Today is Day 1 of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Devils, for the first time in what seems like forever, actually have a decent drafting position. After missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996 and subsequently winning the draft lottery, the Devils find themselves in the 4th drafting position (the highest position they’ve had since they held the #3 spot in 1991).
So, who do the Devils have their eyes on in this entry draft? No one not named Lou Lamoriello or David Conte knows for sure, but Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice (http://blogs.northjersey.com/blogs/fireice) has reported that there are seven prospects that the Devils have had two interviews with. These include: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C), Adam Larsson (D), Jonathan Huberdeau (F) and Gabriel Landeskog (F) (who are widely considered to be this year’s top four overall prospects). The remaining three are: Sean Couturier (C), Ryan Murphy (D) and Ryan Strome (C). If the Devils pick one of the three prospects that are not considered to be in the top 4 overall, then they will likely be able to trade down their number 4 pick to a team with a lower pick and, in the process, could acquire better picks for the following rounds or future years’ drafts and even current prospects and players . You can watch live coverage of the 1st round of the draft starting tonight at 7pm on Versus.
As mentioned above, this year’s 4th pick will be the highest the Devils have had since their 3rd pick in 1991. The Devils used that pick to acquire Scott Niedermayer who went on to become not only one of the greatest Devils players of all time but also one of the greatest defensemen to ever play in the NHL. Here’s to hoping the Devils choose just as wisely this year!