Draft: Devils Make Four More Picks

On day two of the 2021 NHL Draft, the Devils made four more picks.

They did not have a pick in the second round and made their first late-round selection in Round Three.

There they picked Samu Salminen out of Jokerit Jr. of the Finnish Junior league. Salminen is a 6-foot, 2-inch, 182-pound centerman.

The Devils’ website staff profile quoted Eetu Siltanen of Dobber Prospects as saying: “Center with good offensive skills and great hockey sense. He is growing into a good two-way center but needs to really improve his defensive game, even though his effort defensively is good. He also shoots the puck well and has the ability to give creative passes.”

The Devils’ staff also quoted Salminen himself in their profile on him. He said: “There’s good draft picks over the last few years. (There’s) good players and I’m proud to be one of those guys.”

In the fourth round (100th overall), the Devils chose Jakub Malek, a Czech goaltender from VHK Vsetin of Czech-2. He is a big goalie, 6-foot, 3-inches, but has not filled out completely yet at 159-pounds. He catches left.

In the fifth round (129th overall), New Jersey selected defenseman Topias Vilen from Pelicans in Finland. He is 6-foot, 1-inch, 194-pounds and shoots left. He was a teammate of Salminen’s according to Catherine Bogart of the Devils’ website and app. They played together with the Finnish Under-16 national team. Bogart also said that they played against each other in the U18 SM-sarja and the U20 SM-liiga between 2018 and 2020.

In the sixth round (164th overall), the Devils took defenseman Viktor Hurtig of Vasteras Jr. of the Swedish Junior league. He is 6-foot, 5-inches, 191-pounds and is a right-handed shot.

Finally, in the seventh round (203rd overall), the Devils chose right wing Zakhar Bardakov ftrom Vityaz Podolsk. He is a lefty shot, 6-foot, 2-inches tall and 198-pounds.

So, in total, the Devils took three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie in this year’s Draft. Not a bad haul and one that addressed some of what the organization needed.

In another news bit from today, the Devils’ app reports earlier today that the Devils and the Devils Youth Foundation donated $25,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties Friday night.

The check was presented during the team’s Draft party, and was – as the press release on it  noted – very apropos as the Devils were drafting Luke Hughes, Jack’s brother.

According to the release, “Devils Youth Foundation hosted BBBS executives and 16 members of the BBBS progame – Bigs & Littles (mentor and mentees) – for a VIP Psrty at the Draft Experience. The group met with Devils legends Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias and Ken Daneyko and Head Coach Lindy Ruff who addressed the group on the importance of having mentors in the lives of youth and forming lasting, lifetime bonds with those who inspire and influence you.”

The press release said that the money donated “will directly support and sponsor Big Brothers Big Sisters remaining summer programming and back to school initiatives including: BBBS Back to School … BBBS summer programming – supporting park and recreational activities for the month of August ….”

Devils Youth Foundation Chair Allison Blitzer said: “Supporting the educational and recreational programs of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties reflects the Devils Youth Foundation’s mission to empower youth in our community. On a great night for our organization where we are able to recognize the efforts of Big Brothers Big Sisters, we also have the fun opportunity to welcome a little brother to join his big brother in our Devils family. Congratulations to Luke, Jack and the entire Hughes family on a special night and thank you to Big Brothers Big Sisters for all the mentoring work they do.”