The New Jersey Devils had a large group of draft picks last year when they possessed 11 picks, including the first-overall pick in which they netted center Nico Hischier. Now the team finds itself with just six draft picks this year after trading away their second and third round picks to add veteran players this season. The maneuvers worked as the team won 10 out of their last 15 games to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in six years. While the team does have the 17th pick in this year’s draft, NHL.com’s Mike Morreale writes that general manager Ray Shero is willing to consider trading down in this draft to recoup some of their lost draft picks.
“If you’re going to move up, great, but what’s the cost to move up?” Shero said. “Hey, we’d love to move down and get more assets, but you’re never going to know that until you’re on the draft floor and it’s coming to your pick.”
The team moved its third-round pick back in November when they traded centers Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi to Anaheim for defenseman Sami Vatenen, which helped solidify their defense. The team then moved its second-rounder at the trade deadline to pick up Michael Grabner, but the winger struggled when he arrived in New Jersey. After scoring 25 goals in 59 games with the New York Rangers, he potted just two in 23 games with the Devils.
- In the same article, Morreale adds that after a successful four-hour discussion with Taylor Hall after the 2016-17 season about his future, Shero had a discussion with goaltender Cory Schneider after this season. The conversation with Hall did create a change as he put up career numbers and is now a Hart Trophy candidate. Shero hopes a conversation with his goalie will produce similar results. “I basically have higher expectations for him and so does he,” Shero said. “We need better and he knows that. But it’s not like I’m mad at him. It’s just something needs to change. Whether it’s how he trains in the summer or something. When you turn 30-plus years old, guys need to do things differently.”
- Shero also updated Morreale on the status of Schneider, Hall and Patrick Maroon, who each had surgery recently. Schneider had surgery to remove cartilage in his left hip, while Hall had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his hand. Maroon underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. “I won’t know (if Schneider will be ready for the start of training camp) until we get closer and as we go through the summertime to see how he’s doing. He could return sooner or at the tail end of the (five-month) window. (Coach) John Hynes was up to see Hall this week and he told me everything is going well. In Hall’s case, everything points to him being ready for the start of training camp. Maroon is going to come back to New Jersey on June 11 to make sure everything is going well.”
- Morealle also asked Shero whether the team is interested in former star Ilya Kovalchuk, who is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team. “I’ve not reached out to Kovalchuk’s representatives and I’ve not heard from them, so there you go,” Shero said.
- Shero also told Morreale that the team chose not to sign 2016 fourth-rounder Evan Cormier to a contract (thereby allowing him to re-enter the draft this year) because he’s happy with the pipeline of goaltenders the franchise already has in MacKenzie Blackwood, Ken Appleby, Cam Johnson and Gilles Senn.