Photo: Drafted 29th overall in 2012, Stefan Matteau instantly became the top forward prospect for New Jersey. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lockout or no lockout, it is not likely that many of the New Jersey Devils minor-pro prospects would be in line for a promotion to the NHL. Having graduated a handful of players over the past couple of years like Adam Larsson, Adam Henrique, and Mark Fayne to name a few, the NHL roster is well stocked with established veterans and young up-and-comers.
Photo: University of Michigan defenseman Jon Merrill leads a strong and diverse group of New Jersey Devils prospects. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
The strength of the New Jersey Devils organization continues to reside in the burgeoning stable of defensemen working their way through the system. The addition of 2012 draft pick Damon Severson to a group that already includes Jon Merrill, Alexander Urbom, Eric Gelinas, and Reece Scarlett should have Devils fans frothing at the mouth about what the defense might look like in the near future. That doesn't even include Adam Larsson, who's already established himself at the NHL level.
Photo: Selected 29th overall, forward Stefan Matteau brings a solid mix of skill, physicality, and sandpaper to the Devils organization. Matteau is the son of former NHLer Stephane Matteau, a veteran of 848 games. (Ken McKenna/HF)
The New Jersey Devils were back in a familiar position this season, drafting right near the end of the first round after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. While the common thought was that this would be an opportune time for the Devils to give up their first round draft choice as part of the punishment for Ilya Kovalchuk's contract, GM Lou Lamoriello decided to keep the pick.
Photo: The fourth overall pick of 2011, Adam Larsson is the highest drafted player by the New Jersey Devils since they selected Scott Niedermayer third overall in 1991. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
Given that the New Jersey Devils advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final this season, it seemed like a slam-dunk that they would forfeit their first round draft pick this year. However GM Lou Lamoriello threw everyone a curve-ball and decided to keep the pick, which is the second to last (29th overall) in the first round. He obviously has the confidence that his team can again contend for the Stanley Cup in the coming years because now the Devils will have to decide whether to give up their first round pick in either 2013 or 2014.
Photo: Rookie center Adam Henrique has shown a knack for clutch scoring in the 2012 NHL playoffs. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)
While Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have watched the playoffs on high-definition telecasts, one Calder Trophy finalist has lived them firsthand, helping push his team all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.