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2015 Draft Preview – New Jersey Devils seek a red-hot sniper

Ryan Kennedy
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Stefan Matteau. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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2015 Draft Preview – New Jersey Devils seek a red-hot sniper

Ryan Kennedy
By:

The Devils like to give their NCAA kids as much time as they need, and the franchise goes to the well often.

Major domo Lou Lamoriello, who will still have a major say in all things Devils despite handing GM duties to Ray Shero, has always been a big supporter of the college system, which is no surprise given Lamoriello's Providence Friars roots. The Devils like to give their NCAA kids as much time as they need, and the franchise goes to the well often. The only year New Jersey didn’t have a draft class featuring at least one NCAA-bound player was 1995. Kids from the U.S. NTDP are frequent targets.

PICKS:
Round 1, pick 6
Round 2, picks 36 and 41
Round 3, pick 67
Round 4, pick 97
Round 6, pick 157

SHORT-TERM NEEDS:
The Devils’ offense was a horror show, ranking 28th with 2.15 goals per game, and there are no sure things in the system. Reid Boucher is the best candidate, but he hasn’t found his touch in the NHL and has had only middling production in the AHL. And while players such as Blake Pietila and John Quenneville have potential, their scoring ceilings aren’t high. This must be addressed quickly.

LONG-TERM NEEDS:
The Devils have only tabbed one goaltender in the past four drafts – and that was a personal favor to Martin Brodeur, trading for a seventh-rounder so he could take his son Anthony in front of the home Prudential Center crowd. Keith Kinkaid is the Scott Clemmensen to Cory Schneider’s Brodeur, so the Devils continue to play with fire in the depth department.

CAP SITUATION:
With many veteran free agents coming off the books, the Devils will have at least $20 million to play with. Decisions will have to be made on names such as Martin Havlat, Michael Ryder, Bryce Salvador and Scott Gomez – with some of those decisions being easier than others. Young players are bubbling up on the blueline, but not so much up front, so cash must be spent.

IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
Power forward Stefan Matteau didn’t exactly seize the day in the AHL or an end-of-year NHL call-up, so he’ll have to impress in training camp. Pietila is the only other option.

DID YOU KNOW:
Center J.D. Dudek (2014 draft) is the son of Joe Dudek, a former college football player who Sports Illustrated picked over Bo Jackson for the 1985 Heisman Trophy (Bo still won).

THN will be releasing its Team Reports from Draft Preview for each of the 30 NHL franchises in the week leading up to the NHL Draft. Read them in our “Draft” channel.

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2015 Draft Preview – New Jersey Devils seek a red-hot sniper