New Jersey Devils 2024 Draft Breakdown

New Jersey Devils make a selection at the 2024 NHL draft at Sphere in Las Vegas.

The New Jersey Devils had a busy two days at the 2024 NHL draft at Sphere in Las Vegas. Tom Fitzgerald and the Devils’ management group made seven selections in the draft and also completed multiple trades to clear space and solidify their forward group.

Draft Selections

Anton Silayev (D)

Full Draft Profile

With the 10th overall pick, the Devils selected the 6’7” left-shot defenseman, Anton Silayev. Besides his stature, Silayev’s mobility makes him a highly touted prospect that New Jersey was thrilled to have available at 10th overall. At 211 lbs, he is seen as a physical, shut-down defenseman who moves very well, especially for his size.

Silayev has impressed in the KHL. As a 17-year-old, he played at the highest level of hockey in Russia with the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo. He tallied 98 hits and 74 blocked shots in 63 games for the Torpedo. He also put up three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 63 games. Despite not being known for his offensive production, his eleven points broke the record for the most points by an under-18 player in the KHL. The record was previously held by Vladimir Tarasenko, with 10 points.

Silayev has two more years on his contract in Russia, so he is not expected to play for New Jersey in the immediate future.

Mikhail Yegorov (G)

The Devils selected goaltender Mikhail Yegorov with the 49th overall pick. Yegorov was ranked as the number one North American goaltender in this year’s draft by Central Scouting. His numbers were not impressive in the USHL, but the stat lines should be taken with a grain of salt as he played for the worst team in the league, the Omaha Lancers, who finished with a 16-43-3-0.

In 43 games played, he had a .892 SV% and a 3.86 GAA while facing nearly 50 shots in numerous outings. The 6’4” netminder is expected to play one more season in the USHL before moving to Boston University, where he committed in February.

Kasper Pikkarainen (F)

With the 85th overall pick, New Jersey selected right-winger Kasper Pikkarainen, the son of former Devil, Ilkka Pikkarainen.

At 17 years old, Pikkarainen is already listed as 6’3” and 198 lbs. He spent most of his 2023-24 season with the U20 team in TPS Turku’s system in Finland. In 34 games, he tallied 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.

He also made his Liiga debut, playing in five games. He didn’t record any points in that time.

He has received praise for his passing, and scouts have been impressed with his defensive fundamentals. He is also notably a physical presence on the ice, something the Devils are looking to add to their lineup now and in the future.

Herman Traff (F)

The Devils chose winger Herman Traff with the 91st overall pick. Traff is another sizeable prospect, standing at 6’3” and 216 lbs at 18 years old. He has received attention for his intensity on the forecheck and described himself as a “power forward”. He has good speed for his size and frequently carries the puck to the net. He is also willing to use his size and strength to make plays.

He played 26 games last season for HV71 J20 in the J20 Nationell league, the highest level of junior hockey in Sweden. He tallied 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points. He also played in 10 games for HV71 in the SHL, the highest ice hockey division in Sweden, but was held off the scoresheet.

Max Graham (F)

The Devils selected left winger Max Graham from the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL with the 139th draft pick. At 20 years old, Graham is 6’3” and 203 lbs. He played in 67 games for the Rockets in 2023-24 and scored 20 goals and 22 assists for 42 points. He also accumulated 135 penalty minutes.

Graham was particularly impressive in the playoffs for Kelowna. In 11 games, he tallied four goals and four assists for eight points.

Veeti Louhivaara (G)

With the 146th pick, the Devils selected Finnish goaltender Veeti Louhivaara. Another tall prospect, Louhivaara stands at 6’4” and 207 lbs at 18 years old.

Louhivaara played in 21 games for JYP U20 in the U20 SM-sarja league, the premier junior league in Finland. He had a .890 SV% and a 2.87 GAA. One year prior, on the JYP U18 team, he posted a .910 SV% and a 2.33 GAA in 20 games played.

As the second goaltender drafted by the Devils this year, it’s clear that Fitzgerald wants to add goaltending depth. The Devils’ goaltending struggles last season and the unpredictability of goalies, in general, illustrate a necessity to bolster the position throughout the organization.

Matyas Melovsky (F)

With their final pick in the draft, the Devils selected Matyas Melovsky from Baie-Comeau Drakker in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League. At 6’1” and 190 lbs, the 20-year-old forward had an impressive season, putting up 18 goals and 42 assists for 60 points in 53 games played. He is more of a playmaker than a sniper but is a strong skater and has proven effective on both the power play and penalty kill.

Melovsky also had an impressive performance with Czechia at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. He tallied 11 points in just seven games, including one goal and 10 assists.

Trade Recaps

The Devils were also active on the trade front.

Defenseman John Marino was dealt to the Utah Hockey Club, along with the 153rd overall pick, in exchange for the 49th overall pick and a second-round pick in the 2025 NHL draft.

With the rumored free-agent acquisitions for New Jersey, it is no surprise to see Fitzgerald clearing some space and cap on the back end.

The Devils used the 49th pick to select Yegorov.

Akira Schmid and Alexander Holtz were also traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Paul Cotter and a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL draft.

Schmid was a standout in the first round of the 2022-23 playoffs, putting on a spectacular performance against the rival New York Rangers. However, he struggled this past season, playing in just 19 games for the Devils and putting up a .895 SV%. He had a 3.15 GAA and a 5-9-1 record.

Holtz seemingly fell from the graces of the Devils’ coaching staff, as well as Fitzgerald, as he struggled to secure a spot in the top six forwards. He was drafted seventh overall in 2020 for his high-level shot, which earned him 16 goals this past season, but he was criticized for some of his decision-making away from the puck

Cotter is a 24-year-old center standing at 6’2” and 212 lbs. He played in 76 games for the Golden Knights this past season and tallied seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points. He also recorded 233 hits, which is 54 more than Curtis Lazar who led the Devils in hits last season.

Cotter is signed for two more seasons at $775,000 AAV.

Takeaways

Between the draft selections and trade acquisitions, it’s clear that Fitzgerald wants to add some size and nastiness to the roster. The average height of the seven draft picks is 6’3.5”, and the average weight is roughly 200 lbs.

While none of this year’s picks are expected to make the final roster for the upcoming season, New Jersey has added size and physicality to its upcoming prospect pool, which balances the high-end speed and skill that the Devils have focused on drafting in previous years.

As for the immediate future, the acquisition of Paul Cotter adds some much-needed depth to the NHL roster. His point total for last season was comparable to Holtz, but Cotter plays a tougher brand of hockey that Fitzgerald is looking to implement in the bottom six. Additionally, he is signed for two more seasons at league minimum, before becoming a restricted free agent. This gives New Jersey more cap flexibility going into free agency, where they are expected to add a few more players.

Free agency opens on Monday, July 1st. New Jersey will have $19,792,770 in projected cap space to add and/or resign desired players.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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