Yesterday, the second biggest event of the NHL offseason took place: the NHL Draft. The first is this Friday when free agency begins. After months of profiles, hopes, speculations, guesses, and so forth about prospects and the future of the team, we know now what the New Jersey Devils did with every one of their picks. They started the 2016 NHL Draft with the eleventh overall pick and eight others. They ended the 2016 NHL Draft with nine new prospects and Beau Bennett.
I summarized what the Devils did in both days of the 2016 NHL Draft in this post. Call it a premature review, but I felt fine with what the Devils did. I also said it would be the penultimate post for our draft coverage. This is the last one and it’s all about you. Every post about each selection came with a poll that allowed readers - not just those who can log in and comment - to give a general opinion about what the Devils did. All of those polls closed last night. Let’s see what the collective readers thought of each pick. It’ll be a good exercise to look back at both what I thought and what you all initially felt in a few years when it’s clearer what these prospects become.
Round 1 - 12th Overall - Michael McLeod - Number of voters: 1,140.
Results: 10% - I love it!; 39% - I like the pick; 34% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 11% - I don’t like the pick; 6% - I hate it!
Round 2 - 41st Overall - Nathan Bastian - Number of Voters: 315
Results: 16% - I love it!; 57% - I like the pick; 21% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 6% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!
Round 3 - 73rd Overall - Joey Anderson - Number of Voters: 129
Results: 12% - I love it!; 33% - I like the pick; 42% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 10% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!
Round 3 - 80th Overall - Brandon Gignac - Number of Voters: 143
Results: 14% - I love it!; 61% - I like the pick; 22% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 3% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!
Round 4 - 102nd Overall - Mikhail Maltsev - Number of Voters: 133
Results: 22% - I love it!; 51% - I like the pick; 26% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 1% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!
Round 4 - 105th Overall - Evan Cormier - Number of Voters: 108
Results: 9% - I love it!; 11% - I like the pick; 20% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 34% - I don’t like the pick; 25% - I hate it!
Round 5 - 132nd Overall - Yegor Rykov - Number of Voters: 80
Results: 15% - I love it!; 58% - I like the pick; 23% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 3% - I don’t like the pick; 0% - I hate it!
Round 6 - 162nd Overall - Jesper Bratt - Number of Voters: 79
Results: 28% - I love it!; 53% - I like the pick; 18% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 1% - I don’t like the pick; 0% - I hate it!
Round 7 - 192nd Overall - Jeremy Davies - Number of Voters: 104
Results: 22% - I love it!; 24% - I like the pick; 35% - I’m in the middle on the selection; 16% - I don’t like the pick; 3% - I hate it!
Thoughts on the Results
Clearly most of you liked what the Devils did with each pick. While the low number of voters after the first two rounds means that the poll may not accurately capture most reader’s sentiments, I’d be surprised if there was a massive shift in opinion on some of these picks. Six of the nine selections had a plurarlity or a majority of “I like the pick.” The exceptions were the selections of winger Joey Anderson at 73rd overall, goaltender Evan Cormier at 105th overall, and overage defenseman Jeremy Davies at 192nd. Only Cormier’s selection had “I don’t like the pick” lead the way among all opinions. That being said, while those who picked “I love it!” totally outdone the few who picked “I hate it!,” the strongest of opinions didn’t lead any of the picks at all. The most common sentiment from the polls was that most of you liked what the Devils did with most picks.
I can agree with that sentiment. It was my general feeling as I wrote up the summary yesterday afternoon after the seventh round ended. This was by no means a disappointing draft class like 2014. This was also by no means an absolutely wonderful draft class for the Devils either. Sure, some people in the comments loved a few of the selections. But overall, from my reading of the reactions here, this was OK. This was fine. This was solid. I liked it and so did most of you.
But don’t just take my word or the poll results alone. Here are some select comments from the summary post:
There no pick in this class that I can point to and say "I don’t like that pick" (even Cormier, never a bad thing to have good depth at any one position). But I’m still left feeling disappointed, mostly because I got my hopes too high that we would get Keller and then again with DeBrincat. Overall though I think we got a legitimate top 6 player in McLeod, a guy in Bastian who should play in the NHL in some capacity, and a bunch of skilled lottery tickets which is about as much as you can reasonably ask for in a draft. - ZZPops - Jun 25, 2016 | 4:28 PM (Source)
So here’s the thing. We don’t know if any of these players are going to be any good. The scouts who do this for a job don’t know if they are going to be good. And they take years to develop. But I was very happy with this draft. What made me crazy with Conte toward the end was the drafting for size and grit rather than speed and skill, reluctance to draft players from outside North America, failure to take home run swings later in the draft, and totally ignoring that RW was a position that people play in hockey. So Shero/Castron pretty much drafted speed, skill, some international players, some late boom/busts, and filled in the RW prospect hole. They gave me exactly what I wanted even if the players weren’t the ones that caught my eye from rankings, AATJ, and Twitter. And whether or not they turn out to be the right players is TBD. But I’m happy that they drafted the way I (we?) thought they should rather than the way Conte did at the end. - snwbdislife - Jun 25, 2016 | 9:01 PM (Source)
And a third:
Depends on the way you look at it but I am more underwelmed than happy with this draft overall. Passing on some of the talented players available left me scratching my head… Picking a goalie albeit in the 4th left me scratching my head. Trading a 3rd for Bennett I’m OK with not thrilled not upset. - VCheech590 - Jun 25, 2016 | 10:28 PM (Source)
And a fourth:
Overall, not a sexy flashy draft that they could have used, but a solid one. Hope to see a couple of them in a couple of years. But now I’ll yield the floor to the many "realists" on this blog and see if they differ. - TehBeerNerd - Jun 25, 2016 - 3:35 PM (Source)
Because, according to a big ‘E,’ three’s not enough, I need five:
Solid draft overall. I’m not in love with McLeod, but that’s what happens when you have a fluke good year when your team stinks – you draft at 11 and you don’t get a super high talent guy. I like McLeod better than Brown and I love the trade down to get an extra pick.
I don’t love Beau Bennett, but he’s been a solid performer when healthy and they basically got him for free. That’s a win.
Only thing I don’t like is the goalie, but every other pick was at least decent, and when you actually have more draft picks than the 7 you’re given, you can afford to gamble more. I love taking Russians late, that’s exactly what I wanted them to do and they did it. I like taking an overage defenseman late. There’s no Baddocks in here, everyone who was drafted was taken because they have a potential NHL career. - Triumph44 - Jun 26, 2016 | 1:47 AM (Source)
Other comments in the summary, within the posts for each pick, and elsewhere will vary and that’s fine. I’m not saying it’s wrong to love or hate or not like what the Devils did. I’m saying that the general reaction through the polls and the comments was that this was good. Not necessarily great, fabulous, marvelous, fantastic, etc. But good. The Devils did well.
With that all said, again, thank you for following the site since we were mostly in full-on draft mode for over the last two months. We will be re-focusing again to the team we all love and hopes gets good in the future: the New Jersey Devils. Free agency awaits and then a summer of analysis, opinion, and more will follow. Let me know what you think of what others thought about the draft in the comments. Thank you for reading.