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"HockeyBuzz + New Jersey Devils Season Ticket Holder"
New Jersey, NJ • United States • 28 Years Old • Male
I have to start by saying that the 2009 Draft was the first one where I actually did some research beyond the top five prospects. I went full on, putting together a list of the players that I liked in the order I liked them, as if I was prepared to walk out to the draft table myself. The reason for this, aside from the fact that its summer and I find myself with quite a bit more free time, is that the Devils have always been known as a draft monster, an integral piece of the consistent high level of play from the mid 1990s forward.

But for some reason, whether or not it was the depth of the draft classes or just some poor selections—after all, this is an inexact science—the Devils went through a rough patch from 1999 to 2002 where the two most successful draft picks they made were Mike Rupp (2000) and Cam Janssen (2002). A few wasted first round picks—Ari Ahonen (1999) and Adrian Foster (2001)—never did crack the NHL, and the results really hurt the cupboard. This four year gap was enough to cause the Devils to look elsewhere to build around their core players, namely free agency. This is not the way the Devils have ever worked, and so beginning with Zach Parise in the all-time great 2003 draft class, the draft renaissance has begun.

Now, while every GM and fan wishes that every pick they make in a draft would develop into an NHL-caliber player, the reality is you’re probably not going to get more than two out of each draft class unless you really get lucky. For example, Parise & Petr Vrana in 2003, Mattias Tedenby & Patrice Cormier in 2008, etc. So that has become my standard now; if a draft class has at least two players who have the potential to make the NHL one day, I consider it an early success. (Of course time will tell whether or not it was really a success, but I'm talking initial impressions here.)

So with all that out of the way, let's turn our attention to the 2009 draft. While waiting for the Devils to pick at 23rd, I noticed an interesting trend emerging. Minnesota picked Minnesota native Nick Leddy, Montreal picked Montreal native Louis Leblanc...pretty soon I was starting to wonder if Montvale, NJ native Kyle Palmieri would be headed our way. Even though he was ranked 6th on my list, Rundblad had already gone to Columbus, Leblanc to Montreal, so I was confident it would either be Palmieri or Landon Ferraro, my highest ranked remaining player. This is not to say that I didn't like our actual selection, Swedish forward Jacob Josefson. He didn't have the greatest World Juniors tournament in the world, but Dan Labraaten, the Devils' head European scout, had been following him for quite some time, and had seen enough to know the potential this kid has.

But it was more than just the selection of Josefson...it was where the Devils selected him. Originally slated to pick 23rd, the Devils traded up to get Calgary's 20th pick, throwing in the lower of our two 3rd rounders for Calgary’s troubles. (Things that make you go hmmmm...) I suppose we'll never know whether Calgary agreeing to this trade was more a product of knowing that their guy Tim Erixon would not be taken before 23rd, or if it was a small agreed upon consolation for swiping away Brent Sutter two weeks after he resigned.

I'm getting off track here. Despite actually doing my research this time, one thing I've learned is that the Devils will always do what you don't expect them to, so while I really liked the kind of player Landon Ferraro or Kyle Palmieri could turn out to be, the Devils chose Josefson. I happen to love the pick, I just didn't see it coming. A 6'0" forward is a nice change from the constant stream of Gionta-sized players who are typically appealing to New Jersey.

Second round pick Eric Gelinas is a 6'4" defenseman described as a young Chris Pronger. Should he pan out as expected, that right there are your two high potential picks. Rounds 3-7 saw the Devils take three more defensemen and two left wings, all above 6'0". There's no question that size is a priority on the Devils of the future. There appear to be no late round gems a la Cormier, but we may have the huge linemate who can cash in on the rebound from a Cormier shot.

It is worth noting that once again, no goaltenders were selected. Jeff Frazee (2005) remains the last one, and though he is developing well, he's going to need some backup. Lou Lamoriello, to his credit, said that the goalie they had been targeting was gone, so I can only assume they liked Koskinen as much as I did, though he got snatched up 31st overall. It's nice to know they recognize the need there, but sooner or later we're going to actually draft a goalie in the first round to avoid this happening again. I know they don't want to take a goalie just to have one, they really want him to be "the one," but with plenty of depth at forward and defense recently drafted, now is the time to seriously consider taking a goaltender with a first round pick. Drafting on a "best player available" basis for a long time is a great thing, except when you have a serious lack of depth at a certain position. Even if its one quality goaltender and then back to the same old philosophy, Jeff Frazee cannot hold down the farm on his own. Free agency is a fine temporary solution, but with the salary cap in jeopardy for the forseeable future, the more entry level contracts on your books, the better off you’ll be.

That was a lot to say about one problem, I know, and aside from that the 2009 draft was a successful one for the Devils. I'll give it a B+ for two quality prospects.
Filed Under:   new   jersey   devils   nhl   entry   draft   2009  
June 28, 2009 12:27 PM ET | Delete
NHL Network called Gelinas a steal for the Devils. I heard a little about him before the draft and I was glad to see the Devils drafted him. Jacobson and Tenneby also happen to know each other very well, so that adds some interest into the mix. IMO I think I'm more excited about Gelinas than I am Jaccobson. Good read.
June 28, 2009 1:32 PM ET | Delete
I am very excited about the first two picks. If they both pan out as expected they will be awesome players. it was nice to see Lou addressed the lack of size our organization has. As of right now it seems we are getting back to having successful drafts after a dry spout from 99-02.
June 28, 2009 3:54 PM ET | Delete
Amerk i agree, i am more excited to see Gelinas then Josefson..i wonder if one day we will have a complete swedish top line.. Bergfors-Tedendy-Josefson and on defense Odouya-Urbom..i was looking at Josefson stas an really wasnt to impressed but then again tedenby stats werent to good either excepts at the WJC
June 28, 2009 3:57 PM ET | Delete
seems like players in the swedish elite league typically put up lower numbers.also im sure it has to do with the fact that Josefson an tedenby were boys playin against men since they played at the age of 17.. I do however wish we grabbed carter ashton...
June 28, 2009 4:29 PM ET | Delete
Josefson had 15 pts in 50 games in SELTedenby had 4 pts in 32 games in SEL ( then put up 9pts in 18 playoff games)
June 28, 2009 5:46 PM ET | Delete
Don't look too much into the stats. They both are getting 4thline minutes as 17 year old playing against men. I think these top two picks will turn out great.
June 28, 2009 6:34 PM ET | Delete
Great point NickA! A lot of fans are getting down on our last 2 1st round picks. Give them time...
June 28, 2009 9:38 PM ET | Delete
There is absolutely no reason to be down on Tedenby. Just from watching him at the world juniors you can see the incredible skill he has. There is no substitute for experience, he's already got a championship in the Swedish League and as he continues to earn more playing time it will become obvious how great he can be.
June 28, 2009 9:49 PM ET | Delete
oh im excited about all three players (tedenby,josefson an bergfors) .. if u ment me when u said dont get down , u misunderstood.. i was simply puttin it out there that these guys have lower numbers then guys drafted out the OHL,WhL,QMJHL..all tho i think bergfgors has the least potential i still have faith that if we give him a shot on the top 2 lines an put him with elias he will succeed.
June 28, 2009 9:51 PM ET | Delete
i think tedenby will be a 1st liner an josefson an bergfors will be 2nd liners...one of these guys will replace langs on the 1st line eventually..
June 29, 2009 12:09 PM ET | Delete
I agree they all have a chance to crack the NHL lineup. Josefson is being described as the future Madden so maybe he'll be on the 3rd line...but Bergfors needs to make this roster now if he has any hope of staying.
June 29, 2009 12:22 PM ET | Delete
JERSEYDEVIL- i really hope we didnt just use our 1st round pick on a 3rd liner.. you co0uld easily be right tho.. everything i read about him says he is a great 2 way player an doesnt have crazy offensive skill... im hoping he can at least be a 50 pt player/15-20 goal scorer.
June 29, 2009 12:28 PM ET | Delete
Everything im reading about Josefson says he is a playmaker. He makes the players around him better, that doesn't sound like Madden to me. Just cause a guy is good 2-way forward doesn't mean he is a third liner. If that was the case guys like Datsyuk, Richards, Malkin, etc would all be third liners. All two-way means is he knows how to play his position which is a good thing.
June 29, 2009 4:01 PM ET | Delete
I guess it all depends on how he's developed. As long as they don't pigeonhole him, I think you will be right Nick. I don't really know who works with the young forwards, just that Larry Robinson works with the D. That's why I'm excited about the potential for Eric Gelinas.
June 29, 2009 6:01 PM ET | Delete
I bet you Gelinas ends up getting a look before Josefon.
June 29, 2009 6:09 PM ET | Delete
No way man. Defensemen take longer to develop and even Lou said Josefon was very close to being NHL ready. I think in a year and half we will see Josefon getting some NHL time. He will have 2 years playing against men once he comes over.
June 29, 2009 9:39 PM ET | Delete
Dont get yourself worked up on the draft, its the Devils, he'll enter the system and get lost for 2 to 3 years. You'll forget about him until they bring him up.
June 30, 2009 12:37 AM ET | Delete
I like the picks, and I said before the draft the Devils don't have any promising center prospects. I think that Josefson could be a solid 2 way center on the second line behind Zajac.
June 30, 2009 12:58 PM ET | Delete
Of course that's what happens with drafted players, but the fact is that every GM has one eye on the present and one eye 3 years down the road. So all we're doing is looking ahead 3 years to where Josefson and Gelinas may be.
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