It has been a while. While the Tampa Bay Lightning were riding out storms to the Finals and the Colorado Avalanche buried opponents to win the 2022 Stanley Cup, the New Jersey Devils have been largely idle. For most of the People Who Matter, the better part of the last two months had plenty of discussion about what the Devils would do at the 2022 NHL Draft. On May 10, they won a lottery to pick second overall. Will they use the pick at all? If so, who will they take? We’ve profiled players, we’ve discussed it amongst ourselves, we’ve made a mock draft pick, and you all have had hundreds of comments across many posts about it. We will finally know what will happen tonight. The 2022 NHL Draft is happening tonight.
The Event: The 2022 NHL Draft
The Location: The Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The First Day: Thursday, July 7, 2022
The Rounds Selected on the First Day: The First Round
The First Day Start Time: 7:00 PM ET (Doors open at 5 PM ET)
The First Day Broadcast: TV - ESPN, Sportsnet, TVAS; Digital - ESPN+
The First Day Pick for the Devils: Barring any trades, the Devils own the 2nd overall pick in the first round. The Devils earned this pick by winning one of the two lotteries in the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery.
The Second Day: Friday, July 8, 2022
The Rounds Selected on the Second Day: The Second Round to the Seventh Round
The Second Day Start Time: 11:00 AM ET (Doors open at 9:30 AM ET)
The Second Day Broadcast: TV - NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVAS; Digital - ESPN+
The Second Day Picks for the Devils: The Devils currently have seven picks for the second day barring any trades. The full ordered list of all 225 picks is here.
- Second round - 37th overall
- Third round - 70th overall
- Fourth round - 102nd overall, 110th overall (originally the Islanders’ pick), 126th overall (originally Edmonton’s pick)
- Fifth round - 141st overall (originally Columbus’ pick)
- Sixth round - 166th overall
- Seventh round - 198th overall
The Devils own all of their picks except for two of their three fourth rounders and their fifth round pick. The Devils traded their 2022 fifth rounder to Buffalo as part of the deal that gave them Will Butcher. (An odd move as it was a dump made on the first day of 2021’s free agency.) The Devils received Edmonton’s fourth rounder as part of the trade that sent Dmitry Kulikov to the Oilers at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline. The Oilers did not win a playoff round in 2021, so the pick is a fourth rounder and not a third rounder. The Islanders’ fourth round pick will complete the 2021 trade that sent the Pride of Montvale, New Jersey, Kyle Palmieri, and Travis Zajac to Long Island. The pick was conditional on whether the Isles made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2021. They did not, so they get this 2022 fourth round pick. The Columbus pick is the result of an even older trade. It was the return for the Devils sending Keith Kinkaid to Columbus at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline. We will finally see that trade get closed out on July 8 too.
Will the Devils Use All of These Picks?: As always, the answer is maybe. Although, I would not expect a lot of movement if the Devils enter tonight with all of these picks. While second overall may have been the source of a lot of chatter for a deal, it has yet to materialize into anything. Unless something dramatic happens during today or even in the run up to the actual pick, I would expect the Devils to use that second overall selection. Fitzgerald emphasized in a press conference yesterday that he thinks second overall is a significant asset and he would want one in return with control. Further, general manager Tom Fitzgerald has opted to use all of the picks he had last year, which followed his first NHL Draft as GM where the Devils used all of their picks as well. That is more reason to err on the side of all eight picks yielding eight new prospects for the organization between tonight and tomorrow. Of course, plans and situations are subject to change.
Who Do You Think the Devils Will Draft?: The most important pick in a draft class is usually the first one. For the Devils this year, that is second overall. Our mock draft pick at SBN was Logan Cooley. Many of the People Who Matter reacted to that by saying it should have been Juraj Slafkovsky. A collection of mock drafts would agree as a majority mocked Slafkovsky to New Jersey; although there were a few that did not pick the Slovakian winger and either had New Jersey taking Cooley, defenseman Simon Nemec, or defenseman David Jiricek. And if Shane Wright does not go first overall to Montreal, then he could very well end up being the Devils’ pick. That would be the pool to expect for second overall - assuming the Devils keep the pick.
Beyond the first round, there are a couple of trends to look for with the Devils. One is a goaltender. While this year’s draft class may be light on goaltending talent, it is still a position of seeming constant need in the pool. Devils have drafted one goalie in every draft since 2015. In order: Mackenzie Blackwood, Evan Cormier, Gilles Senn, Akira Schmid, Cole Brady, Nico Daws, and Jakub Malek. I do not see that trend breaking given the number of mid-round picks the Devils own.
Another trend are Russia/KHL-related prospects. Since Paul Castron joined the organization after the 2015 NHL Draft, the Devils have drafted at least one such player in every draft from 2016 onward. Mikhail Maltsev and Yegor Rykov in 2016; Yegor Zaitsev in 2017; Yegor Sharangovich in 2018 (he played in the KHL); Daniil Misyul and Arseni Gritsyuk in 2019; Shakir Mukhamadullin in 2020; and Zakhar Bardakov in 2021. The Devils have not been put off by the “Russian factor;” although the awfulness involving Ivan Fedotov could be enough for New Jersey and other teams to say ‘no’ to Russian/KHL-related prospects.
A third trend that could continue would be OHL-based players. The Canadian major junior league largely based in Ontario has been like a factory of NHL prospects for decades now. The Devils have consistently pulled from that league with at least one player picked from that league since 2012. This trend could break in part that this year’s draft class from the ‘O’ is weaker than usual. But, again, with multiple fourth rounders among their seven picks on the second day, the Devils can afford to take a flyer on someone later if they so choose.
It will be something to keep an eye on as the draft goes on, especially through the second day of the draft.
Who Did AAtJ Profile This Year?: If you want to do some last minute reading, here is a list of all of the prospect profiles we have done this year as a group.
Jack Hughes (not that one), Joakim Kemell, Mattias Havelid, Aleksanteri Kaskimaki, Filip Bystedt, Hugo Havelid, Logan Cooley, Lane Hutson, Julian Lutz, Adam Ingram, Jordan Dumais, Simon Nemec, Alexander Perevalov, Adam Sykora, Gleb Trikozov, Alexander Suzdalev, Juraj Slafkovsky, David Goyette, Christian Kyrou, Topias Leinonen, Elias Salomonsson, Shane Wright, Nicholas Moldenhauer, Isaiah George, Tyler Brennan, Tomas Hamara, David Jiricek, Danny Zhilkin, Devin Kaplan, and Tyler Muszelik.
I Like Draft Prospects, Who Should I Check Out to Learn More About Them: There are plenty of resources available online to get more involved with draft prospects. These people and sites informed our prospect profiles and our own opinions about this year’s draft class. In no particular order:
- Elite Prospects
- Smaht Scouting, led by Josh Tessler
- Scouching, led by Will Scouch. His Youtube channel is a must.
- Dobber Prospects
- Ben Kerr at Last Word on Hockey
- The Draft Analyst, led by Steve Kournianos
- Brock Otten of OHL Prospects
- Future Considerations
- McKeen’s Hockey ($)
- The Athletic ($) featuring Corey Pronman and Scott Wheeler
- The Hockey Writers
OK, But What About the Names? What Are the Cool Looking/Sounding Names in This Year’s Draft Class?: Here’s a selection of names that just stick out purely for their names (links to their Elite Prospects profile pages unless we’ve profiled them, then please refer to the earlier section for our profile of the player):
Gleb Trikozov, Conor Geekie of Winnipeg (WHL), Luca Del Bel Belluz of Mississauga (OHL), Rutger McGroarty of USNTDP, Jagger Firkus of Moose Jaw (WHL), Rieger Lorenz of Okotoks (AJHL), Maveric Lamoureux of Drummondville (QMJHL), Tristan Luneau of Gatineau (QMJHL), Alex Bump of Omaha (USHL), Jack Hughes of Northeastern, Marian Mosko of Lincoln (USHL), Amadeus Lombardi of Flint (OHL), François-James Buteau of Cape Breton (QMJHL), Chris Romaine of Milton Academy (U.S. Prep), Zaccharya Wisdom of Cedar Rapids (USHL), Parker Bell of Tri-City (WHL), Keaton Dowhaniuk of Prince George (WHL), Bogdans Hodass of Medicine Hat (WHL), Axel Mangbo of Sioux City (USHL), Platon Zadorozhny of Muskegon (USHL), Hobie Hedquist of Alberni Valley (BCHL), Julian Lutz, Yaroslav Yapparov of Mamonty Yugry (MHL), Maximilian Kilpinen of Örebro HK J20 (J20 Nationell), Nikita Blednov of Avto Yekaterinburg (MHL), Samu Bau of HIFK U-20 (U-20 SM-sarja), Pavel Kamko of Metallurg Cherepovets (NMHL) and Almaz Cherepovets (MHL), Helmer Styf of MoDo Hockey (Hockey Allsvenskan), Theo Widén Schade of Brynäs IF J20 (J20 Nationell), Alexander Blank of Düsseldorfer EG (DEL), Michael Schnattinger of HC Kometa Brno U-20 (Czechia U-20), Jimi Suomi of TPS (Liiga), Niklas Kokko of Kärpät U-20 (U-20 SM-sarja), Marcel Marcel of HC Plzen U-20 (Czechia U-20) and HC Plzen (Czechia)
And my personal favorite for this year’s draft class:
Goaltender Croix Kochendorfer of Chippewa (NAHL) - This goaltender has a name that could be the result of a FM-generated name for a newgen player, a versatile name for a created character in a RPG, and/or one to proclaim for or against. “You’ve crossed me for the last time, Kochendorfer!”
What Are You Doing for the 2022 NHL Draft?: We will try to have a post up with a poll for every pick made. If there is a significant trade, we will cover that too. We will continue our practice of having something short up and updating it later with more information. As there are multiple picks in the first round, I will have a summary for each day’s activities in the evening of each day. Of course, there will be an open post for each draft day for you to have your say about anything and everything happening at the 2022 NHL Draft.
The draft will take place tonight to continue what has already been a very busy and active week of activity in the NHL. Please leave your thoughts, expectations, hopes, and dreams for the 2022 NHL Draft in the comments. Thank you for reading this year’s preview of the 2022 NHL Draft for the New Jersey Devils. Go Devils.