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FlightZone: New Jersey's Draft Woes

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It turns out that Draft success is important after all.

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Another era ended in New Jersey yesterday, with the Devils deciding not to bring back David Conte. Rather similarly to Lou Lamoriello, the story of the Devils' Director of Scouting for the last 21 years was that of someone who, while acknowledging past glories, simply hadn't been good enough lately (and in Conte's case lately means a decade or more).

From 2005 to 2012, the New Jersey Devils selected Niclas Bergfors, Matthew Corrente, Matt Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, Adam Larsson and Stefan Matteau in the 1st round. While the jury is still out on Larsson and Matteau (and to an extent Josefson), those first three picks are an eyesore.

1st round whiffs make for a rickety start. But success in the Draft can't come from Day One alone (see: pre-McDavid Edmonton Oilers), and it's in the remaining six rounds that the Devils really came up short. From 2005 to 2010, the highlights of the Devils' selections in the 2nd to 7th rounds are Mark Fayne, Mark Fraser, Matt Halischuk, Adam Henrique, Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill.

Two of those in Mark Fraser and Mark Fayne came from the 2005 Draft. After several seasons of solid contribution, Mark Fayne is now with the Edmonton Oilers. Mark Fraser at age 28 is potentially out of the league. And the vast majority of Matt Halischuk's NHL games have been with teams not named the New Jersey Devils.

Adam Henrique, Eric Gelinas and Jon Merill are all solid young players. But their emergence came too late for a man whose last draft selection mentioned in the organization's press release was picked in 1998.

And now, the news.

Central Division

This normally wouldn't be my idea of a good time, but for those in need of any hockey in the summer here's a Greatest Hits collection of Colorado Avalanche goals. (The Hockey Writers)

Our friends at Defending Big D examine the idea of pouncing on UFA Johnny Oduya. Somebody please send them Whitney Houston singing "Greatest Love Of All". (Defending Big D)

It's a solid slate of prospects the Minnesota Wild selected at the 2015 Draft. I'm looking forward to how their 7th Round steal, Gustav Bouramman, handles an increased role next year. (Hockey's Future)

After a year where he had 58 points in 37 games, Predators' prospect Jimmy Vesey has opted to stay at Harvard. I can't wait for when Mike Fisher tweets about how they didn't want him anyways. (NHL)

Any and all WHA Winnipeg Jets faithful might want to make the Best of the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame blu-ray an early Christmas gift for themselves. (The Hockey News)

And All The Rest

Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts article is always a must read, and here's the last one until September. (Sportsnet)

Hate to double-dip on media outlets but Sportsnet also looked at a number of pending free agents in 2016, including Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. (Sportsnet)

I choose to believe that when discussing the possibility of hip surgery for Thatcher Demko, Jim Benning stood up and proclaimed, "Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology." (Metro Vancouver)

It shouldn't be too long until the Arizona Coyotes are at least exciting, and Anthony Duclair will take a fair bit of the credit for that future. (AZCentral)

Considering Steve Mason is now without the coach who resurrected him in Jeff Reese, signing a strong backup in Michal Neuvirth makes for a good fail-safe. And at a more than reasonable $1.625 mil AAV for the next couple seasons to boot. (Along The Boards)

All right Hudson Fasching, you can spend one more year at college. But after that you have to go to Buffalo lest GM Tim Murray be disappointed for the fans again. (Buffalo Hockey Beat)

Helene St. James thinks the Wings should buck current trends and sign RFA Gustav Nyquist for two years, which would make him a UFA at contract's end. I'm not sure I agree. (Detroit Free Press)

Our other friends at Little Box Cats seem quite pleased with turning Jimmy Hayes into Reilly Smith. (Litter Box Cats)

$2 million non-refundable is pocket change when we're talking about a $500 million expansion fee. I'm more interested by the possibility of having three competing bids from the Seattle area. (Seattle Times)

And finally, the distant groan David Staples writes about wasn't Chicago fans lamenting the Brent Seabrook trade speculation. It was folks who just read how Seabrook would supposedly still be a top-pairing defenceman for most teams in four or five years. (Edmonton Journal)


Thanks for reading! Be sure to tell me in the Comments section below about how I need to take the trash out in the morning.