Ray Shero had himself quite the weekend.
The New Jersey Devils GM was in Toronto for the NHL Draft Lottery, and luck was on his side. While the Devils, who finished 27th overall this year, had just an 8.5 per cent chance of winning the lottery, the team came away with the top pick.
“It’s exciting for the franchise. It’s the first thing we’ve won in a long time, let alone a hockey game,” joked Shero, who joined Hockey Central at Noon on Sportsnet 590 the Fan on Monday to talk about his team’s good fortune, and their plans for the draft.
“I’m not sure if that’s what people expected, but that’s what happened,” said Shero, who called the lottery result “pretty wild” as he reflected on a weekend that saw the Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars round out the top three in this year’s draft order.
Shero, 54, spoke about what it was like at the draft lottery. Some GMs “hightailed it” out of there as soon as it was over, while others such as Vancouver Canucks GM Trevor Linden—whose team fell to fifth overall for the second consecutive year—stayed around to chat.
But Shero wouldn’t reveal whom the Devils will be selecting come June 23.
“We have plenty of time to decide this,” Shero said. “I know one thing: No one can jump over us to make the selection, which is good news.”
The Devils are holding meetings this week as they make plans for the team’s future. While Shero was pressed on whether he has a preference between Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, the GM indicated that he doesn’t have a strong preference between the two players. Patrick is the expected No. 1 pick and Hischier is widely seen as the No. 2 candidate this year, and a possible contender for first overall.
“If I knew exactly who were were gonna pick I still probably wouldn’t tell you,” he said. “There’s still plenty of work to do.”
Shero added that he has yet to be approached by another team looking to trade for the first pick in this year’s draft, though he refused to rule anything out.
“I think with anything, GMs always say, ‘I’m open to anything,’ or, ‘If they want to call then they’re going to call,'” he said before adding: “Everybody’s got my number.”