Luke Hughes

The New Jersey Devils own two picks in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. Who will they select?

Leen Amin

We’re closing in on the 2021 NHL Draft. The New Jersey Devils own the fourth and 29th overall selections in this year’s draft, another chance for the organization to add an impactful player to the system.

Whenever a team has a top-five pick, there’s a 50-50 chance the player signs a professional contract or returns to their junior/college/international team for additional seasoning. That could be the case for whomever the Devils pick.

If the Devils don’t trade down/out of the top-five to add a more significant veteran piece.

But assuming the Devils stay put at No. 4 and/or 29, who do the experts think the Devils will select when they’re on the clock?

Many of the more reliable outlets haven’t updated their mock draft orders since the middle of the playoffs, so they don’t have the Devils picking at 29 overall (from the Islanders). Because of that, we’re only including the Devils’ pick at 29 in the mock draft from The Athletic that published on July 8.

Corey Masiak, The Athletic (July 8)
4. Luke Hughes, LHD, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
29. Oskar Olausson, RW, HV71-SHL

Hughes Comments: “If Luke Hughes is not among the first three players selected July 23, he’s going to be one of the biggest stories of the night — either because the Devils do draft him or because they do not. The last name does matter, to a point. But even if he was Luke Mirtle or Luke Custance, he’d be worthy of consideration at No. 4. He is one of the youngest players in the draft, might be the best skater at his position and he did outproduce a pretty significant defenseman at the USA NTDP on a per-game basis — his oldest brother, Quinn.”

Olausson Comments:The Devils have some obvious long-term needs, but it has to be all about who’s left on the board at No. 29 (or 28, because this is confusing — thanks, Coyotes). There would have been serious consideration for Samu Salminen had Peter not snatched him up with the previous selection, but Oskar Olausson has decent size and has earned high marks for his skating and shooting abilities. New Jersey can afford to be patient with Olausson, given players like Alexander Holtz, Dawson Mercer and Nolan Foote are ahead of him in the ‘almost ready for the NHL’ queue.

Lyle Richardson, Bleacher Report (June 4)
4. Dylan Guenther, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Comments: “The New Jersey Devils need scoring wingers to complement young centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Right wing Dylan Guenther of the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings could fit the bill. A highly skilled offensive winger, he could be a perfect fit with Hischier or Hughes.”

Sam Cosentino, SportsNet (June 2)
4. Luke Hughes, LHD, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Comments: “An excellent skater who has a ton of confidence with the puck on his stick. The brother act will add intrigue and interest for the fan base.”

Adam Kimelman, (June 3)
4. Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie (OHL)

Comments: “Clarke (6-2, 185) is an outstanding two-way right-shot defenseman capable of skating the puck out of trouble in his zone or making a smart, accurate pass. He played 26 games in the top professional league in Slovakia and showed a willingness to play physical against older, more developed players. Clarke also stood out helping Canada win the 2021 Under-18 World Championship, scoring seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven games. His older brother, forward Graeme Clarke, was selected by the Devils in the third round (No. 80) of the 2019 NHL Draft.”

Mike G. Morreale, (June 3)
4. Luke Hughes, LHD, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Comments: “Hughes (6-2, 184) could have a chance to join his brother, Jack Hughes, with the Devils. Luke is a great skater capable of playing a smart defensive game with good poise and reads. He scored 34 points (six goals, 28 assists), had 68 shots on goal, and was plus-11 in 38 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. He lacerated a tendon in his foot from a skate cut March 7 but has started skating.”

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.