What a weekend it was to be a Devils’ fan. New Jersey was able to gain another young pillar and the potential face of the franchise in Jack Hughes as well as a true no. 1 defenseman in P.K. Subban. It was a huge win for the organization, and it has put the league on notice that the Devils time to rule the Eastern Conference is just over the horizon.
However, between all the raucous cheering of Hughes and Subban, there were 6 more rounds of the draft taking place that included 10 more selections by the Devils. Usually, I go through these picks in order but I’ve decided to mix it up. On Twitter, I ranked how much I liked each selection based on the value of the pick. So that is how I will go through this draft review.
Daniil Misyul (D, RUS)
Out of all the Devils picks on day 2, Misyul has the best odds at becoming a pro. He has already logged minutes in the KHL, both in the regular season and playoffs. He won’t dazzle anybody with his puck skills, but he is as reliable as they come. He knows where to be in his own end and has the size to clear the front of the net.
He isn’t a slouch with the puck, either, as he exudes a calm presence when moving up the ice. He doesn’t panic at the sight of a forechecker, and he has the skating necessary to elude defenders. If Misyul continues his upward projection, it wouldn’t be out of the realm for him to become a top-four defenseman in the NHL.
Nikola Pasic (C, SWE)
The Devils’ final pick of the draft might prove to be the most impactful. Pasic can do a little bit of everything on the ice. His main tool is probably his skating which he uses to fly up and down the ice and push defenses onto their heels. He also has the stickhandling and shot necessary to be a threat to score whenever he is on the ice. He can be whatever he needs to be on the ice.
Pasic has excelled in Sweden as well. He was over a point per game in the Swedish U-20 league and has some experience in the SHL as well. He has also been a guy the Swedish national junior team has turned to.
Pasic has clear Jesper Bratt vibes. I don’t know why he fell, but the Devils should be very thankful he did.
Patrick Moynihan (C, USA)
It seems like every member of the USNDP wanted to make sure Moynihan got drafted. They all raved about his ability to adapt to any situation in the lineup and how he would do anything to win. It is telling that Hughes asked the Devils’ front office about their thoughts on Moynihan in his pre-draft interview.
Moynihan looks to be a more skilled Joey Anderson. He can kill penalties, he can score goals, he can play on your checking line, and there isn’t a situation where Moynihan isn’t useful. Hughes predicts that he will become a captain at Providence College, and that goes to show Moynihan’s character.
Arseni Gritsyuk (LW, RUS)
Ok, when I first tweeted I hadn’t seen a ton of tape of Gritsyuk. Since then he has become one of my favorite picks of the draft. He plays a very mature game. He is constantly thinking out on the ice and plays every shift with high intensity. Within the MHL, he is one of the top players as far as his understanding of the game. He knows when to be physical and where to go on the ice to be a scoring threat.
On top of the mental side, Gritsyuk possesses some high-end skill. He is a great skater who uses his speed to push defenders back on their heels. His release is also very good on his wrist shot and he has good hands around the net as well.
It is easy to bet on a guy like Gritsyuk, who has a constant motor when he is on the ice and understands the game at a high level. All the Devils will need to do is hone in his skills and convince him to come over to North America.
Case McCarthy (D, USA)
McCarthy was another member of the USNDP that I wanted the Devils to look at. He always stood out when I watched as a smooth skating defenseman who can handle the puck. McCarthy was occasionally lost in the weeds as the USNDP was stacked with talent. But he also failed to truly separate himself on a mediocre blue line. However, he has some tools that he can fall back on and will have a chance to round his game out over the course of a couple of years at Boston University.
If McCarthy is able to develop on his defensive game, while continuing to progress offensively, he could be a gem. His skating is what separates him from his peers and if the rest of his skills can be harnessed, he definitely has the making of a solid pro defenseman.
Graeme Clarke (RW, CAN)
Clarke is a shooter. He had 23 goals in 52 OHL games last season. He has the best shot out of any of the players the Devils drafted. And he also has some flair to his game as evident by his lacrosse-style goal he scored last season. Clarke is somebody the Devils are betting on producing in a larger role as he continues through his OHL career. He certainly has the puck skills and offensive I.Q necessary to become a goal scorer at the next level.
Right wing is a position that is pretty thin within the Devils organization, and Clarke has a decent shot to move quickly through the ranks.
Nikita Okhotyuk (D, RUS)
Okhotyuk set the tone for this Devils’ draft. There was a clear focus in rounds 2-5 to get defenseman who are responsible in their own end and who can skate. He can chip in on offense but will never be relied on for points at the NHL level. The Devils are hoping that Okhotyuk can continue to excel in one-on-one defensive situations. He’s a smooth skater and keeps some pretty great gaps on defense. He is also big and knows how to use his weight around the net. Plus/minus may not be a great stat, but Okhotyuk was a +30 last season.
The upside wasn’t really there at 61, but Okhotyuk could become one of those unsung heroes in the NHL. A guy a team absolutely loves but will never have a highlight reel on Youtube.
Michael Vukojevic (D, CAN)
Every scouting report on Vukojevic raves about his skating. He uses his skating in order to be a punishing shutdown defenseman. He isn’t going to be a guy who forwards can just blow past. Vukojevic can keep gaps and when the time is right, he can use his size to separate opponents from the puck.
Vukojevic has some more offensive upside than Okhotyuk. He wasn’t relied upon for offense by any means, but he was able to put up 29 points in 68 games. He played alongside first-round pick Logan Stanley as well, who shouldered a good amount of the load on offense as well.
Vukojevic has similar upside to Okhotyuk. He is the more exciting of the two to watch, but I’m slightly more willing to bet on the former to reach his potential in the NHL.
Tyce Thompson (C, USA)
Thompson is the younger brother of 2016 first-round pick, Tage Thompson. He is an overager who has spent the past season at Providence College, putting up 25 points in 42 games while playing a depth role on a Friars’ squad that made the NCAA Frozen Four.
Thompson has a quick release and good hands around the net. After a productive freshman season, I would expect for him to gain a larger role in the Providence offense next season.
Cole Brady (G, CAN)
Brady will be playing his college hockey at Arizona State, which is pretty cool. I have nothing against Brady as a player and from all the scouting reports, he seems like a fine goalie to take a chance on. He is big in his net and some say he can be over-reliant on his size when making saves.
My problem with this pick is I am just against drafting goalies. Period. It is too volatile of a position to use an asset on. I’d rather the Devils focus on scouting professional goalies who can come over right away or take shots on guys via trade or free agency. It is just too hard of a position to project, especially when these goalies won’t even get a chance in the NHL until they are 22-23.