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Setting the table for the New Jersey Devils on draft day

June 22, 2018, 11:01 AM ET [102 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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Draft day is finally here. Between standing pat at 17th overall, moving down to accumulate assets, and other potential trades, there are a lot of possibilities.

Let's run through them.

Picking at 17

Barring anyone falling onto the Devils' lap, I think K'Andre Miller could very well be the pick. As I alluded to in Thursday's blog​, he has risen up a lot of boards over the last few months and is probably going to go in the 16-21 range. Given his puck moving ability, fluid skating stride, and size, I think he could be very attractive to a Devils team desperate for a high-end talent on defense – particularly on the left side. Taking Miller would be a mix of chasing upside and addressing a need.

While I'd be content with Miller, my preference would be a dynamic forward such as Vitali Kravtsov, Grigori Denisenko or Rasmus Kupari – probably in that order – if available. Rasmus Sandin would be a fine selection as well, although the Devils could likely move down a few slots and still land him.

Trading down

I think the Devils are more likely to stay at 17. They've made a lot of picks over the last couple years so they're not in a position where they *have* to move back and restock the pick cupboard they dipped into at the deadline. In saying that, if a team is willing to pay a premium to trade up and get a guy they're enamored with I think Ray Shero would be a willing trade partner.

Sandin, Jonathan Berggren and Serron Noel are among the more intriguing options who could be available in the early to mid 20s.

Other trades

Shero has made some notable acquisitions at or around the draft in recent years. Generally he targets teams up against the cap, or close to it, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him do so again given the amount of money the Devils have to play with.

One potential trading partner is Minnesota. They have a new GM looking to put his stamp on the team. The Wild have ~$11 million in space, however, Jason Zucker and Mathew Dumba need new deals. Zucker is coming off a 33-goal, 64-point season. Dumba put up 50 points while averaging almost 24 minutes a night. Suffice to say, they will eat up that money in a hurry.

The Wild reportedly want to attach Tyler Ennis' contract​ ($4.6 million for one more year) in any deal including a notable winger like Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, or Zucker. The Devils are one of the few teams who could afford to make that kind of trade.

Of the group rumored to be available, I'd think Niederreiter would be most attractive to the Devils. He's just 25 years old, he is locked up for four more years at an affordable $5.25M per, he is exceptional defensively, and he has recorded more 5v5 points than Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Jakub Voracek, Max Pacioretty, and Cam Atkinson, among others, over the last three seasons.

The Devils could really use a guy like him, especially on the right side, and the Swiss connection with Nico Hischier and Mirco Mueller doesn't hurt, either.

Maybe Shero has other plans with his cap space but this is one way he could go about using it while improving the team.

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