Devils Select Michael McLeod with 12th Overall Pick

All the hype for the 11th overall pick, and the Devils ended up trading it.  They traded the 11th overall pick to the Senators for pick #12 and a 3rd round pick (#80) in the 2016 NHL Draft.  The Devils would use the 12th overall pick to select Michael McLeod, the 6’2 center from the Mississauga Steelheads.

McLeod has been described as one of the best skaters in this draft, but has problems with finishing.  He is projected to be a playmaker at the next level.  If I could describe this pick, it would be meh.  HockeyProspect.com talked about McLeod at length in their 2016 NHL Draft Black Book, and it wasn’t a glowing write-up.  Their scouts love his size and his skating ability, as well as his passing skills.  The one knock on him they mention is his scoring.  They mentioned that he fell to 19th on their list because his passes up scoring opportunities, or his just missed great opportunities.  That’s not encouraging at all.  One NHL Scout mentioned that their combine interview with him was really bad, and that for a kid who has so much energy on the ice, he doesn’t have much off.

Future Considerations also has a very in-depth profile on McLeod.  Some things they praise are his skating, his hands, his defensive play, and his all around play.  They mention how he can set up scoring chances with his speed and passing.  Some things that they point out as weaknesses are inconsistent play and bad passes.  They project him as a top 6 two-way center at the NHL level.

I can’t say that I’m thrilled with this pick.  It’s early to tell for sure, but I’m not a big fan of a player who has a hard time finishing.  Time will tell how the pick plays out, and I hope he proves me wrong, but I’m just very meh with this pick.

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Devils Release 2016-17 Season Schedule

Yesterday, the Devils announced that their home opener would be on October 18th against the Anaheim Ducks.  We also found out that the Devils will play against the Bruins on October 20th for their home opener, and against the Panthers on October 13th for their home opener.  The Devils just announced their entire schedule for the 2016-17 season, and you can find that here.  You can also find some more news about the entire NHL schedule here.

Some Thoughts

The first thing that I looked at was the back-to-back games.  It looks like the Devils will have 15 back to back games this year.  You can look at that a couple of ways, but I see it as time that Cory will have some rest during the season.  It also looks like it will be a tough start to the season for the Devils.  Their first month of the season features games against the Lightning, Panthers, Ducks, Blackhawks, and Wild.  

The longest stretch of home games this year is 5 in February, and they have a couple of 4 game road trips that are their longest of the year.  Some interesting games for Devils fans are November 12th against the Sabres, November 23rd against the Leafs, and January 7th against the Oilers.  These will be the fans chance to see guys like Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews.

April will be a very interesting time of the season for the Devils.  They play the Flyers twice, Penguins, Red Wings, and Islanders.  I think that all these teams will be fighting for a playoff spot, but a team like the Penguins could have their spot secured.  The Devils could play spoiler to one of these teams in April.

The Devils play the Rangers twice at MSG before they play them at home on February 25th. Their last game against the Rangers will be at the Rock on March 21st.  They host the Flyers for the first time a couple days before Christmas, December 22nd to be exact.  The Devils also host the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on December 27th for the first time.  

Devils Trade For Marc Savard and 2018 2nd Round Pick

The Devils announced via press release that they have traded prospect Graham Black and Paul Thompson to the Florida Panthers for Marc Savard and a 2018 2nd round pick.  Savard hasn’t played since the 2010-2011 season, which was ended early from a concussion.  Savard will never dress for the Devils, as his career is over because of Post-Concussion Syndrome.  Black, a 2012 5th round pick, had 9 points in 50 games last season for Albany, as well as 4 points in 5 playoff games.  Paul Thompson had 35 points in 56 games for Albany, and 4 points in 10 playoff games.

This trade is basically the Devils buying a draft pick.  Savard has a cap hit of $4,027,143 this season and a salary of $575,000.  His contract is up after next season (2016-17).  Black and Thompson weren’t going to go anywhere in the Devils organization, and the Devils used their best asset (cap space) to get an extra pick in the future.  The Devils can also use this deal to reach the cap floor.  There are other potential contracts the Devils can take for picks (Datsyuk comes to mind depending on if he goes to the KHL) if they really wanted to.

Shero did a very good job of getting an extra pick for the future.  It’s a good deal for both teams, as the Panthers get cap space to use to better their team, while the Devils take on the dead cap that they can easily eat.  Really like what Shero did here, and I’m excited to see what he has planned for the draft!

Devils Release Preseason Schedule

Earlier today, the Devils released their preseason schedule for the 2016-17 season via Twitter.  The Devils will have three home games during the preseason, playing the Flyers (9/26/16), Rangers (10/1/2016), and Islanders (10/5/2016).  The remaining games are against the Canadiens (9/26/2016), Flyers (9/28/2016), Rangers (9/29/2016), Islanders (10/3/2016), and Panthers (10/8/2016).

As you can see, the Devils will play the Flyers and Canadiens on the same night.  These two games will feature a good mix of players and prospects.  The most interesting thing will be the game against the Panthers.  This game is going to be at West Point, and it will feature what will more than likely be the Devils regular season roster.

 

Devils Sign Brandon Baddock to ELC, Jan Mandat to AHL Contract

According to the Devils website and ESPN’s Corey Pronman, the Devils have signed 2014 6th round pick Brandon Baddock to an entry level contract.  The 21 year old served as the Edmonton Oil Kings captain last year, putting up 35 points in 68 games.  Baddock will end his WHL career with 54 goals, 49 assists, and 103 points in 255 games.  That’s good for a 0.40 point per game average.  Baddock has put up 480 penalty minutes in those 255 games.  I wasn’t a big fan of this pick when it happened, and I’m not a big fan of the signing.  Not much to say about it.  He’s a big player, takes a ton of penalties, and doesn’t score that much.  I think the Devils could’ve found someone like that else where if they really wanted to.  Other 2014 picks Connor Chatham (3rd round) and Ryan Rehill (5th round) were not signed.  

In other news, The Devils signed forward Jan Mandat to an AHL contract according to Stephane Leroux. Mandat was born in the Czech Republic, and spent a couple of years playing in the U16, U18, and U20 levels in his home country.  He joined the Victoriaville Tigers for the 2013-14 season, where he put up 33 points in 61 games.  He split time between the Tigers and Val-d’Or Foreurs during the 2014-15 season, where he put up 36 points in 57 games.  He wore the “A” for Val-d’Or this past season, where his point totals jumped up to 64 points in 62 games.  This signing seems more like a depth signing for Albany, but you never know what could happen.  You can find his Elite Prospects page here.

(Photo Courtesy of Shaughn Butts/Edmonton Journal)

Devils sign French defenseman Yohann Auvitu

According to a Devils press release, the team has signed 26 year old French defenseman Yohann Auvitu to a one year, entry-level contract.

Auvitu, a left-handed shot, has played the last six seasons playing in the SM-Liiga, which is Finland’s top professional hockey league.  His most recent season was easily his best season in Liiga, winning the the league’s best defenseman award and All-Star team.  He put up 21 points in 48 games, and 13 points in 18 playoff games.  He lead all Liiga defensemen in playoff goals(6) and points.

Auvitu has also represented his home country of France on multiple occasions, most recently at the 2016 World Championship.  He had 3 points in 7 games at the tournament, and was France’s top defensemen.

This looks like a depth signing, much like Vojtech Mozik last year.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Auvitu once the season starts.

(Photo Courtesy of Timo Savela) 

Cory Schneider and Patrik Elias Undergo Surgery

According to the Devils official website, Cory Schneider and Patrik Elias underwent successful surgeries this week.

Cory’s surgery was to repair a core muscle injury, and the recovery time is approximately six weeks.  This shouldn’t be a concern for anyone, as Cory won’t miss any time because of it.  He should be good to go for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey.  We wish Cory a fast and easy recovery!

Patty’s surgery was on his right knee.  There was no timetable given for his recovery.  Patty missed most of the season with a knee injury, playing in just 16 games.  At 40 years old, Patty’s window to play is basically closed.  No one wants to see the Devils’ all-time leading scorer end his career because of injuries, but that’s how it might be.  

There is some hope, though.  Former Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti mentioned that this injury isn’t a career ending injury, but one that can prolong Patty’s career.  Elias is a UFA this year, so this might impact his decision on whether to retire, re-sign with the Devils, or test free agency.  We wish a full and speedy recovery to Patrik! 

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)