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Devils super-scout David Conte weighs in on this year’s draft, taking gambles and poor ‘fits’

On Monday, the Edmonton Journal's Jason Gregor posted the first part of a fascinating conversation with David Conte, the New Jersey Devils' director of amateur scouting, and today, he posted the second part of his interview:

[Jason] Gregor: Some people are saying this draft is as deep as the 2003 NHL entry draft. Do you agree with that or is that wishful thinking?

[David] Conte: I think it has some promise along those lines. Do I think it’s similar? Not really. I think it may be even deeper in terms of the quantity of players that will go deeper into the draft. In terms of the glamour and glitz that came out of the 2003 draft, I’m not so sure that you’re going to see Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf and Zach Parise late in the first, or Shea Weber in the second round or players of that style or that impact come later. If anything, you might see very long-term career players come out of the third or the fourth round and more of them. So to predict it ... I’ve always looked at it like going into the ninth grade and trying to predict who is going to be the best doctor. Well, the ones who have the best grades and the ones who are the most motivated and the ones who work the hardest, they probably have the best chance. But life hasn’t factored into the equation yet, where girlfriends or injuries or family crisis or illness or other factors can come to bear that would disrupt what looks to be a rosy path to success.

So in every case, I think that everything is different, every draft is different, and it won’t matter how great this draft is if we don’t pick the right player at nine (the Devils’ have the ninth pick in the first round) because the mistakes are still there. There are landmines everywhere and everyone in the scouting department has great empathy and understands how those landmines are there for everybody. Sometimes, an opposing team will save you from those landmines by taking that player before you had a chance to make that mistake.


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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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