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New Jersey Devils 2008 Draft Recap

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03-21-2013, 05:15 PM
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kasper11
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New Jersey Devils 2008 Draft Recap

The 2008 draft was a short one for the New Jersey Devils. The team sacrificed a number of draft picks in an attempt to make a run for the Cup. The team would ultimately fall short, losing to Buffalo in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals after Dominic Hasek, who had been brilliant in the playoffs until that point, gave up 5 goals in losses in games 6 and 7.

As a result, the Devils would not pick until the fifth round of the draft.

Travis Hamonic - 5th round, 148th overall
NHL: 2nd round, 53rd overall to New York Islanders
Status: NHL player

Talk about a home run pick. Despite not getting drafted until the 5th round, Hamonic has established himself as a shutdown defenseman on the Devils' second pair. Considered a rising star in the league, he could develop into a top pairing defenseman in the near future. Hamonic is already solid in his own end and is earning a reputation for his physical play in his own end. The big question for Hamonic is whether his offense will continue to develop; he was better than a point per game player in his last year of juniors but hasn't displayed that much of an offensive touch in the NHL. Still, getting a 2nd pairing dman is not bad value for the 148th pick. Looking back, Hamonic was easily the best player available.


Ian Schultz - 6th round, 178th overall
NHL: 3rd round, 87th overall to New York Islanders
Status: NHL Bust

Once upon a time, this looked like a great pick for the Devils. Schultz was drafted as a physical forward who would most likely end up as either a career minor leaguer or 4th line grinder. However, the NHL Blues clearly thought there was something to Schultz spending a third round pick on the forward. Following his draft, Schultz would see his juniors point totals rise from 30 to 41 to 55 before being traded to Montreal as part of the Halak trade. That Fall, he would so impress in camp that fans were clamoring for Schultz to make the team. If only the Devils had traded him then. Not only has he not made the NHL, Schultz is currently toiling in the ECHL.

Just to rub it in, Schultz was drafted one spot before Anders Linback, a player who would be very useful for a team with a starting goalie about to enter free agency.

Joel Chouinard - 7th round, 208th overall
NHL: 6th round, 167th overall to New York Islanders
Status: NHL Bust

Another player who at one point looked like a keeper. It is a question of what could have been for Chouinard, who once looked promising but couldn't stay healthy and saw his development stall. Chouinard shined in his final year of juniors averaging better than a point per game from the backend and thrived in his first year in the AHL, putting up 8 goals and 9 assists in just 35 games before being injured. Since then, however, Chouinard hasn't scored a goal and has only 10 assists in 61 games and is now in the CHL.

The only saving grace for this pick is that it was the third to last pick of the draft and the cupboard was pretty barren at that point.

Despite the failures of Schultz and Chouinard, the 2008 draft has to be considered a success. When you have only three picks, and none in the first 4 rounds, the odds are against finding even a role player but the Devils scored a big, shutdown top-4 defenseman.

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