Once again, thank you to all fans that participated in our first ever DAB mailbag. Part one of the series can be found here. Below, is part two where you can find the remaining three questions asked by you our followers answered by myself. Here’s to hoping for the return of sports soon!
Question #5 (courtesy of Shawn B. via Facebook) Lucas Raymond or Alexander Holtz?
The Devils will most likely pick around the sixth slot. If none of the top guys — see my full top-10 list below — fall to New Jersey, both Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz would be a terrific selection. The comparison, specifically regarding production, is easier to make given they both play in Sweden.
Starting with Raymond, once regarded as a top-three prospect, the 18-year-old winger has slipped slightly on several people’s boards. On the final NHL European prospect ranking list, he checked in at fifth after being second on the midterm rankings. In Sweden’s SuperElit league Raymond played nine games, tallying 14 points, after moving up to the SHL Raymond played 33 games, tallying 10 points. In the 2020 World Junior Championships, he racked up four points in seven games.
Raymond is on the smaller side only, at 165 pounds, and a height of 5-foot-10. Thus, he will need some time to fill out and put some muscle on. Scouting reports see him as more of a playmaker rather than a goal-scorer, and he is also reportedly defensively-sound, as he sees extended run on the penalty kill. All-in-all, he is one of many solid forward prospects that will come off the board early in this upcoming draft.
Holtz, on the other hand, is larger than Raymond, as he is listed at 6-foot and 183 pounds. Unlike Raymond, he moved up the final NHL European prospect ranking list to second. In the SuperElit Holtz tallied nine points (seven goals) in only three games. Once in the SHL, he played 35 games, where he racked up 16 points. Holtz also played for Team Sweden in the 2020 World Junior Championships and contributed five points in seven games. His offensive game is a little different than Raymond’s, as he is more of a pure goal-scorer. He will also be one of the first forwards taken in this draft.
Both are stellar forward prospects and whoever lands them is going to be pleased with their outputs. As of right now, I’d prefer Holtz given due to his ability to score. Holtz has also outproduced and had more of an impact in the Swedish leagues than Raymond has up to this point. The Devils are in dire need of a pure-scorer, and Holtz fits this need perfectly.
Question #6 (courtesy of Ben Z via Twitter) Top 10 draft rankings for Devils?
Once we get closer to draft day, and the NHL clarifies when the actual draft will be we will be releasing profiles on prospects the Devils may want to take. But until then, I will supply my top-10 prospect ranking list below. Further analysis, as I said above, will follow closer to draft day.
- Alexis Lafreniere (LW, QMJHL)
- Quinton Byfield (C, OHL)
- Tim Stützle (LW, DEL)
- Marco Rossi (C, OHL)
- Cole Perfetti (C, OHL)
- Alexander Holtz (RW, SHL)
- Jamie Drysdale (D, OHL)
- Lucas Raymond (LW, SHL)
- Anton Lundell (C, Liiga)
- Jake Sanderson (D, USNTDP)
Question #7 (courtesy of EJ M. via Facebook) Should the Devils trade one of their extra first-round picks for a top younger defenseman?
This is a great question. As many fans know, the Devils have up to three first-round picks entering this draft, depending of course on the conditions of the extra two picks. With these three picks, they have a ton of options. They can, like you mentioned, flip one for an NHL-ready player, trade back and replenish their lacking supply of mid-round picks (see summary of Devils’ picks below), or simply just hold on to all three makes selections given how deep this draft is.
With this said, the Devils should use at least two of their first-rounders. As mentioned above, this draft is extremely deep, and given where the Devils are, young, promising prospects are much-welcomed. With the last pick, I would expect whoever the general manager is to try to move it. Getting an NHL-ready player, whether it be on defense or offense given the Devils have formidable needs in both areas, is a great option.
However, the Devils should first try to trade back and replenish their lack of mid-round selections. By doing this, they’ll not only have ammunition to still pursue a trade for an NHL-ready player but also have the option to draft multiple players and have not only quality but also depth in their system.