Today was a good day. #NHLDraftLottery pic.twitter.com/hhMXYMZXGK
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) April 30, 2017
For the first time, in a long time, the New Jersey Devils won something meaningful. The Devils won the NHL’s Draft Lottery Saturday evening, securing them the #1 overall pick in the upcoming Entry Draft in Chicago. For all that went wrong this season, this is the organization’s chance to start to make things right.
New Jersey moved up five spaces and won the NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the rights to the first overall draft pick. The Devils have never made a selection at number one overall before, however, as a franchise, they did in 1979 as the Colorado Rockies. Jersey’s team only had an 8.5 percent chance of getting the first overall pick, but the hockey gods were on their side. For once.
The question now is, who do the Devils take?
There are two different players the Devils could take in the first spot: either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. The proper selection would be Nolan Patrick, but it’s close. While he is injury prone, he is still widely considered the clear choice. A WHL MVP and champion, Patrick is not only bigger, but it a two-way player. That is a deciding factor when picking players for your team.
While Hischier has exploded since his breakout performance at the WJC with his killer speed, but Patrick complete game is what will help the Devils in the long run. And while Patrick is no McDavid or Matthews, he still has the potential to be a star in the NHL. This is also the highest the Devils have been in the draft since selecting Adam Larsson fourth overall in 2011.
Ray Shero will be reaching out to Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils have the first overall pick. Quite some news for a team out of the playoffs.