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Some New Jersey Devils (Prospects) Are Succeeding in 2010-11 Season

I know this photo from preseason, but this picture of Jacob Josefson's facial expression is perfect for this season and learning that the other prospects have done fairly well so far.   (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
I know this photo from preseason, but this picture of Jacob Josefson's facial expression is perfect for this season and learning that the other prospects have done fairly well so far. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been poor, to put it kindly.   However, not everyone in the Devils' system is suffering and struggling like the NHL franchise right now.  The Albany Devils have begun their season at 4-2, despite losing a number of players to New Jersey.  The ECHL affiliate Trenton are currently 1-3, but only have a goal differential of -3 (16 GF, 19 GA).  

Yes, Trenton has scored more goals in 4 games than New Jersey has done in 9 games.   I know, different leagues and all, but I'd figure I'd point that out to just make everyone feel worse. Sorry.

Here's a quick overview of how a number of the prospects is doing.  I've focused on the top 20 prospects as defined by Hockey's Future except for Matt Taormina (HF #14), since he's been up in the NHL right out of camp. If there's anyone else you want added, please let me know in the comments.  Boxscore journalism abounds based on stats from the team's respective websites, so if you've seen these guys play the actual game, then please let us know how the player is doing outside of the counting numbers.

Albany Devils

Most of the HF Top 20 Devils Prospects are or were in Albany.   Currently with New Jersey is Jacob Josefson (HF #2); Matt Corrente (HF #5); and Alexander Vasyunov (HF# 11).  None of those three did too much in Albany. Josefson and Corrente are pointless and only played one game there.  Vasyunov has played 5 games, earned 1 assist, and took 13 shots on net.  Tyler Eckford was just called up today, so 9 more remain in Albany by my count. Here are their basic stats from the Albany website.

HF #1 - Mattias Tedenby
6 1 1 2 2 4 1 0 16 6.3
HF #3 - Alexander Urbom 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6 0.0
HF #8 - Nick Palmieri
5 0 0 0 -1 8 0 0 6 0.0
HF #9 - Adam Henrique
6 2 0 2 0 0 1 0 9 22.2
HF #12 - Tyler Eckford
6 0 2 2 2 6 0 0 9 0.0
HF #15 - Vladimir Zharkov
5 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 11 9.1
HF #17 - Nathan Perkovich
4 2 1 3 4 12 0 0 6 33.3
HF #18 - David McIntyre
6 2 1 3 3 4 0 0 12 0.0
HF #20 - Mark Fayne
6 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 8 0.0

Pretty good starts for Vladimir Zharkov (why is he not being called up?), Nathan Perkovich, and David McIntyre. Those three are behind team leader Stephen Gionta (1 G, 3 A, 6 GP).   I like that Mattias Tedenby has taken quite a few shots, he leads the team in that category.  Better luck to Nick Palmieri as he looks for his first point of the AHL season.  

Oh, there's one more Albany player. Jeff Frazee (HF #7) has had a great start to his 2010-11 season:

HF #7 - Jeff Frazee 4 235 3 1 7 1.78 100 93 .930 0

I don't care that it's only the AHL, a save percentage of 93% is excellent.  Keep up the good work, Mr. Frazee.

NCAA Prospects

There's a temptation to call this Michigan & Others.  Three Devils prospects currently represent the Wolverines, and two are on the HF Top 20 Devils Prospects list: Jon Merrill (HF #4) and Brandon Burlon (HF #10).  Michigan is currently 3-1-2, and the Devils on the roster aren't off to shabby starts.

HF #4 - Jon Merrill
6 1 4 5 2 2 1 0 7 14.3
HF #10 -Brandon Burlon
6 2 3 5 0 6 1 0 12 16.7
HF #NR - David Wohlberg
6 4 1 5 1 2 0 0 20 20.0

Via MGoBlog's, this Ann column by Jeff Arnold highlights Wohlberg's production.  It features a number of praising quotes from his teammates and legendary head coach Red Berenson.  If you're watching Michigan hockey, you won't have to look hard for #25. He's on their top line and throwing up a lot of shots on net.

Incidentally, while going through the Michigan's official website for stats (warning: PDF), Burlon has been productive on special teams. He has one assist on the lone shorthanded goal Michigan scored this season, along with a goal and two assists on the power play.  Just as impressive has been Merrill.  He's only a freshman, and he's not only getting power play time - but contributing on it as well.  All of his production came from the power play except for 3 shots on goal and an assist.

The only other ranked prospect in college is Matt Hoeffel, who plays for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  Their start isn't so good at 3-3-0 overall and 1-2-0 in conference play.  Though Hoeffel fans should be pleased with his production:

HF #16 - Mike Hoeffel 6 3 3 6 6 6 2 0 18 16.7
HF #NR - Seth Helgeson 6 1 0 1 1 4 0 0 2 50.0

Hoeffel is the team's third leading scorer and there's not a whole lot to complain about a point-per-game pace. Defenseman Seth Helgeson, as I understand it, is a defensive-minded defender so don't expect him to keep that 50% shooting percentage.

Incidentally, while also not ranked, Derek Rodwell did kick off his NCAA career with 2 goals in 5 games, including a shorthanded goal.  Nice.

Canadian Major Junior Prospects

The Devils don't have too many ranked guys in the Canadian Major Junior leagues. Just two goalies and one big defenseman.

HF #6 - Eric Gelinas
12 2 4 6 -6 17 1 0 4? 50.0?

Admittedly, the QMJHL stats site is a bit confusing listing S (I assume shots; if so, then he has 32) and then SOG (shots on goal, 4 for Gelinas).  I'm not sure that I buy that Gelinas has only 4 shots on goal, or that only 6  Sagueneens players have more than 10 shots on goal after 17 QMJHL games.  Hence, I've added question marks there.  

The two goaltenders have got quite a bit of work this season.  Maxime Clermont appears to be the #1 goalie for the Gatineau Olympiques.   Scott Wedgewood is also the top netminder on his team, the Plymouth Whalers.

HF #13 - Maxime Clermont
12 727 7 5 31 2.56 294 263 .895 1
HF #19 - Scott Wedgewood
11 598 5 5 29 2.91 303 274 .904 1

Incidentally, two of Clermont's losses came after regulation: one loss in overtime and one in a shootout.  While his numbers may not look great, as of this writing he's 9th in the league in GAA, 5th in wins, and 14th in save percentage.  Only 13 goalies in the 'Q' have a save percentage above 90% (and only 8 above 90%), so I suppose a 89.5% isn't so bad.

As for Wedgewood, one of his 5 losses came in the shootout.  Despite playing less than Clermont, he's seen more rubber which I suppose says something either about Plymouth's defense or the OHL in general.  In any case, Wedgewood is also among league leaders in a few stats as well.  His GAA is the 8th best in the league, he's tied for 8th in wins, and 12th in save percentage.  The top OHL goalies currently have much higher save percentages (Mavric Parks with 93.4% in 9 games - wow).

Aside on NJ Draft Prospects (Not Devils for Now)

This isn't about Devils prospects, but about New Jersey draft prospects.  Last week, I highlighted a few New Jersey based players who were on Central Scouting Services' early watch list for the 2011 NHL Draft.  I got some reader response on that and here's a good place as any to mention them. 

The first email from a reader named Tom informed me that Matt Killian and Tommy Davis also play club hockey for the U-18 Devils in addition to Delbarton.   Club hockey makes sense since the players can stay sharp before high school hockey starts (Delbarton's first game this season is on November 21).  The Midget U-18 AAA team plays in the NJYHL, and they aren't affiliated with the New Jersey Devils.

The second email came from Andy, who let me know that there are actually five New Jersey players on that watchlist. Three play in New Jersey, and two more play in Connecticut: Defenseman Craig Wyszomirski (The Gunnery, B player, liked by Gary Eggleston) and right winger Ryan Rosenthal (Kent School, B player).   Best of luck to both, and congratulations to Wyszomirski for being able to say he got educated at The Gunnery in the future.

One more thing, the New Jersey Devils' official website does have a section for youth and high school hockey.  It's under the Community section of the site.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this positive update in advance of potentially more misery from the New Jersey Devils.