With The 17th Pick In The 2018 NHL Draft – New Jersey Devils Select Ty Smith
We start this 2018 Devils Draft review with their 1st round selection –
Ty Smith…The young defender fell to New Jersey at 17 during the first round of the draft. Pre-draft, it was thought Smith was a potential top 10 pick. Many had him going to the Edmonton Oilers or New York Islanders.
Smith is the perfect defenseman for the modern NHL. He excels in transitioning the puck from defense to offense. Defensemen’s main priority nowadays is to retrieve the puck on dump-ins, and quickly get it out of the zone. Smith has all the skills to do this at an elite level. He has high hockey I.Q. along with smooth skating. He is very calm and collected with the puck and rarely makes mistakes. If anything, he is too safe at times, and him adding some offensive creativity could go a long way into making him a star.
This isn’t to say he is good offensively. He is excellent in the opponent’s zone. Smith can be counted on to run a power play, and distribute the puck from the blue line. His passing and vision are two tools that stick out most when he is handling the puck. Smith is never scrambling to make a play, and is able to slow the game down and find the open man. He knows when to jump in and play below the dots and when to sit back. Overall he is a solid pick at the #17 spot.
Other 2018 Devils Draft Selections – Xavier Bernard, Mitchell Hoelscher & Akira Schmid
Xavier Bernard…Bernard was an interesting selection. He is pretty big at 6’3” and had a strong season in the QMJHL, scoring at more than a .5 ppg pace. Bernard is known as being a more physical shutdown defenseman. According to Devils head of scouting Paul Castron, there were times when they were viewing him that he looked better than first rounder Nicolas Beaudin, so that is promising. Bernard models his game after Marc-Eduard Vlasic and if he becomes half the player Vlasic is, the Devils got a steal.
Akira Schmid…I understand there are no standout goalies in the pipeline but the Devils have got to stop selecting 18-year-old goalies. They are so hard to judge at this age, it is almost impossible to predict their future. Having said that, Schmid does have good size at 6’4”, so that makes him a better bet than most. Nonetheless, I don’t think this is a very good pick. Goalies should be signed or traded for, not drafted.
More 2018 Devils Draft Selections – Yegor Sharangovich & Mitchell Hoelscher
Yegor Sharangovich…If I had to put money on the one late round pick, it would be Sharangovich. He is an overager who was routinely a standout for the Belarus national team at U18’s and World Juniors. He is a hard-working left wing who tallied 12 points in 47 games in the KHL. His contract is expiring, so he might come right over to Binghamton, which is a plus. Sharangovich will get a shot at the NHL due to his tenacity and surprising amount of skill. Once he gets called up, I think he will be in the NHL for a long time (at least relative to other fifth round picks).
Mitchell Hoelscher…This kid has some real sleeper potential. He improved as the 2017-2018 season progressed, and was playing big minutes as the second line center on the Ottawa 67’s by the end. Hoelscher is described as a tenacious pest on the ice with some above average hockey I.Q. He is lauded for his forechecking ability and 200-foot game. The 67’s are poised to be a contender in the next couple of years, so Hoelscher should get an opportunity to really bolster his production. He could potentially be a nice get in the sixth round.
Last But Not Least – Eutu Pakkila
Eetu Pakkila…A small skater from Finland would round out the Devils selections in this draft. Pakkila played in the Junior A SM-Liiga, and posted some surprisingly good numbers for a seventh round pick. He had 23 goals and 17 assists in 48 games. He is known for his puck handling ability and skating. There is a good chance that (if he is able to grow and fill out his frame) he could make the jump to pro hockey in North America. He will certainly be a more long term project, but the skill and skating fits in line with what the Devils are trying to build. Next year will be key in seeing what the future holds for Pakkila.
Until next Fantasy Hockey season, play StatementGames Fantasy Baseball!