Heading into the 2013 NEFHL Entry Draft the Devils will be making a pick in the first round for the first time since 2009. Even worse, last year the Devils made zero picks as the team dealt it's 2nd rounder right before the draft to the Canucks in exchange for their 2nd this year. With that the Devils will head to Ottawa with 3 picks in the top 60 and looking to score at least one player who can play top minutes for the team in the future. The team doesn't have a 3rd or 4th or 6th round pick this year but does have a couple 8ths, a 5th and 7th. While the team has no interest in trading it's first round pick or one of the 2nds, the team will be open to getting more picks come draft day. Rumored to be on the block are defensemen Anton Stralman, Jake Gardiner and forward Tyler Bozak. With young D like Michael Stone developing the team feels it can afford to move a guy like Gardiner to pick up some picks or prospects on draft day.
Going into the draft the team feels their top 10 prospects right now are:
1. Charlie Coyle
2. Jake Gardiner
3. John Moore
4. Matt Donovan
5. Michael Stone
6. Colby Robak
7. Jordan Caron
8. JT Brown
9. Mike Reilly
10. Joey Hishon
HM: Luke Adam, Rasmus Bengtsson
Easily the weakest the team has been in over 5 years, the team knows it has to draft a winner this year. Despite being the teams 2nd best prospect (only 30 NEFHL GP), Gardiner is in a list with a bunch of other defensemen prospects. Even worse is that most of the group all play the same style of game, prefering to rush the puck up the ice. While Moore has plateaued with his offensive game the team still feels confident it will return, while Donovan and Robak are adept powerplay quarterbacks as well. That was also some of the reason the team felt confident in trading Simon Despres last offseason to the Penguins for Teddy Purcell, as even then it was apparent the team was going to have too many defensemen and not enough forwards in the future.
While Coyle is a solid prospect to have at the top of the list, the team feels he is going to be a solid 2nd line forward capable of putting up 50 or so points a year. The team also feels pretty confident he can reach that projection, so he is definitely a solid prospect to top the list. Unfortunately all the other guys on the list have either faced setbacks (Moore, Caron, Gardiner) or are still unproven and need more seasoning (Brown, Reilly, Donovan). One guy who fits both of those lists is Joey Hishon, as despite the fact he's likely the most talented prospect on this list he is also the riskiest. Missing almost 2 years to injury he's way behind the 8-ball in terms of development and after coming back he only managed to get hurt again.
The team still has a decently young core centered around Ryan, Kane and Wilson up front but ever so slowly those guys are approaching UFA age and the team is looking to prolong the winning ways this core become used to. Hopefully from this list of 10 at least a couple become important contributors while another couple become role players. The team has learned through it's rebuild that you can't count on everybody developing the right way but with picks this summer the Devils will gladly add a couple more chances to the pile.