Putting together a mock draft isn't exactly rocket science. Everyone's top 10/12 picks this year has the same mix of players, but after those spots everything is pretty much up in the air. Take the latest mocks from NHL.com. In their fourth mock draft Mike Morreale, Adam Kimelman and Steven Hoffner all had similar players in the top 10 but after that their mocks go in different directions. The three mocks have defenseman Ryan Murphy (ranked 9th by CSS for North American Skaters) going 8/8/10 respectively. Then they have forward Joel Armia (ranked 4th by the CSS for Euro Skaters) going undrafted/12/30.
The larger point I am trying to emphasize is that there is a lot of debate, speculation and disagreement...among the top 30! What about picks outside of the first round?
Well I tried to tackle that question from a Devils perspective. Instead of another first round mock draft right now, I am going to take a different approach: Identifying players the Devils 'might' be looking at with their later selections in the draft.
I got the prompting to do this from a site I follow, ‘Pewter Report’ for Tampa Bay Buccaneer news. They had an extensive 7 round mock they did and while the Bucs final draft selections didn’t mirror the site’s selections they had some pretty good ideas on where the Bucs would go and were not too far off in what players might be available for each selection.
There is a lot of logic, common sense and trends you can recognize from the past Devils drafts and what we know of their organzational depth and needs at not only the NHL level but the AHL level. After the jump I will look at how the Devils have drafted in the past and identify four players that might be on the Devils radar for each of their picks in Rounds 3 through 7 in the 2011 NHL Draft, providing small capsules of information on each player I would select.
While I am a firm believer that 'past is prologue' does that really apply to drafting habits of a NHL team? With the Devils I think we first look at the past few draft years to see how Lou Lamoriello and David Conte have drafted.
You can view the past few years of the Devils draft history and how it compares to the CSS/ISS rankings in a file here (it's better viewed separately and data was sourced from www.hockeydb.com).
Based on the record above:
- 2009 was the year when they loaded up on defensemen
- 2010 was the year they finally addressed the depth of goaltending in the system.
- If they are going to pick a Euro player, it's likely that he's from Sweden.
Beyond 2010 you can make the case (and would probably be correct) in saying that the Devils draft for the best player available and do not pay attention to what we or they believe might be their needs.
With that said, I have looked through the CSS Listings, other internet resources like Kirk Luedeke's 2011 Bruins Draft Watch Blog, OHL Blogs, etc to find some players in the later rounds in which the Devils might be interested. This is my guess, based upon my knowledge of the organization and which players could be available when the Devils selections come up in the 3rd round and beyond. I list 4 players for each slot as ‘possibilities', and my personal favorite for each selection after the table.
Many of these players will be profiled at InLouWeTrust.com over the coming weeks so I will only write briefly about the ones I would 'select'.
|Rd||Pk||Overall||Player||Pos||NHL Profile||2011-2012 Team|
|Austin Wuthrich||RW||Link||Notre Dame-CCHA|
|Reid Boucher||C||Link||Michigan State-CCHA|
|Gabriel Boullet||D||Link||Saint John-QMJHL|
|5||8||129||Dillon Simpson||D||Link||North Dakota-WCHA|
|6||8||159||Peter McMullen||C||Link||Boston College-HE|
|David Broll||LW||Link||Sault St. Marie-OHL|
|7||8||189||Sam Jardine||D||Link||Ohio State-CCHA|
|Jonathan Parker||RW||Link||Prince Albert-WHL|
Round 3: Austin Wuthrich-RW-US Development Team
With the selection received from Dallas in the Jamie Langenbrunner trade the Devils will be selecting for the first time since pick #4. If he is available the Devils might look towards fast-rising Austin Wuthrich who last played for the U-18 Development Team. Wuthrich who ranked #81 in the final CSS Rankings (but was unranked when the CSS Mid-Term Rankings came out in the fall) is a right winger (right handed shot) with a late 1993 birthday. Out for most of the past season due to a broken leg, Wuthrich will take his talents to Notre Dame of the CCHA next season.
Round 4: Magnus Hellberg-G-Frolunda-SEL
As he looks ahead to a future without all-time great Martin Brodeur between the pipes, Lamoriello will probably look to add another goalie to the organization. If he does, he will likely look to the European Elite Leagues. With Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee, Maxime Clermont, and Scott Wedgewood, the Devils will be hard pressed to find time for all of their young goalies in the AHL or ECHL. Taking Hellberg (who stands very tall at 6'5") will allow the Devils to add more goaltending depth while making sure the player gets the proper development time this time overseas in the in the SEL. And believe it or not, his last name did not sway me at all!
Round 5: Dillon Simpson-D-University of North Dakota
Son of former NHLer Craig Simpson (and the nephew of MSG announcer Christine Simpson), Simpson already has one year of college under his belt with a underwhelming 2 goals/10 assists in 30 games. Playing behind seniors Chay Genoway, Jake Marto and NHL draftees Ben Blood (2007-4th round), Derek Forbort (2010-1st round), Derrick LaPoint (2006-4th round) consistent ice-time was an issue his freshman year. But since North Dakota had such a stacked defensive unit, it's not a total surprise he had a limited impact last year. Considering his size (6'2, 205) and the offensive talent he displayed in the AJHL (12 goals and 29 assists in 58 games) he might be primed for a breakout year with the graduation of Genoway and Marto.
Round 6: Peter McMullen-C-Delbarton High School
At pick 159 this might be the perfect time to overdraft a bit and take Peter McMullen, the grandson of former Devils owner Dr. John McMullen. McMullen, ranked 200 by CSS plays at Delbarton High School, a powerhouse school out of the great state of New Jersey. Lamoriello has shown a habit of bringing in family members of players before (the brothers of Zach Parise and Travis Zajac are examples) but this is someone who wouldn't just be relying on his family name to get by. He played very well for Delbarton in the second half of their season after shifting to center and is committed to playing for one of the top schools in the NCAA in Boston College. The Devils can watch him develop for BC and decide whether or not he is worth a pro contract in a few years.
Round 7: Cody McNaughton-RW-Guelph Storm
I am not looking for the next Henrik Zetterberg here. With this pick comes some grit and some scoring ability in right winger Cody McNaughton. 6th for the Storm in scoring with 36 points and 2nd with 122 PIM McNaughton didn't impress as one would hope at age 19 in the OHL which led to a slip in the CSS rankings from the mid-term (#183) to the final (#208). A bit undersized at 5'9 he could add depth to one of the Devils minor league affiliates adding some offense and helping protect some of the other budding stars in the system.
Again, this is all speculation but is it really that different than trying to correctly pick how 30 different teams might act on a given day? If nothing else this gives you a bit of advance information on some names that will be called on day two of the NHL Draft.
(That all said, I don't see how Lamoriello doesn't draft Dr. McMullen's grandson, do you?)
Any other late round gems that you think might be on the Devils radar on June 25th? Was I too generous or too conservative on who might be available with each pick? Thanks for reading and sound off below!