As a good way to end this year’s coverage of the 2018 NHL Draft, I want to look a little deeper at the initial reactions of readers like you. Just like past years, we made a post of every draft pick made by the New Jersey Devils. We included a short-term poll to allow readers - members or otherwise - to quickly vote on whether you liked the selection or not.
In general, most of you liked what the Devils did this year with only six picks. There was not a real negative reaction to any particular pick. There were some that not totally liked, but the majority of them yielded positive reactions. In the summary of the draft class posted yesterday evening, the Devils continued to pick prospects who are good at skating and had some level of skill to their game. We’ll see whether they truly will contribute to the fast, attacking, and supportive style Ray Shero continues to pursue for the Devils. But for the moment, it was a good two days for the Devils as voted on by you (that’s the royal “you,” the readership as a whole).
The Results of the Polls & Selected Comments
First, here are the individual posts for each pick:
- Ty Smith, First Round, 17th Overall
- Xavier Bernard, Fourth Round, 110th Overall
- Akira Schmid, Fifth Round, 136th Overall
- Yegor Sharangovich, Fifth Round, 141st Overall
- Mitchell Hoelscher, Sixth Round, 172nd Overall
- Eetu Pakkila, Seventh Round, 203rd Overall
Now, here are the results of each poll, side-by-side:
With the Devils having one major pick, it’s no surprise that most the action was with Ty Smith. It is also no surprise that the majority loved the pick. Ty Smith was often going somewhere between 10 and 13 in mock drafts and he was rated similarly in rankings. For him to fall to 17th overall was a stroke of luck for the Devils, and so many were happy when his name was called out.
Here are some comments from various AAtJ readers in response to Ty Smith:
“I don’t like taking defensemen in the 1st round, but if you have to do it, this was the guy to take. You can’t teach skill and this kid has a lot of it. Excited to see how he’ll do in the WHL next year.” - Triumph44
“Easily the best player available at that point in the draft. Also a great pick any way you cut it.
I mentioned in the draft thread, before the draft I sat down, did some research, and thought about who I would want to see taken. Ty Smith was my first choice. I considered him a long shot to get there, and well he is. But man, some teams made some seriously questionable picks. In time, my guess is we are all proven wrong on one or two. But most of them, woof.
He is undersized, but when you’re as good as he allegedly is positionally, that doesnt matter as much. Andy Greene was one of the best defenders in the league for years. Hes little. Its also important to remember, hes 18, and at that a fairly young 18, being he has a March birthday. I say this so much I sound like a broken record, but I know from the time I was 18 to the time I was 22, I added 20 pounds. It wasnt the fat kind either, I was training to join the Army. I wasnt a pro athlete with the resources this young man has at his disposal. My guess is hes maybe 5 11 and a solid 190, 195 by the time it matters. He won’t be here next year if I had to guess, as another year of seasoning would help him. Remember hes a defender.
Overall, A+ on the pick. Its an example of where Ray would have been foolish to trade down. Its not worth getting say Ryan Merkely and a spare 3rd to pass on Ty Smith.“ - Chris Calabrese
“I love this pick. He should be ready around the same time that Andy Greene’s contract is up and be able to replace him when the day comes. We still need a Top 4 defenseman for next season, but this helps close that hole coming down the pike, especially since Greene is starting to regress quite a bit due to his age.” - jtclockwork
As for the later picks, it’s more understandable that not as many people paid attention as they were so late. But most people liked the Xavier Bernard pick in the fourth round. Here are some selected comments in reaction to that pick:
“Like it. 35 points in 66 games without much PP time is pretty decent for a guy whose calling card is his physical game, and the mobility is to be expected for a Shero/Castron pick. Had a bad rookie year in the Q but trending up.” - dr(d)evil
“We are building the back line with a lot of skill so you need to add a little physicality also. I watched some video on him he looks very smooth as a skater. I would have liked to see this cannon people are describing but it wasn’t in the video I watched.” - Carterdogg
The reaction for Akira Schmid was more mixed. Not so much negative, just mostly in the middle/not sure category. I don’t know if it’s from the fact he was a goalie, he was a fifth round selection, or both. Some select comments from that post that were a bit more positive:
“So basically they get the rights to this guy for four years without having to offer an ELC during that time. Maybe they hire someone to work with him and Senn during the next year or two. He’s a lottery ticket that they spent very little on. Like this pick a lot. Glad Shero is keeping options open for eventually replacing Schneider.” - Bar Man
“I like going after a goalie however...This guy’s number aren’t something to write home about. I know he did well in Hlinka but you need more then three good games. In all his international games this year he couldn’t even crack .900
That said, we need help in goal if blackwood isn’t panning out. So I don’t mind rolling the dice one per year until something sticks.” - Irisches Glueck
The poll results for the other fifth round selection, Yegor Sharangovich, were more positive as the “I like the pick” selection easily came out in front. The comments were more mixed, though:
“Wish we’d traded up and grabbed Fonstad or Crookshank.” - PA Devil
“I like taking flyers on kids like this. Belarus wasn’t very good and this kid put up some numbers. He’s got good size and a good shot. Put him with some guys in the AHL and see what happens.” - Carterdogg
The sixth round selection of Mitchell Noelscher may be seen as a sleeper to some. A majority of poll voters liked this pick too. Comments from the post that stick out:
“Nonetheless, I’m okay with this pick. A dart was thrown. A dart landed. And the dart had Hoeschler on the end of it. He has some good tools, such a offensive instincts, smarts, and three-zone play. Not bad. I also like that he improved with more responsibility as the season progressed. Plus he’s a center. It’s always easier to shift a center to wing than vice versa.” - EliasStillRocks
“Type of player who can carve out a nice spot in the bottom 6 in the NHL. Always good to have those guys in the pipeline!” - njdtl1657
Lastly, the final pick of the draft went to left winger Eetu Pakkila did not yield a positive or a negative rating. Like with Schmid, the middle option of not being sure or just being in the middle won the majority. There was a lean more towards liking the pick, unlike Schmid. The comments were mostly noting how he was a seventh rounder and I think that’s fair to leave at that. There is not much to say about seventh rounder who has not done a whole lot outside of Karpat’s U-20 team (which was quite good at that level, though).
One “I love it” and three “I like the pick” selections out of six makes it a positive reaction overall. The two that didn’t fit that category were just in the middle, so I do not think any pick could garner that much discontentment. Maybe for next year, I could take out “Not sure” to be more sure it’s more of a neutral option for those who truly can go either way about it. Those who are not so sure, well, they can take a chance on a choice. Besides, those two were for a fifth and seventh round pick anyway; it is not like it was the majority choice for the first round pick. With only six picks in this year’s draft class, how Ty Smith does will likely drive whether the 2018 NHL Draft ends up being good to the Devils in the future anyway. Fortunately that is the one pick that yielded the most positive response from the readers.
With that said, I’m ready to close the book completely on the 2018 NHL Entry Draft for now. All About the Jersey will return to doing what it does best: focusing on the New Jersey Devils. There is no shortage of things to discuss, wonder, argue, and think about. Free agency will begin in a week, teams can talk to pending unrestricted free agents today, qualifying offers will be needed soon, and lots of rumors and speculation will take place throughout the league. We are very much still in the busy part of the offseason. We’ll see what the New Jersey Devils have going on from a player and personnel standpoint soon enough.
Thanks to everybody who left a comment in the posts for each pick, thanks to everyone who voted in the polls, and thank you for reading All About the Jersey.