After the aforementioned blockbuster for P.K. Subban which kicked off a wild day two at the NHL Draft in Vancouver, Ray Shero still had eight day two picks in the last six rounds to play with including two late 2’s and two early thirds, but it turned out he wasn’t done trading just yet even after acquiring Subban. Shero engineered two separate tradedowns to get extra picks, first dealing the Devils #55 pick to the Sharks for picks #82 and #91, then flipping the latter pick (#91) to the Capitals for picks #118 and #129 after inciting boos in the crowd by calling a timeout to consummate the Caps deal – clearly prioritizing depth in a deep draft. For good measure he traded one-time first-rounder John Quenneville to the Blackhawks for fourth-liner John Hayden in a change of scenery move for Quenneville to add back-line depth.
My head is spinning just trying to recap the trades, let alone the draft picks. While #1 overall Jack Hughes is clearly the headliner of the draft class itself, the Devils did add a bunch of potentially intriguing supporting cast members from picks #61 to #189. Without professing to know squat about any of them here’s a quick summary of each:
#61 – LD Nikita Okhotyuk: A 6’1 200 pound defenseman who started a trend of the Devils beefing up a small blueline within the system. Okhotyuk is best friends with now fellow Devils prospect Mitchell Hoelscher, who helped teach the Russian-born defender English while both have been teammates on the Ottawa ’67’s.
#70 – LD Daniil Misyul: Another Russian LD who’s tall but lanky at 6’3 and 175 pounds, Misyul played in the KHL this past season and has puckmoving ability but can also hunker down and defend in close.
#80 – RW Graeme Clarke: A 5’11 175 pound RW, Clarke’s shot and intelligence are said to be his strongest qualities while skating needs to improve but Okhotyuk and Hoelscher’s teammate on the Ottawa 67’s could be a nice mid-round sleeper at another position the Devils need organizational depth.
#82 – LD Michael Vukojevic: Did we mention size on the blueline yet? Vokojevic is the biggest of them at 6’3 212 pounds and while he’s known as a shutdown defender with Kitchener of the OHL, he’s also supposedly a good skater for a guy his size, and another high IQ player.
#96 – C Tyce Thompson: Brother of NHL player Tage, the younger Thompson is 6′ but only 165 pounds and already played a season at Providence, putting up 25 points in 42 games during his freshman campaign.
#118 – RD Case McCarthy: On a day where the Devils looked both to replenish some of their defensive depth traded away in the Subban deal and add bulk to the blueline, McCarthy (6’1, 198) is one of the more intriguing picks with physical, shutdown D promise and puckmoving skills, Hughes’ teammate with the USNTDP could possibly become what we once thought Steven Santini would be here. McCarthy is currently committed to Boston University.
#127 – G Cole Brady: Speaking of size, Ontario-born Brady fills the net at a whopping 6’5, though the Arizona State freshman is only listed at 165 pounds and continues Shero’s tradition of picking at least one goalie in every draft with the Devils.
#129 – LW Artseni Gritsyuk: Perhaps this year’s late-round version of Jesper Bratt, the 5’10 168 pound skilled KHL forward will continue to develop overseas for the time being.
#158 – RW Patrick Moynihan: Yet another NTDP member, I’ll let Mike Morreale take this one
#189 – LW Nikola Pasic: An energy guy with skill that can skate, the 5’10 180 pound Swede is in the mold of other Shero late-round draftees like Gritsyuk and 2015 draftee Brett Seney who made the NHL this year, but Pasic does have a little more beef on the bone than Seney.