The Atlantic Division had 3 teams pick in the top 10 in this year's draft. The Rangers then selected 15th and the Penguins selected 23rd. While the 3 teams who picked in the top 10 have prospects that are closer to appearing in the NHL, the Rangers and Penguins will have to wait for their prospects.
I felt that the teams in this division did not do a bad job in drafting, but some teams obviously did better than others. Realistically, we can say whatever we want about draft picks today and how bright the future is for each one of them, but how many will really make a difference in the NHL?
Don't take my picks too seriously is what I'm saying.
Before we start, I would like to memorialize my dream to become an NHL player. At the tender age of 19, I went undrafted for the 2nd straight year.
Having never played organized hockey, I am still shocked that no team saw the potential in me and that scouts did not come knocking on my door asking me to play for their team. RIP My hockey career. We all reach that point when the kids being drafted are younger than you, and that is a very sad day.
So here we go, the grades for each team in the Atlantic Division.
The New Jersey Devils won the NHL lottery draft. Finishing the season on an absolute tear, the Devils have a bright future.
When the season ended, many fans put the Devils in no man's land—too high in the standings to get a good draft pick, but not good enough to make the playoffs. The Devils got lucky and ended up with the 4th overall pick.
They used this pick to select Adam Larsson out of Sweden. The kid is good defensively and can make an offensive impact. He will fit well in the Devils defensive scheme, and in my opinion should not have dropped to 4th overall.
The Devils snatched this kid and have a legitimate chance of having a good defender for the future. In my opinion, Larsson was the safest pick for the Panthers with the 3rd choice, but they chose Jonathan Huberdeau.
I also wrote an article on that selection and was criticized for not knowing that the Panthers have "good" defensive prospects. They are having trouble signing their 3rd overall pick from last year, who is a defenseman. Typical Panthers?
I think the Devils got a steal, from their pick and also with their selection. Good job by Lou Lamoriello.
I'm sorry, I had to put a picture of him in the "Say Yes" shirt. I really hope you get your new building Islanders fans. If not, I won't be able to go see the Rangers for cheaper prices than at MSG.
But back to business.
Ryan Strome is a center who has worked out with John Taveres and Matt Moulson in the past. That will be good, considering the Islanders just signed Moulson to an extension and Taveres is the cornerstone of the franchise.
Having chemistry before they even hit the ice will be good for this young Islanders team. Strome provides scoring ability, but also does the unnoticed things along the boards and in scrums in front of the net.
This is what the Islanders really needed and they did a good job with their selection.
The Rangers selected forward JT Miller 15th overall at the draft. Miller plays for the US Under 18 team and is a skilled forward.
The draft correspondents compared him to Mason Raymond, which I would be thrilled with—if this kid reaches his potential. The Rangers really couldn't pick an impact player with the 15th pick. So they stockpiled the prospects again, and will watch Miller as he attends the University of North Dakota this fall.
The Rangers have struck gold lately with drafting, picking Derek Stepan in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft and Chris Kreider with their 1st pick 2 years ago. The Rangers future is bright, and having Miller in the system will hopefully work out in the long-term.
The Flyers traded Jeff Carter to Columbus for Jakub Voracek and the 8th overall pick in the draft. With that pick they selected Sean Couturier out of Canada junior hockey.
Couturier, a center, was the youngest member of the Canadian team at the 2011 World Junior Championships. Born in Phoenix, Couturier is 6'4" and fell to Philadelphia. Looking to replace Mike Richards, the Flyers have drafted their center of the future.
I don't agree with their moves to trade both Richards and Carter, so I'm going a little lower with grades.
The Penguins selected Joseph Morrow 23rd overall, a defenseman who plays for Portland in the WHL. In the playoffs he scored 20 points in 21 games, so he is able to be offensive as well.
With the Penguins already having Kris Letang for the long-term, who can provide some offensive punch to the lineup, I found this pick to be a little curious. I would have gone with a more defensive defenseman, but there were none left on the board to be taken so highly.
All in all, the Penguins did what they needed to do. They don't need any more scoring, that's for sure, so going the defensive route was what they needed. A solid pick at number 23.
The Atlantic division did a good job in their selections.
I thought the most risky pick was the Rangers selection of Miller at 15. While Miller and Morrow may not be stars at the NHL levels, all of these players have the ability to make a difference for their team.
Strome, Larsson and Couturier are all supposed to make a big impact for their team sooner rather than later. Whether these prospects become the players their teams hope for is the fun of the draft, and it provides fans with optimism for the future. For now, we can analyze all we want, but in the end, we have to wait and see.
Want to grade the writer? Argue with the writer? Leave a comment and thanks for the read.