The Devils had a very uneventful draft this year - in part because the GM was seen more often on the beach than in the war room - but also because the team had traded it's 1st round pick a few days before the draft for winger Brooks Laich. The Devils haven't been a team that is willing to trade it's pick for some time now, but with good info telling them that Jeff Skinner and Austin Watson woudln't be around for their pick at 16th, the team felt like they could afford to move the pick. Originally flip flopping between Patrick Sharp and Brooks Laich the team ended up getting Laich because...well, Sharp went to another team. Sharp would have fit the team even better seeing as he could fill in and play center if needed - however the team has some good depth at C so getting a winger to play behind Kane should work out great.
Last season one of the teams true weakenesses was LW behind Kane, so with Laich filling in there and likely playing with Savard at center and Stempniak at right it gives the team really top six offense. Laich is also not shy when it comes to physical play and he should be able to play the PK with Zajac very easily. The team sees Laich as a perfect replacement to Kobasew who will be either a 4th liner next season or waived - after many years of great service to the team.
Also leaving was Andrew Ladd, who the team was hesitant to give up on but he hasn't shown the progress the team wanted since he came over in the Iginla deal 3 years ago. He still can't get over the hump of being an average 3rd liner and with guys like Clarkson, Bozak and Backes the team didn't need Ladd anymore. He was very cheap at only a million bucks but Laich is only 500k more for a top six forward (who won't take stupid penalties and is very durable) so they felt the need to make the move.
The hope is obviously that this isn't a fluke year for Laich, but because he's an RFA after his current deal the team feels like it's a win-win by adding him to the team.
The team also picked up prospect winger Chris Terry in the deal, as a replacement for many of the teams young wingers that have not fulfilled expectations in the last year.
and speaking of unfulfilled expectations - the team dealt Jack Skille to the Coyotes after he was with the organization for around 4 years. He only played 2 games with the team in his career here after every year never getting the chance to show his game. The Devils still feel that he could end up a solid NEFHL player - something like a 78 SP, 75 DF, 65 SC kind of player but with the draft looming and roster spots on the team being very sparse the team decided to let him go. That enabled the team to feel more comfortable about moving it's first round picks since it had picks at 40th, and 46th instead.
40th: Charlie Coyle
46th: Joey Hishon
166th: Philip Lane(10)
196th: Joe Faust(10)
Overall the team gets 3 forwards and one defenseman, although the team doesn't hold out much hope for Lane or Faust - both are just late round BPA's but will be fun to keep track of anyway. Coyle, the team had a tough time deciding between Bennet and Kevin Hayes and after a little indecision decided to go with the big winger who plans to play at BU. The team hopes he replaces Skille in the prospect pool.
With the Hishon pick coming up, the team wanted him as he was tops on their list but at the same time were saddened with Brock Beaukeboom got taken right in front of them by the Sharks. If nothing else. Brock's name and heritage should almost guarantee he ends up a good NEFHLer but the team got their "BPA" with the smaller forward who had an injury filled season. The team also had Kuehnhackl on their list to pick at 46th but since he fell to the 3rd round apparently they had him ranked too highly.
Either way, with all the 2008 picks that were signed (and are still being signed) as well as some 2009 guys that are looking good the team feels like an "off year" at the draft table should be ok.
Plus, you can't draft while riding waves...:)