Meet the newest New Jersey Devil
For teams in the National Hockey League that don’t make the playoffs, the focus turns to the draft and such was the case for your New Jersey Devils.
They held the #2 overall pick, so their chance of getting an excellent player was pretty good. This was the highest they’d drafted since 2019, when they had the first overall pick (which they used on star center Jack Hughes).
The newest Devil first-round pick is Simon Nemec, a right-handed shooting defenseman from Slovakia.
The first overall pick, by the Montreal Canadiens, is also a Slovakian, Juraj Slafkovsky.
The Devils' top choice last year was at #4 where they selected another defenseman, Luke Hughes, the younger brother of the aforementioned Jack Hughes. With both Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier (the first overall pick in 2017) holding down the center spots on the first two lines, it wasn’t a surprise that they went with another blueliner.
"I'm really, really excited. I still can't believe it. Amazing," said Nemec to the media after his selection. "It was an amazing moment for my family, for me, for everybody in Slovakia. It's an amazing night because we had the first overall (Slafkovsky) and second overall."
In an interview shared by the Devils, Nemec said he had met with team executives several times before the draft.
"When I was with the Devils organization, I felt very great. I talked to Tomas Tatar, and he said a couple things about the organization. Now it's great. The Devils are a great organization. He said good things about them and now they drafted me."
Nemec hopes to get assigned to a North American club to start his Devils career, ideally at Utica of the AHL.
The Devils just released their 2022-23 schedule this week; they open on the road in Philly and then have their home opener against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 15.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.
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