Devils 2019 Draft Preview II: the Middle Rounds

All eyes will be on general manager Ray Shero when he makes the first overall selection of the NHL Draft. However, the job doesn’t end when he picks Jack Hughes. The second day of the draft is what separates teams who draft well and teams who don’t. The Devils have actually done a great job the past few years on making the second day a success. Relative to the league, more of their picks have been hits than misses.

So once the pomp and circumstance wears off, that is when the Devils scouting department will make their money. Here are a few names who should be on the Devils’ radar on Saturday morning.

Second Round

Anttoni Honka (D, FIN):

Last year, Ryan Merkley was the poster boy for a defenseman who has all the offensive tools. This year it is Anttoni Honka. Honka is undersized but that really shouldn’t matter. He is a wizard with the puck and is one of the best players in this class at transitioning from defense to offense.

Honka stylistically can conjure up images of Quinn Hughes. He is smooth on his skates, extremely agile, and has high class puck skills. Honka has shown time and time again he is a premiere puck mover. If he is able to hone his defensive game even a little bit, he could be an extremely dynamic power play quarterback in the NHL, having an impact similar to a Shayne Gostisbehere type player. Honka has the potential to be one of the biggest steals in the second round.

Simon Holmstrom (RW, SWE):

Coming into this past season, Holmstrom was widely regarded as the most skilled Swedish forward in this draft class. Unfortunately, he dealt with injuries early in the year and his stock diminished because of that. He finished the season with a strong showing at U-18’s, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to get him securely back in the first round.

Thru 49 career games in the SuperElit league, Holmstrom has posted 50 points. His main attributes are his deft skating ability and his vision on the ice. He’s a playmaking winger who can make everyone on his line better.

Samuel Fagemo (C, SWE)

Probably my favorite forward in the second round despite being an overager. Fagemo spent most of this past season in the SHL playing against men. And he didn’t look out of place either as he put up 25 points in 41 games. He’s a goal scorer through and through, he loves shooting the puck and is basically the complete package of what an NHL team is looking for in a goal scorer.

Fagemo is on the speedier side and also has hands to help create shot angles. He isn’t small and isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. Most importantly, he isn’t a passenger when he doesn’t have the puck, he is active in his own end and would be described as a puck hound. He wants the puck because he wants to score.

Third Round+

Valentin Nussbaumer (W, SWI):

Nussbaumer shouldn’t be available in the third round. He will be, but he shouldn’t be. He’s one of the most effective skilled wingers in this class. At the World Juniors, he was one of Switzerland’s more dynamic offensive options as an underager. Nussbaumer is a goalscoring winger who relies on his smooth skating and quick hands to get him in position to utilize his accurate shot.

His numbers in the QMJHL are weak due to his team being one of the worst in the entire CHL. It was also Nussbaumer’s first experience on North American ice. He’s one of my favorite mid-round steals this year, and the Devils would be extremely smart to bet on his skill.

Case McCarthy (D, US):

Outside of Cam York, Case McCarthy is probably the most offensively gifted defenseman on the USNTDP. McCarthy excels due to his skating. It is his number one asset and a skill a team can bank on in the later rounds. He has also shown some offensive upside as well as he is an above average puck handler and likes to shoot the puck.

McCarthy will spend the next couple of seasons at Boston University, where he will hopefully hone in on his defensive game. He’s more of a long-term project, but he certainly has some tools that project him to potentially be a successful pro defenseman. Not a terrible shot to take later in the draft.

Patrick Moynihan (C, US):

When members of the USNTDP were asked who the most underrated player on their team was, they all had the same answer: “Patrick Moynihan.” Moynihan is a faster, more skilled version of Joey Anderson, meaning he is a jack of all trades. He played up and down the USNTDP lineup this past season. He can play with high skilled guys like Jack Hughes and Trevor Zegras or play in a checking penalty kill role.

Hughes said he wouldn’t be surprised if Moynihan becomes captain at Providence College. After all this praise Moynihan won’t be on the board very long, but he is definitely somebody the Devils should target. He is the type of high skill, character player that teams can bet on.

Other names to keep in mind

Henry Thrun (D, US)

Tobias Bjornfot (D, SWE)

Robert Mastrosimone (LW, US)

Mad Sogaard (G, DEN)

Ben Brinkman (D, US)

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