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Devils Draft stock continues to rise after latest defeat

If you are a New Jersey Devils fan you may have lost interest in the final games of the regular season. You are not thinking about the final home game against the Rangers and you most certainly are not looking forward to a home playoff game at the Rock. So, what can you look forward to?

April 9th, 2019. Yes, three days after the Devils play their final game of the 2018-19 campaign, the National Hockey League will be holding the Draft Lottery to determine the top-15 picks of the NHL Entry Draft, which includes a promising class of offensive talent.

For what was once a promising season for a Devils team that seemed destined to go back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight year quickly became a nightmarish one. Riddled with bad puck luck and injuries, most notably league MVP Taylor Hall, New Jersey finds themselves sitting 28th in the league standings.

There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel. That light takes the shape of little white lottery balls the Devils logo on the front.

New Jersey, 63 points as of Wednesday morning, have a 9.5 percent chance of receiving the first overall pick in this year’s draft, as well as a 28.8 percent chance of having a top-3 pick. Getting the likes of one of Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko or Kirby Dach will immediately raise the infrastructure of a somewhat depleted Devils offensive prospect pool.

New Jersey continued their journey to a top-3 with a 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Already without Hall, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Sami Vatanen (the list goes on), a win against the defending champions was a tall order. After losing Kyle Palmieri after two shifts? Nearly impossible.

After yielding the night’s first goal, thanks to an absolute snipe from Andre Burakovsky, the Devils started to settle down defensively. It seemed as if New Jersey was poised to go into the first intermission down by just one but Kenny Agostino had other plans.

The Morristown native received the puck in the high slot and snapped a quick wrist-shot that beat Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley. Unfortunately, that was all the offense New Jersey could muster up. Yes, losing is never fun, but it is doing more good than for this team right now.

Now, everyone knows you should never want your team lose on a nightly basis, especially against a division rival. We, as fans, are expected to support our organization through thick and thin, no matter what.

Let’s hope the Devils and their young guys play well enough to get us excited for the future. Let’s see them play with fight and tenacity Kurtis Gabriel has on a nightly basis. Let’s hear commentators and opposing teams say how tough it is to play against these Devils. With eight games left, it is all we can ask as fans.

But in a lost season such as this, with no playoff games in sight, there may just be a silver lining: April 9th. New Jersey has the chance to add a dynamic player that will change who they are for years to come.

The pucks haven’t been in New Jersey’s favor since November. Come April, will the balls?

 

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