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Devils pay particular attention to center

by Adam Kimelman

OTTAWA -- The Devils opted for speed and skill down the middle at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, selecting four centers among their first seven choices.

They also went with a quick, skilled player with their first choice, trading down twice in the late stages of the first round to select Swedish forward Mattias Tedenby.

The team also snared three big defensemen as it used its nine picks to start restocking its farm system.

Here’s a look at New Jersey’s 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:

No. 24 Mattias Tedenby, LW, HV-71 (Sweden) -- Tedenby is built in the mode of Brian Gionta, and brings a similar attitude. Despite standing just 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, Tedenby is fearless and willing to go into the tough areas of the ice to get to pucks.

“I don’t care if it’s a big guy who’s coming into the corner,” Tedenby told “Let’s go in first and see what happens after.”

Tedenby had 10 goals and 20 points with HV-71’s junior team, and also scored three goals in 23 games in the Swedish Elite League.

"He's quick," said Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello. "He's a dynamic player, an explosive player. And in this type of game, he can be a very valuable asset. ... He's without question a top-six forward."

No. 52 Brandon Burlon, D, St. Michael’s (OPJHL) – The 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman had 24 points in 32 games for the Junior A team.

"He's not an overly big defenseman, but he has really good mobility and a good shot from the point,” said NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards. “He jumps up into the rush well, but needs to improve on his defensive reliability. … Puck-skill wise, he's good, and as he moves up, his decision-making will improve."

Burlon will play next season at the University of Michigan.

No. 54 Patrice Cormier, C, Rimouski (QMHL) -- With the second of their two second-round picks, the Devils took a player who fits perfectly into their scheme. At 6-2 and 201 pounds, Cormier had 41 points in 51 games, and was a plus-11, second on his team.

“(Cormier) is a hard worker and is hard to knock off of the puck,” said Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau. “At this point in his development, (he) projects to be a third-line type checker.”

No. 82 Adam Henrique, C, Windsor (OHL) -- Another prototypical Devils player. The 5-11, 183-pounder had 20 goals in 66 games for the Spitfires.

"Adam projects as an energy, role player,” said Edwards. “He is strong in the faceoff circle and plays a steady two-way game. He is aggressive on the forecheck, but needs to be stronger on the puck and more consistent with his physical play."

No. 112 Matt Delahey, D, Regina (WHL) -- A 6-1, 195-pound banger, Delahey should get bigger as he gets older.

Ranked No. 50 by Central Scouting, Delahey had 19 points and 68 penalty minutes for the Pats this past season.

No. 142 Kory Nagy, C, Oshawa (OHL) -- The 5-10, 172-pound center had five goals and 17 points in 57 games for the Generals.

No. 172 David Wohlberg, C, (USNTDP) -- A power forward, the 6-foot, 192-pounder had 11 goals and in 45 games for the U.S. Under-18 squad. He will join Burlon at the University of Michigan in the fall.

No. 202, Harry Young, D, Windsor (OHL) -- A giant 6-4 and 204 pounds, Young had 14 points and 155 penalty minutes in 68 games this past season.

No. 205, Jean-Sebastien Berube, LW, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) -- The 6-3, 183-pounder had 12 goals and 118 penalty minutes 64 games for the Huskies.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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