Newark, NJ – Scouring the internet, there’s been some discourse regarding the New Jersey Devils draft selections. That’s what happens when you have a successful season, however. They went into Nashville without a first-round pick, yet, it came full circle when Timo Meier signed his shiny new eight-year extension Wednesday, the first day of the draft.
Look, it’s abundantly true that to this point that Fitzgerald has given the Devils faithful absolutely no reason to doubt him. The man has put on a masterclass in terms of drafting and developing, identifying his core, then locking them up. Coming into Thursday, the Devils had prospects they believed to be first-round talents still available and at selection No.58, they snagged one. Lenni Hameenaho was taken 58th overall. He’s not going to be Jack Hughes, nor will he be Nico Hischier. But Fitzgerald and his scouts knew their need was to find an impact forward early in the draft, one that can arrive in the NHL in two to three years. At that point, Fitzgerald’s core will still be locked up and Hemeenaho should have developed further at Finland’s highest level. Beyond Hameenaho, the Devils walked away happy with their haul.
Since his tenure began as Devils GM in January 2020, Fitzgerald drafted Dawson Mercer, Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec, Seamus Casey, Nico Daws, Shakir Mukhamadullin (who helped retrieve Meier), and Alexander Holtz. Some were easy slam dunks, others were diamonds in the rough. Regardless, he’s built one of the strongest prospect pools in all of the NHL. Give the man credit. He knows what he’s doing.
Anyway, plenty happened yesterday for New Jersey and around the NHL.
Let’s dive in.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils owned six picks on day two of the NHL Draft. General manager Tom Fitzgerald opted to trade his seventh-round selection, however, made five picks in rounds 2-6. Read up on the Devils’ newest prospects here.
NHL.com: The Devils acquired forward Shane Bowers in exchange for defenseman Reilly Walsh. On Thursday, Bowers signed a one-year, two-way contract extension with New Jersey. The former first-round pick is likely to start in the AHL with the Utica Comets.
National Hockey Now
Boston Hockey Now: Part of the chess match on how to move forward in Boston is David Krejci’s uncertainty regarding his future. He hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll retire yet and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to the Czech League, again.
Florida Hockey Now: Patric Hornqvist’s NHL career has come to an end. An incredible 901 games over 15 seasons is an incredible accomplishment. The Panthers want to keep all that experience around as they hope to hire him within the organization.
San Jose Sharks
San Jose Hockey Now: The Sharks might be in the business of taking unwanted contracts. According to reports, San Jose has entertained the idea of taking on Tyler Myers and his contract from the Vancouver Canucks.
New York Islanders
NYI Hockey Now: Steadily declining in recent seasons, Josh Bailey’s days on Long Island were numbered. On Thursday morning, the Islanders traded Bailey and a 2026 second-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations. Chicago quickly put Bailey on waivers with the purpose of buying him out.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Hockey Now: The Blackhawks weren’t the only active team on the trade market yesterday. The Detroit Red Wings acquired the rights to Klim Kostin and Kailer Yamamoto from the Edmonton Oilers for future considerations.
Chicago Hockey Now: Unlike Bailey, the Blackhawks intend to keep the second player they traded for on Thursday. Shortly after we learned about the Bailey trade, Chicago also acquired Corey Perry. With Connor Bedard officially a Blackhawk, they’ll need a little muscle around him. Enter Perry.
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