Happy NHL Draft Day everybody! Looking forward to tonight and Saturday. We’ll keep this one mostly draft-focused.
1- If you listened to our Mock Draft #DevilsDaily on Wednesday, you heard me select Swedish defenseman Tobias Bjornfot at 34. Rachel Doerie, who used to work as a Player Information/Video Analyst for the Devils until January 2019, co-hosts a podcast with Ian Tulloch of The Athletic that gives you a peek behind the curtain of what goes on inside an NHL front office. They recently did a show covering what NHL team scouting meetings are like and Rachel went on to mention (52:51) that she watched Bjornfot “all season”. Now, I understand teams are going to watch a lot of video on a lot of guys when it comes to the Draft…but unlike the NBA or NFL Draft where teams leak out quite a bit of information about who they are interested in (or sometimes the ACTUAL player they are picking!), it’s almost non-existent in the hockey world…especially when it comes to our favorite hockey team. I’ll take anything I can get. So if you’re looking for some tea leaves about someone the Devils may be pretty interested in, perhaps there’s something to read into here.
2- Speaking of trying to find information about teams linked to Draft prospects, I always try keep tabs on how many interviews a prospect had at the combine and if by process of elimination, the Devils interviewed him. Not many hits in 2019, but here are the guys NJ definitely interviewed via a few various reporters:
Philip Tomasino, Connor McMichael, Ryan Johnson (who Dave has mocked to NJD at 34), Moritz Seider and Cole Caufield.
Caufield and Seider are sure-fire 1st rounders. Tomasino should be too. Johnson is right on the edge of the 1st round and McMichael could be too, but he’s a straight 2nd rounder in other ranking spots.
3- Ray Shero’s sense of humor is something. Sometimes he drops f-bombs and sometimes we get…a dandy like this:
Apparently, that’s from the movie “Draft Day” a few years ago where Kevin Costner plays the Cleveland Browns GM. It’s not one of the 33 movies I’ve seen. I don’t even know if this is actually funny, I think he just likes to entertain himself. This is a strange coincidence though….NHL.com produced a daily notebook on the Scouting Combine and in their post from the same day as Shero’s quote above, one of the top defensive prospects Victor Soderstrom dropped a similar reference.
….weird. He’s #14 on Bob McKenzie’s Draft Rankings, which consolidates data from 1/3 of the league’s head scouts, so he probably won’t be anywhere near a spot where the Devils could reasonably trade up to draft him. But hey…if he does, maybe him and Ray can find a rec room somewhere in Vancouver later tonight where they can watch it in pure jubilation like:
4- I meant to run through some specific draft data for each Devils slot during our Mock Draft show but totally forgot, so let’s do it. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the specific GP ranges. I’m sure looking at data on a per round basis is a better idea since it’s a better sample size, but this is my column so I do what I want. The data:
That 55 slot “value” is astounding and a bunch of guys carved out long careers from the 61st pick.
5- Here are some of the notable names from the data set above, removing the most recent drafts as many of those players are still developing or just getting started in the NHL:
6- And finally, previous Devils/Rockies selections from the slots NJ currently possesses for this weekend, outside of the top pick:
Not my best work, but some of the items at the top were time sensitive so I wanted to push this out ASAP. Hope it gets you through your workday!