Welcome to the first part of an ongoing series to help serve as a primer for the NHL Entry Draft, to be held Jun. 27, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Each day, Too Many Men on the Site will look at draft history in reverse order, starting from No. 30 on May 29, and finishing with the first overall pick on the day of the draft, Jun. 27. In addition to recent history (last five years) of the pick, the series will examine the team’s history in that particular draft slot, or as close as possible if there is no history, the criteria being three picks on either side of the allotted slot for this year.
The New Jersey Devils hold the 30th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the final selection of the first round. Under normal circumstances, the Devils would have picked 11th, but this pick is part of a revised penalty levied by the NHL as the result of New Jersey’s salary cap circumvention on Ilya Kovalchuk‘s contract, with no chance to trade it.
Devil’s In The Details – New Jersey’s History With Pick #30
This will be New Jersey’s second time picking from the 30th position, with defenceman Matthew Corrente being selected there in 2006. Corrente played 34 games with the Devils, scoring two goals and adding seven assists before signing with the Carolina Hurricanes organization and playing the 2013-14 season with the Charlotte Checkers.
Though they’ve only made one pick from there, it doesn’t mean the Devils haven’t seen action from the 30th slot before, as they initially had it after winning the Stanley Cup in 2002-03. After winning the Cup, the Devils exercised a clause allowing them to switch draft picks with the St. Louis Blues as a result of the Blues tampering to try and get Stevens back in 1994.
As a result, the Devils moved up to the 22nd pick, but they weren’t done there, as they traded with the Edmonton Oilers to acquire the 17th overall pick, used to select then-University of North Dakota forward Zach Parise, who became a franchise cornerstone in New Jersey before signing with the Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2012.
For what it’s worth, the Oilers used the 22nd selection on Rimouski Oceanic forward Marc-Antoine Pouliot (21 goals, 36 assists in 192 NHL games), while the Blues, having been relegated to the 30th pick, used it on Tri-City Americans defenceman Shawn Belle (one assist in 20 NHL games). Both Belle and Pouliot currently play in Europe.
The Devils have made plenty of picks in the three-pick vicinity of 30 in past NHL drafts, and some have turned out much better than others. Scott Gomez turned into a Calder Trophy winner after New Jersey took him 27th overall in 1998, though they couldn’t catch a good stroke of luck again from Finnish goaltender Ari Ahonen the following year. They picked 28th in 2001, but Adrian Foster didn’t pan out for them. They’ve also picked 29th twice, in 1990 with Chris Gotziaman, and more recently with Stefan Matteau in 2012.
On the flip side, the Devils got some solid value out of the 32nd pick a couple decades ago, as they took steady defenceman Eric Weinrich (1985) and grinder Jay Pandolfo (1993) in that position. They also took Donevan Hextall with the 33rd pick in 1991, but that pick didn’t work out, either.