Last night, the New Jersey Devils drafted Simon Nemec at second overall. They went up early and their night was finished. Generally, whoever is picked first plays a large role as to whether a team’s draft class becomes successful in time. After all, they were picked first. However, teams that can find future NHL players today will be far better off in the future. Today is when a lot of the hard work from scouts, analysts, and management could make their organization’s future brighter. Today is a hopefully faster day at the draft compared to the last two years since everyone is in person. Today is the second day of the 2022 NHL Draft. The New Jersey Devils currently have eight picks. We shall see what they do.
The Time: 11:00 AM ET
The Broadcast: TV - NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVAS; Digital - ESPN+
The First Pick: HK Nitra defenseman Simon Nemec at second overall.
The Devils’ Picks Today: Assuming nothing was gained or removed between yesterday evening and this post, they have eight picks today:
- 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 AAtJ Draft Preview and Prospect Profiles for 2022: 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 2022. Most of them will likely go quick in the second round or third round, so read (or re-read) them quickly.
First Round Thoughts: I will include more of them in the summary post this evening for the whole draft. That said, I will include a couple thoughts here:
- Montreal made history with Juraj Slafkovsky; the first ever Slovak to go first overall. The Devils’ pick added to Slovak hockey history with the Nemec at second overall (and the highest Slovak league player picked). Their two deals that ultimately turn Alexander Romanov and picks into Kirby Dach were at least well received. Slovak hockey got another boost from Filip Mesar going to Montreal at 26th overall.
- I do not understand Chicago claiming to rebuild, trading 24-year old Alex DeBrincat and 21-year old Kirby Dach away, and loading up on picks in this draft. But they did it. They went into last night with zero first rounders and ende dup taking Kevin Korchinski at 7th overall, Frank Nazar at 13th overall, and Sam Rinzel at 25th. That’s some business.
- Arizona is the other team clearly in a rebuild. They picked Logan Cooley over Shane Wright at 3, traded up to take Conor Geekie, and then picked up Zach Kassian, a 2024, and a 2025 pick to swap late firsts with Edmonton - taking Maveric Lamoureux with the last one. I guess I should write good job, but I’m not sure?
- Shane Wright falling to fourth makes Corey Pronman look prescient. I still think this may be regrettable (especially for Arizona), but I am a fan of Wright.
- Do you like big defensemen? Only one under the height of six feet was taken last night, Denton Mateychuk at 12th overall. The last four of the nine defenders taken were at least 6’4” with Maveric Lamoureux going to Arizona at 29th.
- Swedish and Finnish players definitely slipped. The first SHL based player taken was the Austrian Marco Kasper at 8th overall by Detroit. The first Swedish player went to Vancouver at 15th, Jonathan Lekkerimaki. That kicked off a mini-run on Swedish-based players with Noah Oslund going to Buffalo at 16, Liam Ohgren at 19, Swiss defender Lian Bichsel going to Dallas at 18. After that, though, only one more was taken: Filip Bystedt. Joakim Kemell fell from a lottery pick to 17th overall to Nashville. Brad Lambert did not suffer Aatu Raty’s fate, but he fell all the way to 30th overall to Winnipeg. Those were the only two Finns taken in the first round.
- The Russians taken: Pavel Mintyukov at 10th overall to Anaheim, who played in the OHL last season; Ivan Miroshnichenko at 20th overall to Washington; and Danila Yurov at 24th overall to Minnesota. I’m glad there was not a total shut out of Russian-based players and I’m happy to see Miroschnichenko taken as he is in remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I still think this area may not be well tread this year between KHL deals and what is happening to Ivan Fedotov.
- Players to watch for early in Round 2: Gleb Trikozov is a player I hope slips to 37. Jagger Firkus could be a fun project as he is fast. There is the other Jack Hughes for depth and meme purposes. Owen Beck and David Goyette are also quick forwards who can attack. Adam Sykora’s upside is intriguing and could be worth the pick at 37. If the Devils didn’t take Nemec, then I would think a defenseman would be more likely. And if they opt for one at 37th overall, Ryan Chesley, Vladimir Grudinin, Mattias Havelid, Tristan Luneau, Seamus Casey and the small unicorn named Lane Hutson are ones to look for.
- Other trends to watch for with the Devils’ picks today: Expect at least a goalie, a Russian/KHL-based player, and an OHL-based player. They have consistently picked these players in drafts for years now.
- I’m OK with the Nemec pick. I respect it. I would have taken Wright instead. But it is what it is. That remains as my stance on the Devils’ pick.
A Reminder: This day is expected to go faster than last night. 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 after 8 PM ET 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 2022 NHL Draft will complete the remaining rounds this afternoon.
After today, the next major offseason event will take place in less than a week. Free Agency Frenzy will begin at noon on Wednesday, July 13. That is less than a week from today. There will be a lot that can happen in a short amount of time within the league. We shall see how much or how little of it involves the Devils and react to it as best as we can. Thank you for reading.