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NHL Draft '08: New Jersey's Biggest Needs

David HeereSenior Analyst IJune 16, 2008

This is the second article about the current status of the New Jersey Devils. This one will focus on what the Devils need to do on draft day.

 

The Devils have eight total picks in the 2008 draft: 21, 52, 82, 112, 142, 172, 203, and 205 (from Minn). The most important one is obviously the 21st overall pick.

 

I think the Devils should take Center Greg Nemisz from the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires. The Devils are in desperate need of a No. 1 center and Nemisz could potentially be that guy in a year or two. This pick might be a bit of stretch considering he is the 22nd ranked North American skater, but I think Nemisz fits.

 

Nemisz had 34 goals 33 assists for 67 points in addition to his 52 PIM and plus-28 rating. The real bright side for this guy being a Devil is his skill on the power play. He was tied for the team lead with 15 powerplay goals. According to his OHL profile, he stands at a big 6’4” and 202 pounds. Size like that is always an asset.

 

The Devils should have had a good look at him when they picked up Brad Snetsinger from the Spitfires earlier in the season. With all the strong defensemen in this year’s draft, it might surprise you that I would think the defensive minded Devils would pick a center when they also need some top end defensemen.

 

The Devils have four total center prospects. They need centers. Plus, if you look at the free agent market, there are lots of big name defensemen available now that the Devils have some cap room.

 

With their second pick, I think they should get a defenseman. It makes sense because the draft is deep enough they will still get a good defensive player by then. They need to act fast on the few centers, which is why I still think they should get a center with their first pick.

 

In remaining rounds, I think the Devils should look for centers, goalies, and defensemen because those are the thinnest areas in their prospect pools.

 

The 205 overall pick the Devils have was from Minnesota for Aaron Voros two years ago. Voros had seven goals, seven assists and 141 PIM in 55 games for Minnesota this year. Somehow, he ended up doing better in the NHL than he did in the AHL. In hindsight, I cannot help but think how amazing he and David Clarkson could have been on the same line.

 

Whether the Devils follow my advice or not, we as Devils fans can know that whoever the Devils pick will definitely help improve this team in the long run. In Lou we trust!

 

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