Devils' director of scouting on No. 6 draft pick: 'I think a defenseman is really in play'

Ed Mulholland / Reuters

Never assume anything.

The New Jersey Devils, who were one of the league's lowest-scoring teams last season (averaging 2.15 goals per game), may not draft a forward with the No. 6 pick in June's NHL Entry Draft.

"I think a defenseman is really in play," the Devils' director of scouting, David Conte, told Rich Chere of NJ Advance Media.

"How do you say no to a guy who is projected to be Drew Doughty? So, no, (picking a forward in the first round) is not a given. There are some very good defensemen involved in these top picks. I'm sure the teams ahead of us are thinking that, too."

Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, and Zach Werenski are defensive prospects who could go in the top 10, with Hanifin being the most sought-after, according to several draft projections.

The Devils see promise in the 18-year-old Boston College product.

"He's like everybody else says about him," Conte said. "We've been watching him for four years, when he was in prep school (at Saint Sebastian's School in Needham, Mass.). There is nothing wrong with this guy."

Forward Mike Cammalleri was the only Devils player to score more than 20 goals last season, but the team's lack of offense doesn't mean they'll shy away from drafting the best player available - a strategy that's worked for them in the past.

"When we drafted Martin Brodeur (20th overall in 1990), we also drafted Mike Dunham (53rd that year), and Corey Schwab (200th)," explained Conte. "And we also had Sean Burke, Chris Terreri, and Craig Billington (already in the organization). You took the best player."

The Devils finished the 2014-15 regular season with a record of 32-36-14, 20 points out of a playoff spot.

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Devils' director of scouting on No. 6 draft pick: 'I think a defenseman is really in play'
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