2012 NHL Draft: Mock Drafting The Devils Selections in Rounds 2-6

There are five days left until the NHL Draft and while much of the focus is always on the first day when teams choose their first round picks, it ends up being the second day the makes or breaks how a team's draft is viewed years later. A team can only rely on first round picks for so much production. The second day of the draft features round two through seven, with lesser known players selected and in most cases not heard from for years, if not ever. But as we all know those players can play pivotal roles in an organization. Just think that two of the top performers for the Devils in 2011-12 were second day selections, Mark Fayne (5th round 2005) and Calder Trophy Finalist Adam Henrique (3rd round 2008).

Today, I try and introduce you to some players who the Devils might be looking at during the second day of the draft. Last year I wrote up a mock draft of possible Devils day selections and thought it was a fun exercise. Out of the players I thought as possible targets, the Devils selected Reid Boucher (although I thought he would have been a 3rd round target instead of a 4th) so hopefully I can improve my hit ratio a bit. After the jump, I will look at a few players I think the Devils will be looking at with each of their day two selections.

To piece together this type of list, I just look at recent Devils drafting history to guide me. The Devils tend to draft players whose rights they would be able to hold onto longer. Those players are primarily those who have committed to the NCAA. Last year the Devils relied heavily on this model. Excluding 6th round pick Reece Scarlett out of Swift Current, all other Devils day two selections were slated to head to the NCAA.

The Devils have also shown a tendency to draft players who have flexible playing circumstances. A player like Alexander Urbom is a great example. Drafted as a European player (who had already agreed to play in the CHL) he had the flexibility to play in the AHL as well, getting around the CHL/AHL agreement that players under 20 who had been drafted by a NHL team were only able to play in the AHL after their CHL club's season ended. Players drafted from the USHL,BCHL,or OJHL have more flexibility as they can continue to play in those junior leagues or play in the NCAA where they are still eligible.

I really like the fact that the Devils have focused on drafting of college players. Besides the extended player rights a team receives (the club drafting a player who has committed to college has the players rights in most cases until August 15th of the year the player is slated to graduate college) the player is playing a better level of competition and a less rigorous schedule.

That all said, when developing the list below I kept in mind the Devils draft habits in combination with the idea that they would draft the 'best player available'. Utilizing information readily available from online scouting sources and draft guide information I purchased here are some players who I think the Devils may target during the second day of the 2012 draft.

Rd Pk Overall Player Pos NHL Profile 2012-13 Team
2 30 60 Jon Gilles G NHL.com Profile Link Indiana-USHL
Chandler Stephenson C/LW NHL.com Profile Link Regina-WHL
Ben Johnson LW NHL.com Profile Link Windsor-OHL
Esa Lindell D NHL.com Profile Link Jokerit U20 A-Finland
3 29 90 Kevin Roy LW NHL.com Profile Link Lincoln-USHL
Zach Stepan C NHL.com Profile Link Ohio State-CCHA
Devin Shore C NHL.com Profile Link Whitby-OJHL
Jack McCabe D NHL.com Profile Link Wisconsin-WCHA
4 5 96 Riley Barber C NHL.com Profile Link Miami-CCHA
Austin Wuthrich RW NHL.com Profile Link Notre Dame-CCHA
Tomas Hyka RW NHL.com Profile Link Gatineau-QMJHL
Charles Hudon LW NHL.com Profile Link Chicoutimi-QMJHL
5 14 135 John Stevens C NHL.com Profile Link Dubuque-USHL
Philip Tot RW NHL.com Profile Link Lethbridge-WHL
Connor Carrick D NHL.com Profile Link Michigan-CCHA
Matej Beran LW NHL.com Profile Link PEI-QMJHL
5 29 150 Matthew Murray G NHL.com Profile Link Sault Ste Marie-OHL
Petr Sraka F 2010 ILWT Profile Rimouski-QMJHL
Paul DeJersey F NHL.com Profile Link Prince George-BCHL
Jesse Graham D NHL.com Profile Link Niagara-OHL
6 29 180 Shayne Gostisbehere D NHL.com Profile Link Union College-ECAC
Jordan Martinook F NHL.com Profile Link Vancouver-WHL
Graham Black C NHL.com Profile Link Swift Current-WHL
Justin Kloos C NHL.com Profile Link Minnesota-WCHA

Draft Notes: The Devils have traded numerous 2012 picks, but here is what you need to know. They have Toronto's 4th round pick, 96th overall via a trade involving David Steckel. They also acquired Calgary's 5th round pick, 135 overall via a trade involving Pierre-Luc Letourneau-LeBlond. The Devils traded their own 4th round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes and their 7th round pick to the Anaheim Ducks to acquire Alexei Ponikarovsky and Kurtis Foster.

Now out of the players who I think will be available with each of the Devils picks here is who I would like for them to select.

2nd Round: Pick 60 Overall: Ben Johnson, Left Wing, Windsor-OHL

I think the 2nd round pick is hardest to figure out in advance. Here a team might be able to select someone on their draft board slated to go in the first round that fell. We won't know who some of the 'fallers' are until late Friday night. At this point I am looking at Ben Johnson out of Windsor of the OHL. The book on Johnson is elite skating speed and goal scoring ability. At about 6'0" and 180 pounds he has some decent size which will help him at higher levels. We all saw what speed can do for a team in the playoffs (think Carl Hagelin, Eric Wellwood, etc) and the Devils don't really have a player like him in the system. The Devils could also look to add Finish defender in Esa Lindell here, as the Devils look to augment their defensive depth in the event that some defensemen do not pan out as hoped.

Check out this video here that shows how his speed/quick decisions not only created goals but allowed him to score as well.

3rd Round: Pick 90 Overall: DevinShore, Center, Whitby-OJHL

Spoiler alert: I will be profiling DevinShore tomorrow, so I've read up a lot about him, and I might even be a bit biased with this pick. Shore, was the OJHL (Canadian Junior A League) rookie of the year, second team all league and heads to Maine next year to begin his college career. Despite the level of competition he played against Shore tore up that league as a 17 year old, an impressive accomplishment. All reports indicate a strong two way center that gets to the front of the net to make plays. I would love for him to fall to the Devils in the third round.

4th Round Pick 96 Overall: Austin Wuthrich, Right Wing, Notre Dame-CCHA

Take two. Last year I had hoped the Devils would select Wuthrich in the middle of the draft. He was slated to attend Notre Dame but had missed time due to a broken leg. The injuries must have scared teams off as he was passed over by not only the Devils but by the entire league. In his second year of draft eligibility it seems he has put his injuries behind him as he played 36 games with Irish last year, averaging almost half a point per game. From all accounts, he has developed into a strong possession player and now with some experience and graduations helping move him up the depth chart, Wuthrich seems primed for a breakout year.

5th Round Pick 135 Overall: Connor Carrick, Defenseman, Michigan-CCHA

Carrick has already committed to the University of Michigan and will join Devils prospect Jon Merrill on the Wolverine blue line. Michigan coaches think he is a good two-way player and he should be able to jump right into the Wolverine lineup as a freshman. He hasn’t wowed anyone with statistics yet, but he is the type of defenseman the Devils have selected in past drafts with hopes of further development under tutelage at the NCAA level.

One interesting player that the Devils could look at with either of their 5th round picks is Petr Straka, who was drafted in the 2010 draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2nd round, but was unsigned by Columbus and is therefore available in this weeks draft. Straka didn’t impress in his seasons after being drafted, however taking a shot at a player that may just need some coaching up isn’t a bad thing. Plus, are we really that confident that Columbus knew what they were doing by not signing him?

5th Round Pick 150 Overall: Matthew Murray, Goaltender, Sault-St. Marie-OHL

I shake my fist in the air and utter bad words when I see mock drafts that have the Devils taking a goalie in the first round. They are not selected a goalie in the first round. Based on their needs at forward I can't see the 29th pick being ketp to draft a goaltender. 2nd round drafting of goalies I can stomach if the prospect seems strong enough (I wouldn’t be opposed to the Devils taking Jon Gillies if he lasts that long in the 2nd) , …but I’d probably rather the Devils wait until the later part of the draft where selected a goalie is more reasonable. I like the upside of Matthew Murray goalie out of the OHL. He had a rough 2011-12, eventually getting displaced by his team acquiring highly touted prospect Jack Campbell, but scouts were very high on him mid-season (#2 ranked North American goaltender mid-term) and a few scouting services still have him ranked pretty high. If available in the 5th or 6th round, Murray definitely seems worth the risk.

6th Round Pick: 180 Overall: Justin Kloos, Center, Minnesota-WCHA

For the last pick in the draft the Devils can't do worse than they did last year (7th round pick Patrick Daly retired after 10 NCAA games) so let's take a chance. I am hoping they select Minnesota high school player Justin Kloos who lit up his league and heads off to play for the University of Minnesota. I picture him as a player who eventually scores a ton of points in college and becomes the prize of the college free agent class in a few years. Why not secure his rights now?

Of course, I am assuming the Devils stand pat with their current selections. I wouldn't be surprised if the Devils leveraged their late 3rd/early 4th round pick to move up in the 2nd round in case a player that's high on their draft board falls.

Now it's your turn. Are there any 'sleepers' you would like the Devils to target in the later rounds? Do you think the Devils will package a few picks to move up at all? Are there any projected mid-late first round players who you think will be available when the Devils select in the 2nd round?

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