Silayev_NJD-camp

NEWARK, N.J. -- Anton Silayev had just one shiny object on his mind after being selected by the New Jersey Devils with the No. 10 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28.

"Winning the Stanley Cup," the 18-year-old defenseman said when asked what goals he wishes to achieve.

It might seem a bit premature, but the left-handed shot with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the Kontinental Hockey League is programmed to succeed, and that's music to the ears of the Devils.

"We were thrilled that he fell to us ... what's not to like about a 6-foot-7 player who skates like a ballerina?" New Jersey chief of amateur scouting Mark Dennehy said. "This guy's a special player and when you start to look at our defense, we're confident we're going to have one of the best defensive cores in the NHL at some point."

Silayev (6-foot-7, 207 pounds) offers surprising mobility for a player his size and is considered an excellent physical presence, something the Devils desperately needed in their prospect pipeline.

"He's an aggressive, strong skating defenseman who has already shown at a young age that he can prioritize defending in a physical manner," New Jersey assistant general manager Dan MacKinnon said. "This looks like a player who's committed to that style of defense, which this team is going to benefit from down the road."

In his first season in the KHL, Silayev had 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 103 shots on goal, 74 blocked shots and led his team with 98 hits in 63 regular-season games. His coach, Igor Larionov, played 14 NHL seasons, including 2003-04 with the Devils, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 and is a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings.

Silayev scored the most points by an under-18 player in KHL history; Vladimir Tarasenko is second (10 points for Novosibirsk in 2008-09).

Anton Silayev drafted by New Jersey Devils

"[Larionov] taught me a lot," Silayev said, "but most important, he taught me how to be better player, to see the ice better, to skate better, to understand the game better, and to make better passes."

Silayev is signed with Torpedo through the 2025-26 season, at which time he'll likely turn professional in North America.

"It's huge that Larionov is his coach because he understands as well as anybody that transition from Russian hockey, European hockey, to the NHL," MacKinnon said. "He just sees so many things in Silayev he feels are eventually going to make him a high impact player in the NHL."

Silayev even had a few bright moments during Devils development camp at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House last week before heading back to Russia.

Kevin Dineen, who is coach of New Jersey's American Hockey League affiliate in Utica, sees plenty of promise in Silayev. 

"We talked about his size and ability to skate, but the way he shoots the puck, it's got some zing on it," Dineen said. "I think he rang one off the crossbar and almost hit the roof of the arena ... I was like, 'OK, that thing had some momentum to be able to get that high.' I think it just says that there's some untapped strength in that body. He seems to be just really passionate about what he's doing right now."