This past weekend, the New Jersey Devils had a draft that exceeded many people's expectations. They had the first-overall pick, along with numerous selections in the later rounds that allowed them to have the assets to grab some talented players and continue the process toward a successful future. Here's what national media outlets had to say about the addition of Jack Hughes and the rest of the 2019 Devils draft class, along with the acquisition of defenseman P.K. Subban.
Traikos Believes Devils Won Draft Weekend
"The New Jersey Devils won the weekend. It's not even close," said Michael Traikos for the Toronto Sun.
In the span of 16 hours, the Devils managed to come out of the 2019 NHL Draft with a franchise-changing center in Jack Hughes [selected first overall], and a Norris Trophy-winning defenseman in P.K. Subban, via trade with the Nashville Predators. The team did so without needing to give up many valuable assets up in return. Traikos believes that the Devils, who finished with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference last season, have suddenly become a Stanley Cup contender - or at the very least, destined for the playoffs next season.
"The franchise finally stepped out of the shadow cast by the New York Rangers and entered the big time. Subban, along with 2018 Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall, and now Hughes gives them a trio of star players that should make them relevant on the ice."
Devils Earn Top Grades Among The NHL
Bleacher Report's Jake Rill awarded the Devils with their highest draft grade, "A", and placed them atop the list of their "Top 3 Draft Classes" in this year's draft. While the high grades are due largely to the selection of Hughes, the Devils made some solid picks on the second day of the draft. The Devils selected defensemen Nikita Okhotyuk and Daniil Misyul with their first two picks on the second day and finished the weekend with 11 new players taken over seven rounds to lead a driving force towards the improvement of the club for the future.
TheScore and Sporting News also ranked the New Jersey Devils with their highest grade of an "A" after the draft weekend. John Wegman of TheScore believes that although the cap hit is high with Subban being retained for his $9M contract, the Devils have "plenty of room to work with and the term is very tolerable."
Steve Kournianos of Sporting News says picking Jack Hughes wasn't the only great pick made by Ray Shero in Vancouver:
"Another underrated move whose legacy should be followed closely was Shero turning the 55th pick (acquired at the trade deadline from Nashville for Brian Boyle) into a pair of physical two-way defensemen at picks 82 (Mike Vukojevic) and 118 (Case McCarthy), and super-skilled Russian winger Arseni Gritsyuk at 129. Keep in mind that was after he grabbed a pair of Russian three-zone defenders in Nikita Okhotyuk (61st) and Daniil Misyul (70th). Winger Graeme Clarke (80th) has goal-scoring potential, and Providence overage flanker Tyce Thompson (96th) is excellent along the boards and wears down bigger defenders."
Along with those moves, Kournianos mentioned that the Devils made two of the best picks by any team in the later rounds with sniper Patrick Moynihan at 158th and versatile winger Nikola Pasic with the 189th pick.
Yahoo! Sports, along with Forbes also both named the Devils as "Winners" of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Shero Gets High Praise For His Stellar Draft
"Take a bow Ray, you deserve it,"said Traikos after the Toronto Sun, along with NBC Sports and multiple other news outlets named Devils general manager Ray Shero as a "Winner" in the 2019 NHL Draft. While the media credited the players selected by the Devils for the team's excellent draft ratings, Ray Shero made those picks and initiated those trades, which is why he took the cake as one of the biggest winners in the draft this weekend through the eyes of the media. In less than 24 hours, Shero managed to transform his franchise from a team that was seen as contenders for the bottom spot in the league to a legitimate force to reckon with this upcoming season and potentially the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. While selecting Hughes first overall is the move that gave Shero the biggest headlines, it was his gamble to trade for P.K Subban and retain his entire $9M salary before the NHL released their cap range for the upcoming season that proved to be the most rewarding 'pay-off' for the veteran general manager.
"He [Shero] had the cap space to work with and took full advantage of it, knowing some teams may have shied away until they learned what the 2019-20 cap range would look like…" Sean Leahy, NBC Sports
"This was always going to be a successful weekend for the Devils GM, who had the No. 1 pick. But while New Jersey took home top prospect, Jack Hughes, the team also managed to sneak Subban into their carry-on luggage. And they did it while only giving up two C-level prospects and a pair of second-round draft picks to the Predators. No wonder Shero spent most of the two days in Vancouver smiling like a Cheshire cat." Steve Kournianos, Sporting News