Last night, the New Jersey Devils used both of their first round picks in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. They made the sensible and expected pick of defenseman Luke Hughes at fourth overall. I really liked that selection. With the 29th overall pick, they kept the pick and went off the board to take right winger Chase Stillman. I really did not like that selection. Today, Tom Fitzgerald, Paul Caston, and the rest of the management and scouting team will fill out the rest of their 2021 draft class. They currently have five picks to make and we shall see the direction they go for with this group of prospects.
The Time: 11:00 AM ET
The Devils’ Picks Today: Assuming nothing was gained or removed between yesterday evening and this post, they have five picks today:
- Third round - 68th overall
- Fourth round - 100th overall
- Fifth round - 129th overall
- Sixth round - 164th overall
- Seventh round - 203rd overall
The AAtJ Draft Preview and Prospect Profiles for 2021: Read (or re-read) about the draft preview as a whole and check out the links to all of the prospect profiles we did in 2021. Most of them ended up being first round selections, but the remainder will likely go quick in the second round.
The Legal Stream: Thanks to alslammerz, there is a legal stream of NHL Network for the second day of the draft through NHL.com. Go check it out!
Some First Round Thoughts: I will include more of them in the summary post after today for the whole draft. That said, I will include a couple here:
- Before the draft, there were plenty of big deals that I can best describe as baffling. This led to Columbus having a banner day of acquiring Adam Boqvist as part of the Seth Jones deal and picking Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, and Corson Ceulemans. For a team that could enter a re-build, that’s a fine start. I think they had the best day today.
- The second best day would go to Boston. They re-signed Taylor Hall to a favorable deal and may have picked up the steal of the first round by taking Fabian Lysell at 21st overall.
- The third best day? Minnesota trading up to take Jesper Wallstedt and adding Corson Lambos at 24th was smart. Especially since they only gave Edmonton a third to do it and the Oilers really could have used Wallstedt or Lysell.
- As much as I do not like the Stillman pick, it was not the worst in the first round in my opinion. Ottawa had the largest reach in the draft (so far) by taking Tyler Boucher at 10th overall. Bolduc has been getting some “overrated” buzz and St. Louis took him at 17th. Dallas raised my eyebrow by taking Wyatt Johnston, who only played at the World U18s last season, at 23rd overall. At least they traded down to make that pick. Chicago selected a physical defenseman who is not good at defending in Nolan Allen at 32nd overall. Montreal had the most shameful pick by picking Logan Mailloux at 31st overall. A player, who as a result of his crime, asked not to be picked and Montreal clearly did not care. The ESPN/Sportsnet/NHL Network broadcast were appropriately stunned by that one.
- And the broadcast was a rough one. This was a NHL Network production with ESPN and Sportsnet support. The first round going over three and a half hours is typical. But what made this drag was the timing of everything. Every team had 5 minutes to make their pick. Several times the clock would run down or be near to it and then the broadcast cut to commercial. With no tracking graphic to indicate that the pick was in. And there were a few occasions that after commercial, we have to wait even more for the pick for an interview segment or some bumper about the team supposed to be making a pick. It made the watching process feel a lot longer than it was. I’m hoping ESPN or Turner takes more control of the 2022 NHL Draft, which will be in Montreal, and smooths out the production. At least Kevin Weekes was great for 3+ hours.
- Most of all, I thank you - the People Who Matter - for your support on the site yesterday. We had close to 700 comments in the first day open post and plenty of activity in response to each pick and in the poll.
A Reminder: This day could go a bit faster than last night. Hopefully faster than last year’s draft. Please do not be surprised if the posts about the Devils picks or moves are bit light on content at first; we will try to add more information later where applicable. So please revisit those posts later in the day to learn a little more about the players the Devils have chosen today.
Each post will have a poll that will ask for your initial reaction to each pick. The polls will end just before midnight tonight. On Sunday, I will reveal the results of each poll in a summary of what you all - the People Who Matter - initially thought of this year’s draft class.
The Rules: As always, keep your comments clean & respectful to others, relevant to the Devils and/or the NHL draft as a whole, and do not post illegal streams. We will be trying our best to get posts up for the picks made when they happen. Once that’s done and the draft is over, I will attempt to summarize the Devils’ actions. So please bear with us throughout the morning and early afternoon. Thank you for reading and spending your time during the day on the site as the 2021 NHL Draft will complete the remaining rounds this afternoon.
After today, the offseason frenzy will continue. The third main event of this year’s offseason is on Wednesday. Free Agency Frenzy will begin at noon on July 28. Between the timing, a flat salary cap, and other teams with players who want out or teams that want to move players out, there will be a lot that can happen in a short amount of time. We shall see how much or how little of it involves the Devils and react to it as best as we can.