It hasn’t even been 48 hours since the New Jersey Devils claimed another draft lottery win (only moving up to #2, but hey, a win is a win), but there’s already excitement swirling around the pick. From which players they could have their choice of, to using it for organizational need, to why it shouldn’t be moved for help in net, a lot has already been touched upon.
When General Manager Tom Fitzgerald stated the pick could be moved to help the team, the selection wasn’t the second choice. There had been rumors and rumblings that the Devils could trade the pick for more immediate help straight up, the same way they did when they moved the ninth overall selection in 2013 for Cory Schneider. That option is probably now highly unlikely, unless a team is offering a premiere asset, which most teams will not do for what is essentially a high potential magic bean. Could there still be a trade out there to be made though?
The variable at play here is that any outside observers, be we fans, writers or both, really don’t know how the Devils rank/value the prospects of this year’s draft class. Adding another problematic layer to the variable is that outside of Shane Wright more than likely going first overall, there’s not really a lot of consensus choices among any mock drafts. Sure, there are players who fall into higher ranges than others, but I’ve yet to see anyone clear cut at #2.
While the second overall isn’t moving one for one as the ninth did in 2013, perhaps the Devils trade down to both get the guy they like and to pick up an additional asset. Now I do want to say that if they trade down just to pick up an extra second rounder, or the like, they’d better have a plan for those extra picks. I would rather see them swing a deal that sees them move down a couple of spots (still getting the desired draftee) while also picking up someone who can be of use at the NHL level.
I’m not sure what this deal would look like, and there are so many factors at play here: who might be looking to move up, what prospect is it that other teams might be targeting and the fact that the Devils shouldn’t trade with the Second Rate Rivals no matter what are just a few that immediately spring to mind. There’s also the matter of any NHL or NHL-ready asset that could realistically be on the table in this type of deal, and a couple of the teams behind the Devils who are looking to move up don’t appear to have many enticing ones that they would be willing to part with.
The boring option of “trading down for extra picks” seems like it could be the path taken if the Devils do choose to move down. I don’t think it would be wise or worth it necessarily, unless again someone is offering a player of consequence for a couple of seconds and moving down would let Fitzgerald make that move. I still could see the Devils move down and maybe get a player in a position crunch, like a Jonas Siegenthaler, which if said player panned out as Jonas did this season, would be amazing asset management. With the bump up to second overall though, I think a trade is now much less likely, although stranger things have happened.
As long as we get to draft day and the offseason this summer making the necessary moves to make the team viable again, the hope is that whether we move down or not, the Devils get the best player(s) they possibly can.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of the Devils trading down from second overall; do you think the team could do it? Do you think the team SHOULD do it? If you want them to trade down, do you think the extra asset coming to New Jersey is more likely to be picks or players? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!