The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is just weeks away and for the first time, it will be on the New Jersey Devils‘ home ice. This year’s draft will take place on June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Prospective draft picks were in Toronto over the weekend, where teams held interviews with players as well as observing various physical tests and conducting some of their own. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello headed up to Canada last Thursday, but said that the organization had already put a great deal of work into scouting this year’s class which by most accounts appears to have quite a bit of depth to it.
“We’ll have our exercise physiologist there that will look at things and the consistencies that we look for and our own testing and then the interview process,” Lamoriello said in an interview on Tom Gullitti’s Fire and Ice Blog. “It is all important, but all the work has really been done by the scouts throughout the year.”
David Conte is the Executive Director of Hockey Operations and Scouting for the Devils. Lamoriello explained that while he will sit in on the interview process and ask the usual questions, the bottom line comes down to Conte and his recommendations.
The Devils hold the ninth pick in this years draft. Most hockey analysts have American defenseman Seth Jones (who plays for Portland in the WHL), center Nate MacKinnon (who skates for Halifax in the QMJHL) and Jonathan Drouin (from the Halifax team as well) as the top three prospects of the class of 2013.
Over the weekend, Jones and Drouin caused a bit of controversy when they declined to take part in the physical testing portion. Both pointed to fatigue and nagging injuries stemming from their long season. Drouin said that he would schedule the tests from the clubs who were interested in him at a later date since he just played a game four days prior.
However, Jones said that he would not. Whether or not his lack or participation will effect his overall place in the draft will remain to be seen, though some analysts do not think it will have any effect at all.
With most of the players being in the same boat as far as the physical testing goes, Jones’ refusal may in fact speak volumes as to his character and ability to be a team player. It’s never a good idea to develop a reputation as a diva before you have even gotten out of the starting gate.
If he is in fact chosen first, Jones will become the first African American be be drafted first overall in an NHL draft.
While the Colorado Avalanche currently hold the first pick, the Devils will choose players in the first, second, fourth and sixth rounds. Patrick Roy, the new coach and Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the Avalanche, has hinted that he may be looking into trading away the no. 1 spot.
If that were in fact true, Lamoriello didn’t think the Devils had much of an opportunity at trading up from ninth to first.
“From where we are, to move up they’d probably want our house,” Lamoriello laughed.