Good morning. Welcome to the first day of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The New Jersey Devils won the draft lottery back in April and will finally get to make their selection at first overall tonight. Will it be Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick, or someone completely different? Here's a breakdown of how to watch and what will happen today in Chicago for the draft.
The First Day: Friday, June 23, 2017
The Rounds Selected on the First Day: The First Round
The First Day Start Time: 7 PM ET
The First Day Broadcast: TV - NBC SN, SportsNet, and TVA Sports
The First Day Pick for the Devils: 1st overall!
The Expected Time of the Pick for the Devils: It should be fairly early in the broadcast since the Devils are indeed first.
The Devils’ Draft Party: The Devils are indeed having a draft party if you’re a season ticket member. Here are the details as provided to me by the Devils media team:
Devils Season Ticket Members will gather at three adjacent locations – Redd’s Biergarten, Taste Venue and Edison Ale House – on Edison Place outside of Prudential Center starting at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the top selection. Devils players, alumni and broadcasters will join fans at the party for meet-and-greet photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions.
The three locations are right outside of the Rock. So if you’re a member and you can get to Newark by 6 PM ET, then you have a place to be.
The Devils’ Web Coverage: They have a separate Draft Central page to follow. Expect to see plenty of action on their social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
The Second Day: Saturday, June 24, 2017
The Rounds Selected on the Second Day: The Second through Seventh Rounds
The Second Day Start Time: 10 AM ET
The Second Day Broadcast: TV - NHL Network, SportsNet
The Second Day Picks for the Devils: Provided they don’t make any more deals, this is what they have up ahead of Saturday:
- Second Round - 36th Overall (5th in round)
- Third Round - 63rd Overall (1st in round)
- Third Round - 81st Overall (19th in round)
- Fourth Round - 98th Overall (5th in round)
- Fifth Round - 129th Overall (5th in round)
- Fifth Round - 143nd Overall (19th in round)
- Sixth Round - 160th Overall (5th in round)
- Sixth Round - 185th Overall (30th in round)
- Seventh Round - 191st Overall (5th in round)
Now some potentially asked questions answered in advance:
Who Are These Prospects?: We've done many prospect profiles so you can get up to speed on some of the players that may be picked in the next two days. All of them are here. Just keep on scrolling.
Likewise, go check out good sites like OHL Prospects, the Draft Analyst, the NHL Draft section at SBN College Hockey, Top Shelf Prospects at the Last Word on Sports, and the NHL Draft coverage at The Hockey Writers among others. Youtube
What Do the Devils Need?: Top-level talent. While defense was a big sore spot last season, their forward group and general offensive performance has been lacking for years. With the top pick, the Devils need to pick the best player available. In my view, the Best Player Available should have the offensive skills the Devils sorely could use in their system.
Should the Devils Trade Up/Down?: With the #1 pick? No. As tempting it is to want to see the Devils move down to pick up extra picks, I don’t know if the draft class is strong enough to warrant that. If there were multiple players on the level of Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick, then it would be justifiable to move down slightly and pick up a little more later. But I don’t see it for this year.
As for the picks beyond the first round, the Devils have two third rounders, two fifth rounders, and two sixth rounders on top of owning a second, a fourth, and a seventh round selection. They can afford to use those extra picks to make a minor move or beef up another kind of trade. If they didn’t use their second second round selection in a trade to get Mirco Mueller, then that could have been a play today. Alas, they just have the one second rounder.
Who Would You Pick?: It was a close vote among the seven of us who performed prospect profiles here, but it was decided to take Nico Hischier in the SBN NHL mock draft. We’ve had a special roundtable discussion about the Nico vs. Nolan debate. It could go either way between the two.
Who Would Others Pick?: Here's a collection of mock drafts from around the Internet focusing on picks #1 through #4.
Is This the Discussion Post for the Draft?: No. You are more than welcome to discuss the hockey news of the day in the comments to this post. But we will have discussion posts specific for each day of the draft. The one for the first day should be up at 5 PM EST. The one for the second day should be up at 9 AM EST. All rules apply as usual.
Thank you for reading. The 2017 NHL Draft begins tonight. See you then.