The New Jersey Devils will enter the 2020 NHL Draft armed with three first-round picks. Here are nine forwards they should take a serious look at.
This season, the New Jersey Devils have been a massive disappointment. After acquiring the likes of PK Subban and the promising Nikita Gusev via trade, Wayne Simmonds via free agency, and Jack Hughes via the draft with the number one pick, it’s safe to assume there were high hopes for this Devils team. However, they currently stand at 28-29-12 on the year and are currently projected with the sixth overall selection.
Because of the poor season, the Devils shipped off two important pieces of their roster in Taylor Hall and Blake Coleman. Both players reeled in first round picks in 2020. Hall was sent to Arizona, and following that trade, the Coyotes have struggled, giving the Devils what is currently projected as the 10th overall pick.
Meanwhile, Coleman was sent to Tampa, who in turn gave them the Canucks conditional 1st round pick, which is slated to be the 17th overall pick. However, with the uncertainty of continuing the season, leaving the conditions for picks to be up in the air, this pick is shaky, at best. But let’s just go on the assumption that it does end up being the 17th pick in the draft, for the sake of this article.
Currently, Tom Fitzgerald is the interim general manager for the Devils after Ray Shero was fired during the season. Fitzgerald served as an assistant general manager for the Penguins from 2009-2015 before joining the Devils as an assistant general manager.
Because he has never been a general manager before this season and has never run a draft as the general manager, I decided to look at who he drafted as an assistant general manager with the Devils from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to the most recent draft in 2019.
I will look at the heights, weights and nationalities of every player that was selected in that time frame to determine whether or not there were any trends that show what kind of players Fitzgerald liked in a limited capacity. These numbers must be taken with a grain of salt, as he wasn’t the general manager during this time.
Since becoming the assistant GM of the Devils, Fitzgerald has selected 41 total players, including 24 forwards, 12 defensemen, and five goalies.
To start, let’s look at the 24 forwards that were selected. Of the 24 drafted forwards, seven were Canadian, four were American, four were Swedish, three were Russian, two were Finnish, one was Slovak, one was Czech, one was Swiss, and one was Belarusian.
A majority of the forwards fell between 5’10″ and 6’0″ tall, as six were 5’11″, five were 6’0″, and four were 5’10″. Also, a majority of those forwards fell between 170 and 190 pounds, as 14 of them fell into that range. With all that in mind, I narrowed down three forwards that could be selected at each of their three picks.