Over the last decade or so, the New Jersey Devils have had two first round picks become key contributors to their teams. They have also drafted some busts in the first round, as well. The following is a ranking of their last 10 first round draft picks.
10. Adrian Foster, Center (#28 overall in the 2001 NHL Draft)
Foster never played in the NHL. As a result, he is automatically #10 on the list.
9. Stefan Matteau, Winger (#29 overall in the 2012 NHL Draft)
Stéphane’s son was drafted by the Devils in the first round of this year’s draft. We won’t know how good he is for at least a few years.
8. Matt Corrente, Defenseman (#30 overall in the 2006 NHL Draft)
Corrente has not been able to stay with the Devils and has instead played most of his pro career for their AHL affiliate.
7. David Hale, Defenseman (#22 overall in the 2000 NHL Draft)
Hale was never more than a #6 defenseman for the Devils and he bounced around the NHL after leaving the team.
6. Nicklas Bergfors, Winger (#23 overall in the 2005 NHL Draft)
Bergfors never panned out for New Jersey. They were, however, able to include him in arguably the biggest trade in franchise history when they acquired Ilya Kovalchuk.
5. Mattias Tedenby, Winger (#24 overall in the 2008 NHL Draft)
The jury is still out on the small winger but, unlike the others previously mentioned, he still has a chance to turn things around while wearing a Devils sweater.
4. Jacob Josefson, Center (#20 overall in the 2009 NHL Draft)
Josefson has been a solid player for the Devils when he has been in the lineup. If he stays healthy, he could be a good #2 center down the line for the team.
3. Adam Larsson, Defenseman (#4 overall in the 2011 NHL Draft)
Larsson was the first top five pick for the New Jersey Devils since they took Scott Niedermayer third overall way back in 1991. Larsson played pretty well in his rookie season and has a ton of potential. The club hopes to have him on their blue line for the next decade.
2. Travis Zajac, Center (#20 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft)
Zajac has been the team’s #1 center Scott Gomez left. He is a good two-way forward and a prototypical Devil.
1. Zach Parise, Winger (#17 overall in the 2003 NHL Draft)
The former Devil tops the list because he is, by far, their best pick in the last ten years. Unfortunately, Parise left the team this past offseason.
There you have it. As you can see, the top two in the list are pretty far ahead of the other eight but 3-5 have a chance to move on up when all is said and done.
Michael Pellegrini has been a fan of the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.