Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils own six picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. None came yesterday in the first round after they traded the selection at the NHL Trade Deadline for Timo Meier back in February. We’ll take a look at the Devils draft picks with instant analysis here. The Devils own the following picks on Thursday:
- Round 2, pick 58
- Round 4, pick 122
- Round 5, pick 154
- Round 6, pick 164 (from San Jose)
- Round 6, pick 186
- Round 7, pick 218 (Traded to Nashville for a seventh-round pick in 2024)
Round 2, pick 58: Lenni Hameenaho
Age: 18, Height: 6’1, Weight: 185 pounds, Nation: Finland, League: Liiga, Position: RW
The Devils used their first selection in the second round, pick 58 on Lenni Hameenaho. Hemeenaho is a Finnish winger that spent last season playing at Finland’s highest professional hockey league in Liiga. In 51 games, he scored nine goals and 21 points for Ässät. In eight playoff games, he scored three goals and four points.
His EliteProspects profile reads, “There’s no doubt about Hämeenaho’s best quality being his intelligence. He’s an extremely smart off-puck player at both ends of the rink. He finds quiet ice and pockets of space in the offensive zone, popping in and out of the slot, anticipating possible passing lanes and rebound opportunities.”
Round 4, pick 122: Cam Squires
Age: 18, Height: 6’0, Weight: 161 pounds, Nation: Canada, League: QMJHL, Position: RW
With the 122nd selection of the NHL Draft, the Devils select forward Cam Squires. Squires is another winger, a right-handed shot that scored 30 goals and 64 points for the Cape Breton Eagles last season. In four playoff games, Squires registered six assists.
Squires was one of the biggest risers on NHL draft boards. He jumped 58 spots from mid-term rankings to the final draft report.
According to Scott Wheeler of The Athletic:
“Squires scored 30 goals and 70 points in 71 combined regular-season and playoff games with Cape Breton this year, good for third on the Eagles in the regular season and first in their four-game sweep to Halifax in the first round of the Q playoffs. He’s one of the most intelligent players in the draft, with advanced instincts on and off the puck, a great attention to detail, and a mind and feel for spacing and timing on the ice. He’s also got a ton of runway in front him physically to fill out his frame and find another level. I like his skill level and sense and while his play away from the puck isn’t a strength, he has made progress in rounding out his game and I debated ranking him higher here.”
Round 5, pick 154: Chase Cheslock
Age: 18, Height: 6’3, Weight: 205 pounds, Nation: USA, League: USHL, Position: D
With the 154th pick of the NHL Draft, the Devils select defenseman Chase Cheslock. Cheslock is already NHL-size standing at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. In 15 USHL games last season, Cheslock tallied a goal and five points with the Omaha Lancers.
Cheslock is known as a solid, two-way right-handed defenseman. He has solid mobility and can transition the puck from one end of the ice to the other. Cheslock is most well-known to be an intelligent player. He’s really smart with his breakout passes and getting the puck out of dangerous areas on the ice. He’s a defenseman with a big reach, good skating, and passes the puck well. He doesn’t have the best shot but can find shooting lanes from the blueline when necessary.
Round 6, pick 164: Cole Brown
Age: 18, Height: 6’2, Weight: 179 pounds, Nation: Canada, League: OHL, Position: RW
With the first of two selections in the sixth round of the NHL Draft, the Devils select winger Cole Brown. Brown is a right-shot forward that played for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL last season. In his sophomore year, Brown scored 17 goals and 42 points in 60 games. In the playoffs, Brown tallied two goals and three points. Brown is another draft pick by the Devils that’s said to have a “fantastic mind for the game.”
According to SportsIllustratedProsects, “Brown is a great scorer, able to utilize his strong shooting ability, as well as his meticulous sense of where openings are, Brown uses this mixture of physical and mental strengths to his advantage when finding the best possible shot. Brown’s incredible puck skills mixed with his methodical style of play allows him to dissect the defense and find a plethora of scoring chances, always staying one step ahead of the defense.”
Round 6, pick 186: Daniil Karpovich
Age: 18, Height: 6’3, Weight: 209 pounds, Nation: Belarus, League: MHL, Position: D
With their second pick in the sixth round, the Devils select defenseman Daniil Karpovich. Karpovich is already an NHL-sized defenseman at 6-foot-3, 209 lbs. As a left-shot, Karpovich scored 10 goals and 35 points in 47 games with Avto Yekaterinburg of the MHL.
According to Wheeler, Karpovich just missed his top-100 rank.
“Karpovich is a big, heavy, hard-shooting, physical defenseman who was a top defenseman in the MHL in his first season there. He’s on the older side as a December 2004 and his sample size (he was born and developed in Belarus, and this was his first season at a high level in that context) is smaller than most of his peers. He skates well considering his well-over-200-pound frame, though (although his pivots and first step could use some polish), and he defends hard and trusts his reads to make firm, confident plays on both sides of the puck. His game needs some refinement and some reps but he’s toolsy, he checks a lot of boxes, and with the right development plan, there might be something there.”
Round 7, pick 218: Traded
To wrap up the Devils’ 2023 NHL Draft, Fitzgerald traded the Devils’ seventh-round pick to the Nashville Predators for their seventh-round pick in 2024. Fitzgerald was the first captain in Predators history under GM David Poile. Now, Poile and Fitzgerald connect on the last trade of the Predators’ GMs career. A real heartwarming moment and a classy move by the Devils’ GM.