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On 17th overall and the NHL Awards

June 21, 2018, 12:13 PM ET [53 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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On 17th overall

I've used this space a lot to talk about players I would be eying with the 17th overall pick. Ideally, one of the high upside forwards like Grigori Denisenko, Rasmus Kupari or, if he somehow slips, Vitali Kravtsov.

If I were to guess who the Devils will actually end up taking, assuming there's no big faller, I'd put my money on K'Andre Miller.

He's risen up the ranks over the last couple months. From what I've heard, he's more likely to go in the 16-21 range than the 26-31 range and I wouldn't be surprised if the Devils end up being the team to pull the trigger.

Miller makes an accurate first pass, he possesses good top speed, he's elusive with the puck, his positioning and gap control is excellent, and he has ideal NHL size at 6'3' and more than 200 pounds. From a skill set perspective, he checks a lot of the boxes the Devils are looking for.

It's also worth noting Ray Shero *loves* American players and Miller is a left-handed defender, which happens to be the team's biggest organizational weakness. If the Devils were to go with Miller, they'd be making somewhat of an upside pick while addressing a need at the same time. It just makes sense.

On the NHL awards

Taylor Hall and Brian Boyle winning the awards they did was as predictable as the sunrise so I'm not going to spend anymore time on that.

What really stuck out to me last night was some of the strange votes that were made.

For example, 26-year-old Yanni Gourde received a 1st place vote (over Mathew Barzal!) for the Calder and easily finished ahead of Nico Hischier in overall voting.

That's interesting considering the 19-year-old Hischier recorded more primary points at 5v5, which is the most difficult game state to produce in, while posting better relative numbers in terms of possession and goals scored.

I know it's best rookie, not best young rookie, but I feel like the seven year age gap didn't factor in enough.

Another strange outcome was John Hynes finishing 6th in Jack Adams voting. It was especially weird because Colorado coach Jared Bednar finished 3rd. They basically did the same thing – led a team expected to be garbage to the playoffs – so I was surprised to see Bednar record almost triple the amount of voting points.

It's tough to get too worked up about this stuff, though. I mean, these same cast of characters gave Taylor Hall a vote to be a 1st Team All Star...as a center. He finished just behind another winger in Claude Giroux, who was centered by Selke finalist Sean Couturier all season long. Glad we're still getting positions wrong for elite players.

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