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Headlined by Ty Smith, the New Jersey Devils made six selections in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Let's go through them.
D – Ty Smith – Spokane (WHL) – 17th overall
Ray Shero and co. addressed a big time need while also chasing upside with this selection. Ty Smith is a smooth-skating defenseman who can dissect a defense with good puck movement or carry the mail himself if there is open space to attack. He is excellent on his edges, which makes him elusive and dangerous at the opposing line. He's really good at shifting to change angles, create space, and find open lanes. He's an excellent decision maker who rarely forces something that isn't there. While a little undersized, his positioning, smarts, and skating ability make him a fine defender. There aren't many sure things when it comes to the draft but I think Smith is a really good bet to develop into a top-4 defender who can play in all situations. The Devils did well getting him where he did, as I alluded to in The Ty Smith Blog™
D – Xavier Bernard – Drummondville (QMJHL) – 110th overall
Bernard is not a dynamic skater but he gets around the ice pretty well for a guy of his stature (6'3'). He's described as a simple but effective defender who doesn't have any standout skills or major weaknesses.
He posted some really encouraging 5v5 numbers ranking 10th among draft eligible CHL defenders in ePoints/60 and tied for 3rd with a +29 goal differential in that game state.
G – Akira Schmid – Langnau Jr. (Swiss Jr.) – 136th overall
Having recently moved on from Evan Cormier, I thought the Devils would draft a goaltender and they did just that in the 5th round.
Admittedly, I don't know much about Schmid so I'll defer to HockeyProspect's draft guide
, the Black Book, for a little more background.
Schmid is described as a big, calm, technically sound goaltender whose movement is a little stiff. He needs to improve his agility and post-to-post quickness.
C – Yegor Sharangovich – Minsk Dynamo (KHL) – 141st overall
Hey, a forward!
As a 19-year-old, Sharangovich spent the entire season in the KHL and finished 10th on his team in scoring.
He's a 6'2', 200 pound center who plays a power game and skates well for a player of his stature. He makes good decisions with the puck and is committed to playing a 200-foot game.
C – Mitchell Hoelscher – Ottawa (OHL) – 172nd overall
Hoelscher is a smart center who possesses a non-stop motor and is relentless on the forecheck. He is undersized, and definitely needs to add muscle, but he plays big and never gives up. He showed some flashes offensively while taking on a bigger role with Ottawa in the 2nd half.
Among 215 draft eligible CHL forwards to appear in at least 25 games, Hoelscher ranked 51st in 5v5 points/60 and played even hockey on a team with a -17 goal differential at 5v5.
If he ever cracks an NHL lineup, it'd be as a depth guy and penalty killer but there's enough there to warrant a late selection.
LW – Eetu Pakkila – Karpat U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga) – 203rd overall
I haven't seen Pakkila play and there isn't much – anything? – publicly available on him.
What I do know is this: he led his U20 team in goals and finished 2nd in overall scoring. The only teammate to tally more points is almost a year older.
This seems like a late round gamble on a skilled forward and I'm all for it.
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