Devils 2019 Draft Review
34. Devils Tobias Bjornfot (22)
44. Devils Matthew Robertson (49)
48. Devils Shane Pinto (32)
65. Devils Adam Beckman (75)
75. Devils Jordan Spence (95)
76. Devils Daniil Misyul (70)
106. Devils Judd Caulfield (145)
107. Devils Ronnie Attard (72)
125. Devils Semyon Chistyakov (117)
137. Devils Reece Newkirk (147)
168. Devils Arturs Silovs (156
173. Devils Grant Silianoff (ND)
The Devils finished off the 2019 NEFHL entry draft with 12 picks and with 11 of them being drafted in the NHL. Definitely one of the best results both in terms of quantity and quality the Devils have had in a long time. Despite trading the #13 overall pick a couple of weeks before the draft the team still managed to get a 1st round value player in Tobias Bjornfot, which is great news. While that trade wasn't dependent upon hoping to snag a player who might go in the first round in the NHL, knowing the outcome was there was enough of a kicker to agree to the trade. Las Vegas could very well have picked up a franchise goalie in Spencer Knight so all in all the trade worked out great for both teams. The Devils would not have picked Knight anyway at that spot and based on how the draft shook out would have most likely taken Arthurt Kaliyev (who went 14th) or Bobby Brink (who went 18th). While both of these players fell to the 2nd round in the NHL draft, which would have been very disappointing, they are still top flight forward prospects who have definite scoring line potential.
The plan, as always, was to try and pick up some forwards who might have scoring line abilities in the future. However, like the last few years have shown, NEFHL GM's place a lot of value on forwards and they go off the board pretty earlier. So sitting around at pick #34 the Devils looked at their lists and decided a defenseman was the correct pick. While Pavel Dorofeyev and Ilya Nikolayev were a couple players the team really wanted, a BPA in Bjornfot was too hard to pass up. Right now he doesn't project as a top offensive D-man which is why he was still available at #34, however he has shown the ability to make good plays out of his zone and doesn't panic with the puck. Add to that a good skater and a guy who defensively is positionally sound for his age plus is a good leader, and he has all the makings of a future #3 D-man in NEFHL. Obviously if he gets the right combination of ratings he could potentially play above his ratings as well especially if he can become some sort of D-man who picks up 20-25 assists.
With the next pick the team picked up Matthew Robertson at #44. Again wanting to pick up a forward but not seeing a name worth the gamble, the team opted for the highest rated D-man on their lists. During the NHL draft the team was quietly hoping Robertson would find his name called in the first round but alas that was Bjornfots fate and not his. Instead he did the opposite and managed to fall down to #49 to the Rangers, despite a lot of rankings having him as a potential pick in the #20-35 ranges. Despite all that the team is still pretty happy to land a defenseman like him in the 2nd round, a tall defenseman who could be a post draft player to watch offensively as maybe he gets more opportunities with the puck. Reading through a lot of reports about him there doesn't seem to be many flaws but if that is to be believed then why would he fall through so many selections in the NHL draft. Even if offense never develops, getting a big defenseman who can play solid defense is always nice to have in NEFHL. While they aren't the most valuable player by any means, having a consistent high SP/SK/DF guy to slot in season after season is very nice. The team has seen a lot of Marc Staal/McDonagh or even Parayko comparisons, all of which would obviously be incredible for the first round let alone second.
At #48 the Devils went a little bit off their draft board and selected Shane Pinto from the USHL. Deciding the time was at hand for a forward, but not wanting to pick a russian like Nikolayev, Foote because of ...some kind of reason or Beaucage with the hopes of getting him at #65 the team opted for Pinto. Shockingly he went as the first pick on day 2 in the NHL to the Senators and the Devils hope they saw something most people were missing. He's likely to be at North Dakota for awhile but he has good size and right now looks to be a center but maybe ends up as a wing in the NHL. Good skater as well and more of a playmaker the question will definitely be the offense as so far he hasn't shown to be a big point producer at lower levels and if he doesn't produce very well in the NCAA most likely his NHL future will be a 3rd liner or worse. While that would be somewhat of a disappointment since he was picked at #32 in the NHL, as the #48 pick in NEFHL and part of the #13 trade - the Devils wouldn't be all too upset with a solid checking line player who can pot in 10-15 goals a year while being another leader and playing the PK. If more offense develops, that is great but the team is looking forward to seeing his development in the upcoming years.
On to the 3rd round of the NEFHL draft, the team had three picks in the first half of the round and they were Adam Beckman at #65, Jordan Spence at #75 and Daniil Misyul immediately at #76. Once again the team took two defensemen and one forward in the round despite wanting to do the opposite. However with some of the forwards gone that they were looking at - most notably Beaucage and Cajkovic. For the second two picks the team was hoping to take Artemi Kniazev however he was taken after the Devils selected Beckman. Beckman was rated as some kind of 2nd/3rd rounder and that's exactly what happened with him as the Devils were hoping to land some kind of forward with scoring line upside. He had a good season in the WHL managing to score 32 goals in 68 games so the upside for good D+1 and D+2 years are there in terms of offensive progression. Also a center and winger he has multiple paths to the pro grame and if he adds some weight to his 6'1 frame maybe he ends up being more physical as well. The hope with the pick is that he keeps scoring goals and makes people regret passing on him. The other two picks from the round are less interesting as they are defensemen, one small offensive guy in Spence and the other is a bigger aggressive defensiveman in Daniil Misyul. Misyul is one of the older players in the draft but with his skating ability, size and raw skills the team felt like he was worth taking a risk on. Another player who could end up seeing a fun combination of IT/ST/SP with solid DF as a minimum, the team doesn't mind that if the next rated forwards are much higher risk to even make the pro roster. Spence is the annual Torey Krug pick, the hope that a small guy with great offensive instincts can just progress a ton with the hope that his puck skills will be too great and make up for his lack of size and defensive ability. The Devils have hit recently with that kind of player in Sam Girard (#55 in 2016) so the hope here is that they managed to do it again.
Round four saw New Jersey take one forward, Judd Caulfield at #106, and Ronnie Attard with the very next pick at #107. Not wanting to get stuck just taking defensemen in this round led to the Attard pick - thinking he was a for sure BPA at this point. The team had other forwards on it's list including Oxentyuk, Serdyuk and Marcus Kallionkieli, all who didn't make it to the teams next pick at the start of the 5th round. That leaves Attard with a decent amount of expectations on him as most of the hope with the pick was the idea one of those guys would be available ~20 selections later. The team was somewhat rewarded at least when he went #72 overall in the NHL to the Flyers after his USHL record setting season, scoring 30 goals as a defenseman. Why didn't he go in the 1st round? Well he's already 20 having been passed over in the draft twice and his USHL playoff doesn't look too great either being held to 1 assist in 6 games. Some players just blossom later than others and taking a league MVP with such a huge year is worth a 4th round pick, even more so when he's a guy that plays in all situations and is a right shot defenseman. Those are still always harder to come by so to have the potential for a big time gamble on one in the 4th round is a good feeling. Caulfield is a lot like Pinto where the points haven't really been there to a huge degree so far but his upside may more lie in the way of a big physical winger who can throw some hits and win board battles down low. The team doesn't mind taking a guy with the profile of a high IT/ST guy with some upside offensively.
The 5th round opened with a lot of names being off the board as mentioned above, but the one remaining that the team was hoping to pick for a couple of rounds was still there. Semyon Chistyakov became part of the Devils future when he was nabbed at #125. He'll likely never be a big player with the puck, the very young player for the draft instead looks to be a small but extremely physical defenseman. While that can work in non NA leagues pretty well, the real test will be if he can stay that kind of player in the AHL/NHL. Another smaller defenseman with a similar profile is that of former body checker champion Darius Kasparaitus. Never really more than a 15-20 point guy during his career in the NHL he was instead known for his huge open ice hits. The team hates that kid of player, unless of course he's on the Devils so if Chistyakov can overcome his smallish size while keeping his aggressive nature and defensive abilities the team would be very happy. The other player picked during the round was Reece Newkirk, a smaller guy like Chistyakov except this time a forward. Playing on a team with an elite talent in Cody Glass, it's hard to tell how much of the offense is for real, however this future left winger looks like a somewhat safer pick in that he has a little of everything. He a bit of a pest, is a solid enough skater, can put up some points and doesn't have many negatives outside of his side. He'll be another interesting player to watch progress and could manage a couple of big WHL seasons if the offense clicks.
Wrapping up the draft, Arturs Silovs was picked at #168 and Grant Silianoff at #173 in the 6th round. The team wanted to draft a goalie in the mid to late rounds and after missing out on Pyotr Kochetkov who went earlier than expected at #52, as well as Saville who went in the 4th round to the Blues the team decided it was time. Despite a fair number of players ahead of him on their lists like Rizzo, Fairbrother, Svoboda, Brodzinski, Cole Brady etc the team wanted to just completely roll the dice, close their eyes and pick a name. That name happened to be Arturs Silovs, a 6'4 goalie from Latvia. That's about all the team knew about him and continues to know about him. Basically, he has the size a goalie needs to play in the NHL and picking a player from Latvia is so much more exciting than picking some random NA goalie from the NAHL. Very cool that he was even picked in the NHL draft and with him going to the OHL next year it should be discovered very quickly if he has any kind of upside. The last pick the team made, Grant Silianoff unfortunately didn't get picked up in the NHL - despite being selected over a bunch of players (albeit defensemen) who did see their names called in the NHL draft. The team has hope the small forward will improve during his time at Notre Dame in the NCAA and make everybody regret passing on him. Smart and skilled players can show very well in the NCAA so if he gets some good coaching, who knows maybe he'll make up for whiffing a pick.