The Devils have found a replacement for David Conte, with whom the team recently cut ties with. Paul Castron comes to the team from the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team he had been with since 1999-2000. He has been named the new Devils director of amateur scouting by General Manager Ray Shero.
He joined Columbus in the year prior to their inaugural season (which was 2000-01) as an amateur scout. He rose to become director of player development in 2002 and, eventually to director of amateur scouting when he was named to that position with the Blue Jackets on July 21, 2006. Prior to his time with Columbus, he was an amateur scout for the Ottawa Senators for eight years. He joined the Ottawa franchise in 1991 (a year prior to their inaugural season in 1992-93).
Castron graduated from St. Lawrence University (also Shero’s alma mater) where he played hockey from 1981-82 to 1984-85. He graduated with a degree in sociology according to the press release on the Devils’ website. His hockey stats included 56 goals, 86 assists and 142 points to go along with 135 penalty minutes in 131 games. The press release mentions he then went on to play professional hockey at the North American minor league level and in Europe. He played for four years in Sweden where he was a player/coach. He then retired as an active player and joined the expansion Senators as a scout.
Shero thanked the Columbus organization and in particular their GM, Jarmo Kekalainen, in a statement for letting Castron join the Devils. He also stated that “Paul has an outstanding track record of evaluating and developing prospects for more than 20 years. We feel that he has the experience and leadership qualities to help us accomplish our player development goals.”
The 53 year-old, who currently lives with his family in Penfield, New York, should be a good fit to run the Devils scouting department. He has experience in helping build expansion teams from the ground up in both Ottawa and Columbus. This should give him the skills necessary to help build New Jersey into a contender again by assembling the team through the Draft. Free agents and trades are great, but for long-term success, a team needs to be stocked through the Draft and this move seems to be another step by the Devils that shows their commitment to this process.