The NHL held its 2016 Draft Lottery on Saturday to determine the order of selection for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo next month.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will pick first and likely get their hands on top prospect Auston Matthews, while Winnipeg will choose second, Columbus third, Edmonton fourth, Vancouver fifth, Calgary sixth, Matthews’ hometown Coyotes will go seventh (he is a native of Scottsdale, Arizona and grew up a fan of the ‘Yotes), Draft host Buffalo will pick eighth, Montreal ninth, Colorado tenth and the Devils will make their selection at eleven. Rounding out the rest of the non-playoff teams will be: Ottawa at twelve, Carolina at thirteen and Boston at fourteen. The playoff teams will select in the order that they finished in the regular season from there.
Picking midway through the first round, the Devils will have a crack at some good prospects. In one mock draft appearing on NHL.com on April 30 and written by NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman, the Devils would choose Alexander Nylander, a 6-foot 180-pound left winger playing for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. He is the brother of the Leafs’ William Nylander. Kimelman feels he is a good fit for New Jersey due to the Devils averaging a league low 2.22 goals per game. Nylander would be a good offensive threat for the team. Kimelman did not go into statistics, but did say that he “is a dynamic skater and offensive talent that excelled for Sweden at the World Juniors, and led all OHL rookies in points.”
Mike G. Morreale, also writing up a mock draft for NHL.com, had the Devils choosing Clayton Keller, a center for the US Under-18 team and Nylander going three spots higher to the Buffalo Sabres. Keller, who is 5-foot 9-inches tall and 168-pounds and “possesses the smarts, speed and competiveness to succeed at the next level.” He had 107 points in 62 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 Team and 14 points in the 2016 World U-18 Championship. Morreale said that Keller is committed to Boston University in 2016-17 and his junior rights are held by the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
The Devils will prepare for the Draft, to be held June 24 and 25 at Buffalo’s First Niagara Center.
Speaking of current Devils prospects, John Quenneville and the Brandon Wheat Kings will be appearing in their second straight WHL Final. After defeating the Red Deer Rebels 5-2 in game five to take the Eastern Conference crown, they will faceoff with the Seattle Thunderbirds in another shot at a WHL title and a chance to play for the Memorial Cup. Last year, they lost in the WHL final to Kelowna.
Quenneville, in the deciding game, scored a shorthanded goal and had an assist on the game winning goal last Friday. He currently is tied for the lead in the WHL playoffs scoring. He has 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points. According to the Devils’ website writeup about it, those totals include two power play goals, three shorthanded goals and two game winners.
Also according to the Devils site, Steven Santini has joined the US team at the World Championship. He joins a team being led by Devils bench boss John Hynes and featuring Devils Keith Kinkaid, David Warsofsky and fellow rookie Miles Wood.
Santini’s international resume includes the being a member of the 2014 US National Junior Team and winning a silver medal with the US Under-18 Team in 2013 (being named that tournament’s best defenseman).
The 2016 IIHF World Championship will take from May 6 to 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.