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What You Thought: You Liked the New Jersey Devils 2017 NHL Draft Class

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The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is in the books. But before leaving the draft entirely, I look at how the All About the Jersey readers reacted to each pick by the New Jersey Devils. In general, the larger community liked what the Devils did this year - and even loved some of the picks.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
“They liked the draft class!” “Yes, but what do you think of my shirt?”
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Yesterday, the 2017 NHL Draft conducted and completed its second day, going through the second through seventh rounds. After months of looking at profiles, checking out draft sites and services, figuring out what the New Jersey Devils need, and hoping they’ll find the players to fit said need, the Devils have drafted eleven new prospects.

This year’s draft class is led by New Jersey’s first ever (team, not franchise) first overall pick, Nico Hischier. The class turned out to be a very European one with eight out of the eleven picks having been born and at least began their hockey careers in Europe. As I wrote in my summary of this year’s draft class, there are more common traits in who was picked. If you like your prospects to be good shooters and skaters, then you probably liked this draft.

But in this final post covering the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, I don’t have to say that the collective readership probably liked this draft. I have evidence stating that the collective readership did like this year’s draft class. Just as I did last year, every Devils draftee received a post and each post had a poll asking you what you thought of the pick from loving it to hating it. Those polls closed last night and so here are the results. While it is too early to really know if these prospects will turn out, we can at least state for the record how we felt about it when it actually happened.

The Results of the Polls

First Round, 1st Overall: Nico Hischier, C - Poll voters: 1,062

Results: 68% - I love it!; 22% - I like the pick; 7% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 2% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

The collective you largely loved this pick and a vast majority at least liked it. In a word: NICO!

Second Round, 36th Overall: Jesper Boqvist, C/W - Poll voters: 368

Results: 20% - I love it!; 55% - I like the pick; 22% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 1% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

While this pick started the “Where’s the D?” questions, very, very few people did not like this particular selection. There was definitely an uptick of being in the middle or unsure, though. Still, the majority liked this one.

Third Round, 63rd Overall: Fabian Zetterlund, C/RW - Poll voters: 165

Results: 15% - I love it!; 58% - I like the pick; 23% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 4% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!

Like Boqvist, the lack of defenders being drafted was brought up at the moment of the pick. But, like Boqvist, the majority liked this selection as well. This is where there were fewer voters, but this is also the part of the draft where the picks started coming in fast and players definitely were more obscure.

Third Round, 81st Overall: Reilly Walsh, D - Poll voters: 172

Results: 28% - I love it!; 57% - I like the pick; 11% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 2% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

The Devils finally drafted a defenseman - and it’s one that most of you who voted liked. Whether that was because of the kind of defender Walsh was or that he was a defenseman at all, I don’t know. But most of you liked him!

Fourth Round, 98th Overall: Nikita Popugaev, LW/RW - Poll voters: 207

Results: 44% - I love it!; 43% - I like the pick; 11% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 2% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!

Love just edged out liking Popugaev. I can understand why. The reasons as to why he fell to the fourth round are known. And if one believes Popugaev can sort it out, then the Devils have an excellent prospect on their hand. It’s a great value pick and most of you were in favor of the pick.

Fifth Round, 129th Overall: Gilles Senn, G - Poll voters: 143

Results: 9% - I love it!; 17% - I like the pick; 38% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 27% - I don’t like the pick; 10% - I hate it!

I was scratching at my head of the selection of the 21-year old goaltender from HC Davos. The poll results seemed to match that as the middle/I don’t know option led the pack. There were definitely more people who didn’t like the selection than people who did. That said, some of the comments have reason to think it was a good pick. But this ended up being the most contentious one of the eleven picked today based on the polls.

Fifth Round, 143rd Overall: Marian Studenic, RW - Poll voters: 96

Results: 23% - I love it!; 56% - I like the pick; 16% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 3% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

The other fifth round selection - a right winger from Hamilton of the OHL - was much more well received by those who voted in the poll.

Sixth Round, 160th Overall: Aarne Talvitie, F - Poll voters: 90

Results: 16% - I love it!; 49% - I like the pick; 30% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 3% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

The Devils went into the sixth round and only used their first sixth rounder as the second one became two additional seventh rounders. This is the point of the draft where the players are even less known, so I can understand fewer opinions. It’s at least mostly positive, although the middle option of being in the middle on the pick is well represented.

Seventh Round, 191st Overall: Jocktan Chainey, D - Poll voters: 122

Results: 57% - I love it!; 38% - I like the pick; 5% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 0% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!

The combination of it being a defenseman, an offensive defenseman, a teammate of Nico Hischier - who people loved the selection of - and someone with some information on in the seventh round led to a lot of good opinions. Most of you loved him and a wider majority at least liked this late one.

Seventh Round, 205th Overall: Yegor Zaitsev, D - Poll voters: 115

Results: 39% - I love it!; 39% - I like the pick; 17% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 3% - I don’t like the pick; 2% - I hate it!

The 19-year old Russian defenseman also received a positive response. Fun fact: There was a tie between those who loved this pick and those who just liked it.

Seventh Round, 214th Overall: Matthew Hellickson, D - Poll voters: 90

Results: 18% - I love it!; 33% - I like the pick; 39% - I’m in the middle on the selection/I don’t know; 9% - I don’t like the pick; 1% - I hate it!

The last pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for the New Jersey Devils was another 19-year old defenseman. Between the lack of information on him and the fact he was the fourth-to-last pick of the whole draft, the I don’t know’s took the lead on this one.

Thoughts on the Results

When I did this exercise last year, “I love it!” didn’t lead in the poll for any of the picks. This year, it did for Hischier, Popugaev, Chainey, and (in a tie) Zaitsev. For six other additional selections, “I liked the pick.” won. Only for Senn and Hellickson did the middle option win out. Even in their cases, the “I don’t like the pick.” option didn’t lead for any of them. The largest proportion it received was 27% for Senn - even then it was lagging behind other options. While the draft is meant to provide prospects for the future and I know fans don’t want to dump on a prospect too early, the results of these polls shows that the collective readership - the royal “you” - really liked the Devils’ 2017 draft class.

But don’t just take these poll results alone. Here are some choice comments from the summary post:

Good draft. The system is weak in all aspects, so not a terrible thing to end up with mostly forwards. Still, more work to be done, gotta find some young D. - NJHockey8

And

Ultimately, I really like this draft class, even if it didn’t give us a true high-end potential blue-liner we all wanted. - PA Devil

And

Overall, I’m pleased with this year’s draft class. The emphasis on speed and skill should be music to our ears. I know the draft caught a little flak because of the lack of defensemen early, but I would argue our biggest organizational issue is still being able to score. Shero and Castron had another very solid draft class that addressed those concerns and I agree with John that our pipeline might no longer be completely barren when it comes to forward prospects. - TheJRod2006

And

I liked the draft for the Devils. I think they did a good job of adding forwards that have skill that gives them a high upside. Also for people who wished we had picked more defenseman, remember we did us a second rounder to get Muller. He should be nhl ready this fall and is only 22. How many 2nd rounders are generally nhl ready for the upcoming season? - poopiedoodie11

Other comments in the summary, within the posts for each pick, and elsewhere will vary on certain picks and in general. And that’s fine. This is really to highlight what the larger community thought about those drafted and the draft in general. And that the larger community liked what the Devils did overall at the draft. And for some picks, they loved it. It’s a more positive opinion right now than what it was right after last year’s. Will that last? We’ll see. A lot can happen real soon.

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 will definitely be active over the next week: the New Jersey Devils. Qualifying offers are due really soon, 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.