The New Jersey Devils find themselves in an unfamiliar position this offseason. Not only did they fail to qualify for the playoffs, their first miss in 14 years, but they also won the NHL's draft lottery. That bumped them to the fourth pick in the draft, a high slot for a team used to drafting lower in the first round.
Their roster is also undergoing several changes. As the stars age, the team has restocked the farm system with high-end prospects. Some of them, including Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson, made significant contributions this season. As the roster continues to evolve, more and more young players will be expected to contribute and play major roles.
With the NHL draft just about a month away, the organization will evaluate their needs and look for the right players to fill holes. They'll look from within for rookies who can have an impact this season. No one knows the organizations needs better than Jared Ramsden of Hockey's Future. He answered some questions about the organization, ranging from draft needs and targets to the evolution of Tedenby, Josefson and Nick Palmieri. Below is the full transcript of the interview.
SB Nation New York: Let's talk about the NHL draft. Heading into it, what do you think the biggest area of need is for the Devils?
A player who may fall to the Devils at number four is Sean Couturier. What do you think of his ability and potential?
With the organization's seeming limitless defensive depth, do you believe they will make a play for Ryan Murphy or other high-ranking defensive prospects?
Let's switch gears and talk about some of their prospects who made an impact this season with the Devils. Have those older prospects, such as Palmieri, reached their ceilings, or are we just starting to see their potential?
Describe the growth you saw in both Tedenby and Josefson this season. Did Lemaire help push their development forward?
Adam Henrique is the Devils next big prospect. What are his strengths and weaknesses, and can you see him competing for a lineup spot next season?
New Jersey stockpiled goalie prospects this season to prepare for the eventual departure of Martin Brodeur. Which prospect looks the best and who will be able to immediately contribute?
Mark Fayne, Matt Taormina and several other rookie defenseman played significant minutes along the blueline this season. Who can we expect to remain, and what prospect should watch to rise and grab an open spot?
Let's talk about the organization's depth. How strong is the organization in terms of prospect and prospect performance?
We all know defense is a strength, but what other strengths does the organization have?
Where are the weak spots in the organization?
Last question. Who do you feel are the can't miss prospects? Who should we be ready to dismiss?