Devils Decide to keep First Round Pick in 2012 Draft

As a result of the Ilya Kovalchuk circumvention ruling by the NHL in the summer of 2010, the New Jersey Devils were ordered to forfeit one of their next 4 first round draft choices, at the team’s discretion.

Obviously after a disappointing season, followed by a draft lottery win, the Devils decided to keep the Fourth Overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and took Swedish blueliner Adam Larsson.

Today it was learned, by Tom Gulitti, devils beat writer and author of the North’s Fire and Ice Blog that the Devils will also keep their 2012 pick, deferring the forfeiture to either 2013 or 2014.

This is a surprise move as the Devils, Cup Finalists, will be picking 29th overall.  It was widely assumed that with such a low pick, the advancing age of Martin Brodeur, and the uncertain future of Zach Parise, that the Devils would choose to forfeit this pick.  This has changed draft boards, and we have already had to update my mock draft due to this development.

Reaction by most experts is that this is a bad move, due to the fact that the Devils would need to repeat their playoff performance to be picking this low again, and that the 2013 draft is expected to have a number of outstanding prospects.

Now its certainly possible that even say a pick in the low 20s in 2013 wouldn’t be a significantly better player than the 29th pick this year.  2013 is talked about as being a great draft, but so was 2012 at this time last year.  Its also true that picking now and forfeiting later will give the Devils prospect 1 extra year of development, and this may be what the team is thinking.  However I think this is a bad move.  The risk far outweighs the reward.  There is so much parity in the NHL, that a playoff spot is not even assured for the Devils next year, I mean just look at what happened to the 2010-11 club.  There is the risk of major injuries to key contributors, the eventual fall off in Brodeur’s game or his retirement, and the possible loss of Parise to Free Agency.  There is a lot to consider here, but I believe the upside of keeping the pick this year is limited compared to the risk that you have to give up a lot higher pick in 2013 or 2014.  I certainly disagree with the Devils choice.

However, Lamoreillo has proven his worth as a NHL GM and he might just have something up his sleeve come draft day. This certainly adds to the intrigue in Pittsburgh on June 22nd, and as always we’ll be watching the Draft News closely as we go.

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… and thats the Last Word.