With sources such as Bob McKenzie, TSN’s Craig Button and websites such as draftsite.com publishing 2020 NHL Draft rankings, I felt it is my duty to give my perspective on the players that they expect to be selected later this year by the New Jersey Devils. Throughout this article, I will go over the players that many big-name sources have ranked in the three slots currently belonging to the New Jersey Devils. As of now, the Devils are slated to own picks six, 10 and 17 in the first round of the upcoming draft.
DraftSite and Bob McKenzie list Swedish sniper Alexander Holtz at No. 6. Holtz is a pure goal-scoring winger who knows how to get the job done, but he’s still a one-dimensional player that specializes in the offensive zone. Craig Button, on the other hand, ranked Jack Quinn at No. 6. I wouldn’t mind taking Quinn that early, although the young Canadian right-winger is projected by Dobber Prospects to go in the 20-40 range.
The New Jersey Devils have had their scouts and many eyes and ears following the Ottawa 67’s organization for a long time. They own the rights to multiple players from the 67’s in Graham Clarke, Nikita Okhotyuk, Kevin Bahl and Mitchell Hoelscher. Although McKenzie, DraftSite and Craig Button have Quinn at six and 17, my forecast is that he’ll fall into the NHL Draft’s second round.
So if I’m looking for a perfect player to pick at #17, my guess is that some teams will overlook and pass on Yaroslav Askarov over several variables. Although he is considered by many to be a future all-star goaltender, he still needs some fine-tuning in his overall game and should stay in the KHL for at least a couple of years for development purposes. Some scouts are also reluctant to draft goaltenders high as they tend to be tougher then skaters to predict. The other variable is the unpredictability of when Askarov may come over to North America and if he ever will.
However, as the New Jersey Devils look to find a goaltender who will play with Mackenzie Blackwood for the foreseeable future, a goalie who could succeed with him would be Yaroslav Askarov. When Askarov learns to be a bit tighter, and have better angles on his glove side, he will be nothing short of magnificent. We have seen Russian goaltenders year in and year out go beyond their original call to duty between the pipes. Askarov is my 17th overall pick, making him a bit higher than countryman Andrei Vasilevskiy at 19th overall in 2012.
So if I’m on draft day and my perfect selections for the Devils with the sixth, 10th and 17th pick do occur, I’m gonna tell you who I would pick and why. Sixth overall is Lucas Raymond, a winger who can go from being in low-danger areas to creating amazing plays getting the netminder out of position to create a dangerous scoring chance. He can create offence from high danger areas, being in the slot or from tougher areas such as below the point. Give him extra time and space in mid-high danger areas and Raymond will score like a Swedish, David Pastrnak.
With the 10th overall pick, I really like defenseman Jake Sanderson. In the last few drafts, the New Jersey Devils have been adding defensemen with grit and physicality and Sanderson fits the bill. Sanderson is still young and is committed to North Dakota University to play Division I NCAA Hockey.
This is the perfect place for the big, gritty defenseman to round out his game and develop for a few years. The New Jersey Devils have Matthew Hellickson, Kevin Bahl, Daniil Misyul and Nikita Okhotyuk as the batch of defensemen to move up in the pipeline to the big club. These players moving up should buy time for a kid like Sanderson to become a top pairing NHL defenseman.
DraftSite.com and Bob McKenzie have Alexander Holtz at No. 6 which is if countryman Lucas Raymond isn’t available. Holtz would be a great selection. Holtz, to me, is the Swedish version of Patrik Laine, but with more speed, maneuverability and thinks the game much clearer.
DraftSite and I both agree on Sanderson at #10, however, I do disagree with Craig Button on Jack Quinn going sixth overall. Although Quinn is a great goal-scorer and has the potential to become a great NHL player, I think drafting him sixth overall is perhaps a bit of a stretch.
Hendrix Lapierre is a pretty gifted offensive winger and is someone I do agree with Craig Button about as being a wild card that the Devils can take a flyer on. Lapierre recorded 17 points in 19 games in an injury-plagued season with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL. I have to credit Mr. Button on his recent evaluation. The Devils have been known for making interesting wild card picks and would not be afraid of going for a wild-card in Hendrix Lapierre.
Jersey Joe Picks For The New Jersey Devils:
No. 6: Lucas Raymond
No. 10: Jake Sanderson
No. 17: Yaroslav Askarov
Alexander Holtz, Hendrix Lapierre, Jack Quinn