June 25, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The New Jersey Devils are coming into the NHL draft with a new look.

Ray Shero has replaced Lou Lamoriello as general manager. John Hynes has been hired as the new coach and the team has a chance to get some much-needed help.

Barring a trade, the Devils (32-36-14) will have the sixth pick overall and three in the top 41, the last one coming in the trade that sent Jaromir Jagr to Florida.

Shero admits there will be some butterflies heading into the draft Friday in Sunrise, Florida, but the scouting staff has done its homework and the goal is to take the best available player.

''When you are that high, it's still the best player,'' Shero said in a telephone interview on Thursday. ''You can talk about scoring but a lot of teams are looking for defensemen. They are real assets and it's a tough position to find players.''

This is a deep draft, even after Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are taken with the top two picks overall.

After missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the Devils' need is on offense.

The team's 181 goals were the NHL's third fewest. Mike Cammalleri was the only consistent goal threat with 27 goals.

Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, Pavel Zacha, Mikko Rantanen and Matthew Barzai headline the top forwards available after McDavid and Eichel. The leading defensemen are Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov and Zack Werenski.

The strength of the Devils is their goaltending and defense. Cory Schneider has emerged as one of the league's elite despite playing with a young defense that is improving with Adam Larsson (22), Eric Gelinas (23), Jon Merrill (23) and Damon Severson (20) gaining experience.

Shero said that while some young players are making the jump from the draft to the NHL, they tend to be the exceptions.

Shero will listen to trade offers.

''You are always open to something,'' he said. ''Lou moved the ninth pick (2013 to Vancouver for Schneider) and it turned out pretty well for both teams.''

Lamoriello, who remains the Devils' president, will work the draft with Shero and head scout David Conte.

The Devils drafted center/left wing John Quenneville of Brandon (WHL) with their first-round draft pick last year.

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