New Jersey Devils 2001 Draft Review

By Jared Ramsden

New Jersey Devils 2001 Draft Review

Every NHL Draft seems to follow a similar pattern for Lou Lamerillo and David Conte and this year was no different. The Devils went in with a substantial amount of draft picks, added to their deep pool of young talent, and threw in a few surprises as well. Here is a brief summary of what the Devils did and who they picked at this years’ draft.

1st Round(#24):

New Jersey trades this pick to the Florida Panthers for two 2001 2nd rounders(#44 and #48)

Analysis: I think that if Marcel Goc had fallen to this slot, the Devils would have grabbed him. I was a little surprised they didn’t select Krajicek, because I thought he would have been a perfect pick for the Devils, but I also wasn’t surprised the pick was traded. Anytime Lamoriello gets a chance to gain an extra pick, he’ll do it.

1st Round(#28): Adrian Foster, C/LW, 6’1″, 200, Saskatoon(WHL)

Player Notes: Has played only 12 games the last two seasons for Saskatoon as a result of an abdominal injury from the junior A ranks in his hometown of Calgary. Played in only 5 games last season, recording 5 assists. Played midget hockey with Thrashers top prospect Dany Heatley. Described as a smooth skater that can accelerate well. Good puck-handling skills, compared to Doug Weight. Will play physical.

Analysis: As per usual, the Devils pulled of a draft day surprise. The CSB didn’t even have Foster ranked. This pick will be high-risk, high reward, and if the Devils did their homework on this guy(which I’m sure they did) he should turn out. Obviously, the injuries are somewhat of a concern, but the Devils probably wouldn’t have picked him that high without throughly checking his current medical condition.

It was thought that he might have been a top 5 pick had he been healthy, so it’s quite clear the he has enough talent, but his health will be a major issue. If he can overcome his injury, Lamerillo and Conte will look like geniuses. With the Devils drafting history, it is well worth the risk in my opinion.

2nd Round(#44): Igor Pohanka, C, 6’3″, 185, Prince Albert(WHL)

Player Notes: Recorded 49 points(16G,33A) in 70 games as a rookie for Prince Albert. Also played in WU18 tournament for his native Slovakia and recorded 5 points(2G,3A) in 6 games. Rated as #36 North American Skater for CSB and #53 overall in THN. Strong skater, good speed. Above average puck and playmaking skills. Can play PP and PK. Tends to shy away from physical play.

Analysis: A good pick for Lou and his staff. When Pohanka gets stronger, he should be able to turn into a decent NHL player. He has plenty of skill and that should be his ticket to the bigs. I would say he turns into a solid 2nd line player at best or 3rd liner at worst.

2nd Round(#48): Tuomas Pihlman, LW, 6’2″, 205, JYP Jyvaskyla(Finland)

Player Notes: Recorded 9 points(3G,6A) in 49 games for his Finnish team. Rated as #31 European Skater for CSB and #64 overall in THN. Strong work ethic, decent hands. Will play a physical game and has above average strength.

Analysis: The Devils seem to be dipping more and more into Finland and added a solid player in Pihlman. In my view he sounds like a guy who will turn into a good, physical two way forward who can chip in some goals as well. Another good pick for the Devils scouting staff.

2nd Round(#60): Viktor Uchevatov, D, 6’4″, 205, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl 2(Russia)

This pick is acquired from the Ottawa Senators for two of New Jersey’s 3rd rounders (#81 and #94)

Player Notes: Recorded 2 points(0G,2A) and 16 PIM in 13 games for Russia in three seperate tournaments. Regular season stats are N/A. Ranked as #30 European Skater for CSB and #55 overall in THN. Size is an well-marked strength. Likes to take the body. Strictly a defensive defenseman.

Analysis: With his size alone, he has a chance to become an NHL’er, but after reading up on him, he may be a project type of prospect that the Devils will have to be patient with. When he puts on a few more pounds, his prospect status should increase dramatically. Well worth the pick at this spot.

3rd Round(#67): Robin Leblanc, RW, 6’1″, 175, Baie-Comeau(QMJHL)

Player Notes: 62 points(24G,38A) in 61 games. Ranked #92 among North American Skaters by CSB. Is of Swiss descent. More of a skill-player, likes to play to the outside. Good speed. Has shown an ability to score. Not very physical.

Analysis: This guy looks like he’s an all-skill guy who is afraid to play in the corners. If he wants to be an NHL’er, he needs to show a willingness to get his nose dirty, which is a huge part of the Devils game plans. CSB says he has ability to play physical and gaining a few extra pounds won’t hurt. CSB also says he needs more determination in his game.

3rd Round(#72): Brandon Nolan, C, 6’0, 177, Oshawa(OHL)

Player Notes: 38 points(15G,23A) in 52 games. Ranked #68 among NA Skaters by CSB. Good playmaking and puckhandling skills. Competes hard every night.

Analysis: Seems like this guy has alot of potential. CSB’s description of him fits the Devils system nicely. Could fit in perfectly in New Jersey a little while down the road.

3rd Round(#78):

This pick is traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for a 3rd round 2002 pick and a 4th round 2001(112) pick.

4th Round(#112):

This pick is traded to the Atlanta Thrashers along with a 2002 7th rounder for Atlanta’s 2002 3rd rounder.

4th Round(#128): Andrei Posnov, F, N/A, N/A, Krylya Sovetov(Russia)

Player Notes: N/A

Analysis: Hard to analyze with Posnov’s limited player information. Pick is similar to that of last year pick of Alexander Suglobov in that not much is known of him. Devils scouts evidently know something, and wouldn’t draft him if they didn’t think he had NHL capabilites.

5th Round(#163): Andreas Salomonsson, C/W, 6’1″, 185, Djurgarden(SWE)

Player Notes: Is an overage draftee(27), so no CSB ranking. Last year was first season with Djurgarden after spending previous 9 years with MoDo. Recorded 22 points(10g,12A) in 48 games last year. Good speed. Has good playmaking skills. Finishing skills are lacking. Gives good, honest effort.

Analysis: Interesting pick here. Most of these types of players are drafted to play ASAP. Is Lou looking to add more depth here while the younger prospects develop in Albany? That is my thinking to this pick. Could see Salomonson in NJ next year.

6th Round(#194): James Massen, RW, 6’1″, 215, Sioux Falls(USHL)

Player Notes: 75 points last year(36G,39A). CSB ranked him #63 among NA Skaters. Has good goal scoring ability. Skates well, hard to knock off of puck.

Analysis: This pick is one that excites me. Sound like he has loads of potential. Could be Lou and David’s draft day sleeper. CSB says he’s a powerforward who drives well to the net. I really like this pick, especailly at that slot in the draft. I think he has the potential to be one of the best picks in the Devils draft.

8th Round(#229): Aaron Voros, C, 6’4″, 185, Victoria(BCJHL)

Player Notes: Will play with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks next year. Last year recorded 32G,33A for 65Pts and 196PIM’s. NR by CSB. Has plenty of size and grit. Looks to be a powerforward.”Should emerge as an offensive leader and should prove to be a dominant college hockey player with great pro potential.” says UAF hockey coach Guy Gadowsky.

Analysis: I just found this information on Voros, and after reading about him, this could be another late round steal. This guy looks to be the complete package. Another good late pick by the Devils.

8th Round(#257): Evgeny Gamalej, D, N/A, N/A, N/A(Russia)

Player Notes: N/A

Analysis: Just like Posnov, not much information to go on. But what is important is that New Jersey knows enough about him to draft him.

Once again, it looks like the Devils came away with some solid NHL talent. They added quite a bit of size and added a few european surprises. Seems odd that they didn’t take a goaltender though. The system doesn’t have much outside of the pro ranks and it kind of surprises me that they didn’t add a goalie.

I really like the late picks of Massen and Voros. They seem like the kind of picks that the Devils specialize in. Sleepers that other teams pass over.

Thanks for reading the article. I’ll probably write my next article sometime in July.