The New Jersey Devils had a need for improving the forward position in their prospect pool and they succeeded in it, taking six forwards of their nine picks. Here's a closer review of what the Devils did in this year's draft.
Michael McLeod, 12th overall
The Devils drafted Michael McLeod from the OHL's Mississauga Steelheads with their first round pick. He put up 21-40-61 stats line, finishing second in scoring in his team.
McLeod is a 6'2 center with exceptional skating for his size. He's a fluid skater with impressive speed and agility. He has a strong offensive skill set and the potential to become a very good second line center in the NHL. That's not only because of his skating, but he also plays the game the right way at both ends of the rink and competes hard away from the puck. McLeod can play physically, too.
Nathan Bastian, 41st overall
The Devils drafted McLeod's linemate Nathan Bastian in the second round. Bastian registered 19 goals and 40 assists for the Steelheads, more than doubling his point totals from the 2014-15 season.
He's a big 6'3 right wing with excellent strength and strong offensive instincts to go along with it. He's got great hockey sense, reading the play well with and without the puck. He skates well for his size, showing surprisingly quick acceleration and a smooth stride. He can put the puck to the net with quick wristers and heavy one-timers. Bastian projects as a top six NHL forward with his combination of strong skating, work ethic and offensive skills.
Joey Anderson, 73rd overall
The Devils took Joey Anderson with their first third round pick. He played alongside first rounders Kieffer Bellows and Clayton Keller for the USA National Development Program and scored 57 points in 64 games. Anderson also registered seven goals and two assists at the U18 World Junior Championship.
This pick might eventually turn out to be a steal for the Devils. Anderson is a very competitive right wing who plays with high intensity. He's strong on the puck, goes to the net and knows how to finish off his chances. His hands are quick and he makes smart passes to advance the play. Speed and skating overall need some work. He will play at the University of Minnesota-Duluth this season.
Brandon Gignac, 80th overall
Forward Brandon Gignac was among leading scorers for the Shawinigan Cataractes in the QMJHL with 61 points. Gignac is an intriguing pick in the third round as the 5'11 center is an excellent skater who can fly on the ice. His skating is his biggest asset, but he also puts a good effort defensively. He also has a good amount of skill. He's a smart player with a solid two-way game, something that bodes well for the future.
Mikhail Maltsev, 102nd overall
Mikhail Maltsev is a big and powerful left wing who played for the Russian U18 team in the MHL this past season. According to twitter handle @RUSProspects, Maltse