The NHL has announced that the New Jersey Devils will host the 2013 NHL Draft.
What does this mean? It means that Devils fans will be able to attend the draft if they so wish, at their home base, no matter how mind-numbingly lengthy the first round may be. It also holds the implication that the league has faith in the Devils as a stable franchise, notwithstanding their current financial issues. (Hosting the Draft should also bring some cash in for Prudential Center, Newark, and the Devils.)
The Devils, under condition of punishment for the Ilya Kovalchuk signing (wild rule breakers!), have to give up their first round draft pick in either of the next two years. Hosting the Draft next year would make it rather awkward on the host city to give up the first pick, wouldn’t it?
Next year’s draft, along with the following year which will be hosted by Philadelphia, has been said to be deeper in terms of attainable prospects. Did Lamoriello make a mistake by not giving up their No. 29 pick this year? I don’t believe so. The Devils scouting staff allegedly had their eye on Stefan Matteau — yes, that Matteau — and have doubtlessly planned ahead. I don’t see them shedding their first round pick next year as a host city, but I’m not worried about the team drafting necessary pieces in either of the next two drafts.
Inside: Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!; a whole lotta baby forwards and one defenseman too; Elias wins an award; I meet a Devil in enemy territory.