The New Jersey Devils went into the 2009 NHL Draft in Montreal with 8 picks, ending with only 7 players. The Devils packaged their third round pick along with their 23rd overall pick in the first round to Calgary in exchange for Calgary's 20th overall pick. The Devils traded up to select the center from Djurgarden and the third ranked European skater by CSS, Jacob Josefson. On the second day, the theme for the Devils' selection was defense size: every selection outside of their fifth rounder was 6'2" or bigger, and all but two picks were defensemen. While they aren't flashy picks, should they meet projections, the Devils will have much more depth in the system on defense.
Anyway, in case you have missed the NHL Draft, this post will serve as an overview for who the Devils selected. I did make posts about the players as the picks happened, but this will serve as a compendium of what I think is important to know about the player drafted in each round.
Granted, you truly can't judge a draft until many years later, when the players have actually developed into professionals. Still, Lou was pleased with how the Devils did. As for reader reactions, I put up a poll asking readers how they felt about the Devils' performance at the Draft. The poll is still open and will run for a few more days, but so far, 56% percent of readers feel that the Devils did a "good" job at the Draft. 30% rate it as "excellent," so a majority are positive about the selections as well. Feel free to register your vote.
As a last aside, Välkommen till blogg, vänner från Sverige! Jag vet att du har varit här hela helgen lång. Tack!
From NHL.com, here are the Devils picks from the 2009 NHL Draft. The most crucial scouting reports/quotes/stats that I found for each player (warning: it's huge!) are after the jump:
The Devils were very interested in this player and traded up to take him. Lou's quotes to Gulitti on Josefson were very positive.
"He’s a complete player," Lamoriello said. "I haven’t seen our draft table as excited as I’ve seen them today in a long time because where we had him ranked and then he didn’t go. Then, you get to point where you say, ‘Maybe he’s going to be close.’ Then, when you get close to where you’re going to draft, maybe four or five picks, that’s the only chance you have of somebody else switching. So, we made some calls and we were able to get Calgary to do it."
"He's a center iceman who can do everything on both sides of the puck," Lamoriello said. "He makes other people better than him. He's a passer. He's the type of player -- he's a lefty shot -- that we need."
I asked Adam Savonen, one of the writers of one of Sweden's most popular hockey blogs at Norren.se, for his thoughts on Josefson. The blog is in Swedish and it does tend to focus on Skelleftea AIK, but Savonen does follow the SEL and Sweden's national teams so he is familiar and has seen Josefson firsthand. He even contributed his thoughts in English (which I fixed up a little bit), so here are Savonen's comments.
Josefson: A playmaker with
great skating [ability]. He is strong all over the ice, and a very smart player with very good positioning [skills]. His speed and his smartness makes the big talent a possible [contributor] in both powerplay and boxplay [penalty kill?]. It is also possible to play Josefson in an offensive line or in a shutdown-line. The center can take [on] big responsibility on the ice.
Jacob is a SICKLY talented two-way center who is very all-round. He is first and foremost a great skating with very quick feet, which he thus may up speed really quickly and reaches a very high topspeed. In combination with skating, he has also a first-game content - where he reads the game excellent across the ice - and is located right in the path of its center position. He is very responsible defensively, good in BP, and so incredibly smart in their own zone. In addition to these skills he is also very toxic offensive, which, above all, his skill game stands out the most out of everything, although he also has a really good technology, and is a clearance of good rank. He is obviously very skilled in the PP and can control the tempo of anfallszon when he directs and sets. I would like to compare Jacob with Henrik Zetterberg, where Zetterberg is a little smarter, while Jacob is a better skates. The best thing about Jacob is that he will be utilized in a great way over there, because I think he just as easily could develop into a producing top2-center - which will be a shutdown-center - and then play against the opposition's country stars. Okay, that means that Jacob is in the first round? Yes, it is quite clear. Negative value for Jacobs, however, was that he step out of a bad shoulder in spring, so that he could clinch the problem (could not go to the full), and that he was not especially good in the U18 World Championships. Learn undoubtedly go somewhere between the 'middle and end' of the first round if there is any logic in the draft world.
Gelinas has heard the comparison to Chris Pronger because of his size and skating styles, "but there's a lot of difference in our games. But if you watch him skate, I think I skate like him. I probably handle the puck like him."
When asked to assess his own game, Gelinas siad, "I think I have really good skating ability. I pass the puck well. I think I have a good vision for good transition. That's my probably my biggest asset."
What does he need to work on?
"Right now, I'm working on my defensive zone play, positioning and stuff," he said. "I'm also working on getting more consistent and I want to be smarter also in my physical play, like how to use it."
"Tall and rangy with good mobility. Smooth, powerful stride and covers lots of ice in one stride. Loves to handle the puck and move in deep to force action at offensive end. High risk, high reward guy who takes a lot of changes, but makes things happen. Work in progress in his own end – was a forward until two years ago. Loose around own net -- needs work on positioning, clearing rebounds, and coverage down low. Confident attitude and handles the puck crisply. Can make brilliant home run passes through neutral zone. Has size/strength that ne needs to use more effectively. Already huge with a father who’s an athletic 6-foot-8 former pro baseball player. Got plenty of icetime on a rebuilding club, including quarterbacking the PP. Good footwork and mobility with a wide skating base. Will require lots of defensive development and coaching, but is a longterm project with great upside."
A big and strong player. Urbom is more of a stay-at-home defenseman that likes to play physical and usually has good timing in his hits. Positioning is good. Leads the team with his solid play in the defensive zone. Contributed offensively to some extent in the Swedish juniors, but is likely to become more of a shut-down guy. Offensive smarts and technical skills are fairly average.
Born in late 1990 that he is almost 91a. I was the one that revealed (although XP Jonas Fahlman pretended to be the first) that Urbom was utfryst of Djurgården, because he did not want to write new contracts for next season. It was very unfortunate for Urboms draft value, because he received so little exposure in the spring. However, I remain very high on Urbom and has been so all the time. Stockholm He has really nice and smooth skating for its extremely large size (192, 90), really good game inside, and is generally, an djäkla 'fiery hard'. A really wonderful leader who radiates authority and Pondus on the ice. Urbom might be even more physical in their own zone, but it is really up to their peers - and throw more than happy gloves - if it was to. In Elitserien he focused on playing solid and form a defensive 5-6e back, which is the same role as I believe he will be able to play in North America, though hopefully a little meaner. Ie a defensive WHOPPER perhaps matched hard resistance against the country's stars and gets a lot of playing time in BP, etc.. However, it should not underestimate his offensive potential, so it might be something there too (?), Because he is quite adept at blålinjen of PP. He has otherwise the right smart passningsspel, good first pass from own zone, flexible, good timing, and have really good traction with the puck in their possession. Will Urbom when Drafts? Yes, I think I can safely say. However, it is very difficult to say how early or late. Hardly the first three rounds, but then it can probably be at any time.
While it took a little effort, I think he's saying that Urbom isn't under contract with Djurgarden or anyone in the SEL just yet. Maybe if he doesn't sign, he'll attempt to come to North America? I don't know. In any case, Östberg states he's a good skater (another big man who can skate well!) and generally states that he is very good on defense. This basically concurrs with Eliteprospect's projection as Urbom becoming a defensive defenseman. However, that he felt he wouldn't be taken in the first three rounds make me wonder about his overall upside. In any case, hopefully he'll have a place to play next season, he'll improve, and if/when he does come over, perhaps we can see him drop some Urbombs on poor opponents.
Fourth Round Pick: Seth Helgeson - ILWT Post on Selection
Helgeson is a big physical defensive defenseman, but has also impressed scouts with his speed. Though he's not much of an offensive threat, he does possess a booming slap shot.
Strengths: Size, physicality, speed
Needs to Improve: Offensive abilities
Helgeson isn't a flashy or dynamic player and likely will never put up 40 points in the a season at the pro level, which is what will keep him out of the first round of the draft, but he does possess the ability to be a punishing physical presence that is reliable in his own zone. Helgeson would be a great pick for a team that picked up a very skilled offensive player in the first round, and is looking to add a solid defensive-minded bruiser in the second round.
He sounds like a project, but apparently moves well for a big man and plays with a physical edge. He had four goals and 12 assists in 56 games for Sioux City in 2008-09.
One scout told The Hockey News: "He's a big, strong defensive defenseman. Nothing more. Nothing less."
Another scout quoted in The Hockey News: "He plays the game like a warrior. He has an edge and some touch with the puck. He has size and grit. He's a guy who's going to be difficult to play against at whatever level he plays."
And the teacher thinks highly of the student. "Derek is a hard working power forward for us," [Don] MacDonald told me. "He works hard. He makes things happen on the ice. He’s learning to read the play and to be in the right place on the ice. And with a young team like we have this season, our young players look to people like Derek to lead the way, and he’s learning to do that too."
- In 131 games in the QMJHL, Bernard has compiled 370 penalty minutes.
- From Gulitti's post on the selection, there is this quote by Bernard when he was traded from Shawinigan to Cape Breton after this past season:
"I promise I won’t be scoring 50 goals like Chris Culligan did. But I could bring something that I don’t think the Eagles had even last year, I could bring toughness. I don’t think nobody will be pushing us around this season. I still have to earn my spot, it won’t be given to me."