Once again, I am writing this kind of post. I do not like it, but I have to live in the world that is and not the world I wish it was.
The New Jersey Devils finished in the bottom ten positions in the league standings for a fourth straight season. Specifically, they finished 28th out of 32 teams with a record of 27-46-9. This was the fifth worst record in the NHL. This also means they have the fifth best odds to win the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery. The People Who Matter who are still paying attention will be focused on a random drawing of numbers tonight that will drive their fate for the 2022 NHL Draft in July.
The Time: 6:30 PM ET
The Location: The NHL Network studios in lovely Secaucus, New Jersey
The Broadcast: TV - ESPN, ESPN+, SportsNet, SN NOW, TVAS
The Song for the Night: Not so much a song, but a score. It is called “Jettison” by the brilliant people in And So I Watch You From Afar. Put it on, go do some things, and feel the expressions as you act.
The Lottery Process: For this year, the process has changed from last season. There will be two lottery drawings. A lottery winner can move up no more than 10 spots from where they finished in the season. This means that only 11 out of 16 teams in the drawing can actually win the first overall pick and only 12 out of 16 teams in the drawing can win the second overall pick. This means that Columbus’ own pick, the Islanders, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Las Vegas (whose first rounder is owned by Buffalo) cannot have the first overall pick this year. The latter four of that group cannot have the second overall pick, and so forth. No team can win a lottery more than twice in a five-year period. This means this year’s winners will not be locked out of winning the 2023 Draft Lottery. The odds were also adjusted.
Since the Devils finished fifth from last, they can win a first or second overall pick.
The Devils’ Draft Odds: From Tankathon, here are the odds for where the Devils could end up in the first round in tonight’s lottery:
- First Overall: 8.5%
- Second Overall: 8.8%
- Fifth Overall (no change): 24.5%
- Sixth Overall: 44.2%
- Seventh Overall: 13.9%
The reason why the Devils have better odds of dropping one or two spots is due to the probability of the other teams moving past them. Regardless, the Devils will have an opportunity to select among the best prospects the 2022 Draft Class has to offer. Should you want to simulate the lottery, Tankathon has that option here.
The Devils’ Draft Picks for 2022: The Devils currently own nine picks for the 2022 NHL Draft per CapFriendly. They have all of their original picks except for the fifth rounder, which was sent to Buffalo as part of the deal that shipped out Will Butcher last July.
The Devils own three picks acquired from other teams: Edmonton’s fourth round pick, the Islanders’ fourth round pick, and Columbus’ fifth round pick. Here is the background on all three:
- The Edmonton fourth rounder was the result of the conditional pick the Devils got in trading Dmitry Kulikov to the Oilers in 2021. The Oilers did not win a playoff round in 2021, so the pick stayed as a fourth rounder.
- The fourth round pick from the Islanders was a part of the Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac trade made in 2021. The pick had a condition that it would become a third rounder in 2022 or 2023 (Islanders’ choice) if the Islanders made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2021. They came close but did not make it, so it remained as a fourth rounder for this year.
- The Columbus fifth round pick was the return in the 2019 trade that sent Keith Kinkaid to Ohio. Yes, the Devils got a pick to be used in four years after that deal was made. New Jersey will finally use that pick - should they keep it.
As part of General Manager Tom Fitzgerald’s press conference last week, the GM stated that he would consider “potential options” with the team’s first round pick. Add it to the ongoing speculation as the Devils continue to “evaluate” everyone still with the organization.
The Devils’ Prospect System Needs: Brian wrote about that yesterday. Check it out here.
The Early Thoughts of the 2022 Draft Class: The pandemic has impacted just about everyone’s lives. For the 2022 draftees, the pandemic took away crucial developmental seasons. I may be too idealistic or optimistic, but I really do think that there could be some potential not yet realized since these players had their two pre-draft seasons undercut through no fault of their own.
That stated, there is not a lot of excitement for this year’s crop of young players beyond the big names expected go early in this draft class. That may change by the time July 7 gets closer. There are some interesting developments compared with past years that I would keep an eye on as we learn more about this year’s class.
- A change at the top? For the last four drafts, whoever was tabbed as the first overall pick ended up being the first overall pick. The last one I can remember was the Devils taking Nico Hischier over Nolan Patrick, who was the favorite to go first at the beginning of 2016-17. While Shane Wright has been picked as the one to go first in 2022 ever since he dropped 39 goals and 66 points as a 15 year old with Kingston of the OHL, I wonder if all of the extra eyes and expectations identified some concerns they did not see in the past. Maybe enough to cause some teams to look elsewhere. We shall see.
- This year should be seen as a golden one for Slovakian hockey as three Slovaks could be picked in the first round - possibly all among the lottery teams. Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS was a standout at the Olympics, Simon Nemec of HK Nitra may end up being the first defenseman drafted, and Filip Mesar of HK Poprad is one of the more interesting forwards in the middle of the first round.
- Where will Brad Lambert go? Like Aatu Räty, this Finnish prospect went from being highly touted and a possible first overall pick to someone slipping down after a rough 2021-22 in Liiga between JYP and Pelicans. Will he be the first Finn picked? Will he fall out of the lottery spots? Who knows.
- Continued glory for the USNTDP. The United States National Team Development Program continues to churn out prospects with bright futures. Logan Cooley may lead the way. But do not sleep on Frank Nazar III, Cutter Gauthier, Ike Howard, Cruz Lucius, Rutger McGroarty, Jimmy Snuggerud, and Seamus Casey. Cooley and a couple of those should be lottery picks; but do not be shocked if you see the draft results and keep seeing U.S. National U-18 Team multiple times throughout the draft year.
- No top end goaltender. For the past several drafts, there has been common refrain of “You should not want your team to take a goalie in the first round, except this guy who is amazing.” In 2019, that was Spencer Knight. In 2020, that was Yaroslav Askarov. In 2021, that was Jesper Wallstedt - who was not even the first goalie picked, Sebastian Cossa beat him by five picks. This year - that goaltender is not there. Goalies will be picked; just later.
- A Potential Lack of Russians in the First. There were not a lot of top-end Russian-based prospects for this class. Ivan Miroshnichenko was one of them, but he is now fighting Hodgkin lymphoma. While the diagnosis showed it is common and curable, hockey is understandably not his priority. Danila Yurov may be the first Russian selected, but it is hard to get a read on him between crushing a MHL he was too good for and not playing much at all for Metallurg in the KHL, racking up GPs but not minutes. Gleb Trikozov is a wildcard; an potential offensive force at forward with a lot of work need to be done defensively. This is not even considering the real factor of how the NHL teams see Russian-based players at all given the ongoing war Russia is waging. The Russian factor of the past was a real concern of whether a team can convince a prospect to leave the KHL. Now, it is involves whether they can bring them over at all. That will be a factor to some degree in this draft.
- Continue to feel old. It may not be in the first round, but the family bloodlines will continue to be there in 2022. This year’s draft class could include Marek Hejduk (Milan Hejduk’s son), Joshua Neidermayer (Scott’s son, Rob’s nephew), Jakub Kopecky (Tomas’ son), and twins Mattias and Hugo Havelid (Niclas’ sons, Mattias is a defenseman, Hugo is a goalie).
- As ever, new fun names to learn. We have a Logan, a Cutter, a Juraj, a Rutger, a Conor, a Jagger, and a Tristan among first names for first rounders. Logan Cooley, Jagger Firkus, Luca Del Bel Belluz, Cutter Gauthier, Conor Geekie, Rieger Lorenz, Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Maveric Lamoureux, Isac Born, Jake Furlong, Dennis Good Bogg, Julian Lutz, Pano Fimis, Niklas Kokko, Brady Stonehouse, Alex Bump, Wyatt Wurst, and the Other Jack Hughes may not all be first rounders this year, but they have first round level names that you would expect a video game to come up with to generate players.
The Draft Profiles: They will begin later this month.
The Discussion: Please feel free to discuss and react to the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery in the comments in this post. You may also discuss the 2022 draft in general in the comments as well. Discussion for the playoffs (NHL and AHL, which will be up later today) should go to those respective open posts. Site rules apply as always. Keep all comments clean, stream-less, and respectful. Go lottery combinations, I suppose.