Sunday, June 20, 2010

38th - New Jersey Devils Draft Preview

For me, 'Red and Black' is the most overused colour scheme in pro sports. I always liked the original red and green look that New Jersey had although I'll admit, Christmas colours on a team called 'The Devils' is a bit of a miss match. Still, I do applaud the team for not tinkering with the actual crest design at all. Like Philadelphia, the Devils don't have an alternate logo although there are some creative fan-produced ones that can be found online.

1st Pick Last Year: Jacob Josefson (20th overall) – The Swede turned 19 in March and went on to finish the season with 8 goals and 20 points with Djurgardens in the SEL. The Devils have signed Josefson to an entry level deal so fans will get a chance to see him in action as early as September. However, New Jersey has never been in a rush to get players into a NHL uniform so maybe it’s wiser to expect Josefson on the Niklas Bergfors track rather than stepping right into the show.

The Good: Adam Henrique (82nd overall, 2008) – That extreme patience has meant that no prospect drafted in the last 5 years has made a significant contribution to the Devils yet. Therefore, I’m nominating the impact forward from the Windsor Spitfires for the honour. Henrique has been a big part of Windsor’s back-to-back Memorial Cup wins and also played for Canada in the World Junior Championship. It’s still early but at this point all arrows point up for this possible 4th round steal.

The Bad: Jeff Frazee (38th overall, 2005) – With few guys making it to the NHL yet it’s tough to really determine who has been a “bust” or not. I’m giving it to the goalie because 5 years after getting drafted he has yet to play in a single NHL game. His 2008-09 numbers are pretty decent but his save percentage, goals against average and winning percentage took a hit this past season in Lowell. That doesn't mean he's a "bust" and Frazee could still turn out to be a player; there's no rush when the big club has that Marty Brodeur guy in the line up.

The Unknown: Mattias Tedenby (24th overall, 2008) – The small but dynamic Swede has mesmerizing moves and put them on display for everyone to see during the World Junior Championship. There is no questioning Tedenby’s talent but the obvious concerns about his being able to play as effectively in the NHL, at 5’10, is valid. He scored 12 times in 44 SEL games this past year with HV71 and was signed by New Jersey in mid-May. (Photo: Matt Manor IIHF Images)

Coming Down The Pipe: The Devils have lots of forwards and defencemen in their system but only Frazee in net. Up front there is Tedenby, Josefson, Henrique and Nick Palmieri. On the backend you’ll find Matt Corrente, Alex Urbom, Eric Gelinas and Brandon Burlon. A lot of depth but not having the luxury of early picks, a couple of New Jersey’s more talented prospects do fall into the boom/bust category.

Draft Trends: New Jersey hasn’t drafted a goaltender since Jeff Frazee in 2005. In 6 of the last 7 drafts, the Devils chose a forward with their first pick including 2007 when they took Mike Hoeffel 57th overall. Sweden has definitely been the favorite European country for the Devils to pick from over the last 5 years. The Devils have drawn from Canadian Jr. ‘A’ leagues (mostly the BCHL) at least once in 9 of the last 10 years.

2010 Prediction 38th overall: Mark Alt (Cretin-Derham, HIGH-MN) – The 6’3, 200 lb blueliner played high school hockey in Minnesota this past season scoring 15 points in 22 games with Cretin-Derham. He was a finalist for the 2010 Mr. Hockey Award as the State’s top high school player. The two-sport player gave up a promising football career to concentrate on hockey. He’ll move to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2010-11. (Photo: Kyle Oen)

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