky tournament in Edmonton. Playing for Adam Foote can't hurt Korczak's development.
Devils Selection in the past: Paul Martin 62nd 2000, Damon Severson 60th 2012
Oleg Zaitsev, C, Red Deer Rebels - Playing for former Devils head coach Brent Sutter in Red Deer, Zaitsev should develop into a useful checking forward. He's got good size (6'1", 185 pounds) and plays with an edge.
Anttoni Honka, D, JyP Jyvaskyla - The younger brother of the Stars' Julius, there are clear similarities between the siblings. Anttoni is rawer and needs to make better decisions to be an effective pro.
Devils selections in the past: Sheldon Souray 71st 1994, Mike Rupp 76th 2000, Blake Speers 67th 2015,
Aliaksei Protas, LW/C, Prince Albert Raiders - Not much was happening for Protas until he found his sweet spot mid-season during his rookie year in North America. He caught fire in the playoffs and has a sniper's touch but suspect skating.
Keean Washkurak, LW, Mississauga Steelheads - The ultimate example of a player who you love on your team, hate to have on the opposition. He has potential to be a fan favorite type at the pro level, be it in NHL or AHL.
Devils selections in the past: Alyn McCauley 79th 1995, Brian Gionta 82nd 1998, Adam Henrique 82nd 2008
Graeme Clarke, RW, Ottawa 67's - Clarke is a vastly skilled scorer. He has first-round talent but fell down draft charts due to a one-dimensional game.
Nikola Pasic, RW, Linkoping - Another offensively gifted forward who will be drafted because of that talent. Needs to be much more consistent in both execution and effort.
Devils selections in the past: Reid Boucher 99th 2011, Miles Wood 100th 2013, Colton White 97th 2015.