Devils Draft Review
The Devils had a pretty uneventful draft outside of picking 11th overall this year. With a lot of young prospects signing recently as well as in the next two offseasons, the Devils decided to basically trade off later picks in this draft for next year in terms of restocking the prospect list. The team still had a few picks made in the 6th and 7th rounds but at this point they weren't drafted in the NHL. The team also managed to flip a 6th round pick in the draft to Nashville for the rights to previously drafted defensman prospect John Nyberg. Nyberg doesn't project very highly but considering the cost and the other 6th round ended up being (a non-draftee) the price seems fine at this point. Nyberg has marginal upside at developing into some kind of bottom pairing defenseman, but his skating could hold him back from becoming anything. Either way, like I said above it's worth the gamble considering the cost almost nothing.
The main player the Devils ended up with at the draft was picked 11th overall, Evan Bouchard. The team had brief talks about moving up to #8 to secure Noah Dobson or potentially even Barret Hayton. After deciding against trading up (which wasn't overly expensive) the Devils saw both Hayton and Dobson go at 8 and 9. At 10 the Bruins picked Joe Veleno and that left the Devils with the tough decision of Bouchard vs Boqvist vs Farabee. The Devils had expressed interest in Farabee for awhile and getting another solid winger with high upside is always important in NEFHL. However the team had decided before the draft that if one of the top 4 non-Dahlin defensemen (Dobson, Bouchard, Hughes, Boqvist) fell to #11 it would be really tough to pass on them. Two of them ending up available was quite unexpected but for a forward centric league I guess it should have been predictable. That left the very tough decision of Bouchard vs Boqvist and the team went with the older right handed defenseman in Bouchard. Boqvist seemed like a great pick as well but it was really hard not to be very impressed by Bouchard's 87 points in 67 OHL games, crazy numbers for a defenseman.
Bouchard ended up going to the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL draft at #10 so that could be extra good news for the Devils. It seems like NHL teams are always short on right handed defenseman who are good with the puck so a guy like Bouchard who is supposed to be a superb playmaker with great passing and a heavy shot from the point should be a nice fit playing with McDavid. The Devils would be absolutely ecstatic if Bouchard can end up as one of the building blocks on the back end along with Chychrun and McAvoy, both poised to make the NEFHL club this coming season. Bouchard is supposed to also be one of the more NHL ready prospects so maybe he'll pull the McAvoy route and only take another year before he's ready to join the big time and get some ratings!