The New Jersey Devils opened their 2014 Prospect Developmental Camp this morning with a total of 41 players in attendance. 16 of these players are invitees not affiliated with the organization that have either not been drafted yet or are already free agents. Headlining the list of invitees are Martin Brodeur’s twin sons Jeremy and William who are 17 years old. The full roster can be found here. The notable prospects not in camp are C Alexander Kerfoot (Harvard) and C Artur Gavrus (Dinamo Minsk). Kerfoot may be preparing for the upcoming NCAA season or in summer class so that's not a big deal. Gavrus seems unlikely to ever return to North America so his absence is not a surprise. Below I'll post the stats on what the Devils prospects did while doing the same and going into more detail on the invitees since we are less familiar with them.
The Devils brought four goaltenders to camp, two of which happen to be Martin Brodeur's sons. I recently recapped the unspectacular seasons that Scott Wedgewood and Anthony Brodeur had in 2013-14. The two invitees to camp are 21 year old Charlie Finn and 17 year old Jeremy Brodeur. Like most NCAA goaltenders, Finn waited till he was 20 to make the jump to the collegiate level. Judging by his decent SV% (.918), GA%- (96), and GSAA (2.26) it seems that his freshman season was a success. It's likely the Devils invited him as filler but he could be a prospect to watch out for in a few years on the undrafted free agent market.
Jeremy Brodeur is entering his draft year and will move on from prep hockey with Shattuck St. Mary's to play for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. Elite Prospects list him at 6'1, 165 lbs. so he has size but needs to fill out a bit more. The fact that he posted a .936 SV% for the AAA team in 2012-13 before posting a solid .919 SV% this past year for the Prep team and was drafted into the OHL suggests he's more of a prospect than his older brother Anthony.
With defense being the strong part of the prospect pool, they didn't have to invite too much filler to camp. Tyler Wood is the 20 year old brother of Devils prospect Miles Wood and just completed his freshman year at Brown. Ryan Johnston is one of the three Colgate players attending camp and seems to have posted decent offensive numbers for a defenseman. He did turn 22 in February and will only be entering his junior year next season so he is a bit old for the level. Still he managed to finish second in scoring amongst Colgate defensemen, just one point behind the leader. Also, he is the nephew of new Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Johnston.
The Devils invited a total of twelve forwards to camp, a higher number than usual. This is a diverse group that is mostly comprised of filler but there are a few prospects that catch my attention. Let's take a look breaking it down by league.
The Devils invited four undrafted prospects from the NCAA. The first is 24 year old Matt Lorito of Brown who is listed at just 5'9, 170 lbs. According to Elite Prospects he has been a point per game player the last two seasons for Brown, leading the team in scoring in 2012-13 and finishing 3rd last year. Ross Mauermann is another prospect on the shorter side, listed at 5'9, 185 lbs. The 23 year old just completed his junior season for Providence where he has 85 points in 115 NCAA games. This past season he led Providence in scoring with a 8 point gap between him and second place. The third Colgate product in camp is 21 year old Darcy Murphy who is also on the short side, listed at 5'9, 190 lbs. This past season as a sophomore he finished tied for 3rd in scoring for Colgate according to Elite Prospects. The fourth NCAA forward in camp is Chatham, NJ native Michael Ambrosia. The 22 year old has put up 11 points in both his freshman and sophomore years with Princeton.
Moving on to the CHL prospects is where things get a bit more interesting. Brandon Shea is a just turned 19 year old who had tumultuous stops in Moncton and Quebec in the QMJHL over the past few seasons and will try to get his career back on track with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL next year. His rocky junior career is well profiled by Buzzing the Net.
The three WHL forwards the Devils invited are the intriguing prospects in camp in my opinion. Jayden Hart is a big 6'2, 209 lbs. right handed center that put up 42 points in 59 games as a 19 year old this past season. Perhaps most impressive is his great 81.3% point share which shows how large of a role he played for Prince Albert in scoring when he was on the ice. Central Scouting ranked him 134th amongst North American Skaters for the 2013 draft. Matt Needham is a recently turned 19 year old who captained Kamloops last year. Due to injuries he was limited to just 48 games last year but put up some solid numbers with 35 points and a 75.0% point share. His father Mike Needham had a brief NHL career in the early 90's. The final WHL forward in camp is 19 year old Latvian Roberts Lipsbergs who has an impressive 110 points in 132 career WHL games since coming over for the 2012-13 season. Central Scouting even ranked him 85th amongst North American skaters for the 2013 draft.
The final four invitees come from various leagues. Winger Ryan Rosenthal is a 21 year old Devils fan from Montvale, NJ who spent this past year with Coquitlam of the BCHL where he finished 9th in scoring amongst his BCHL peers while winning a championship with the Express. He will attend Northeastern in the fall though he did appear in 6 games for the University of Vermont back in 2012-13. Eric Faille is the lone CIS invite. The 24 year old right wing just graduated to cap his CIS career with 114 points in 95 games for the University of Moncton. He also spent four years with Acadie-Bathurst in the QMJHL prior to that where he had 187 points in 246 career games. He will look to pull off the Joel Ward path to the NHL. The only NCAA Division 3 player in camp is Tom Hartnett of Wesleyan. The Bronxville, NY native attended the Canterbury School in Connecticut prior to college. He has just 67 points in 94 NCAA D3 games which suggests he's in camp to fill in the roster. Finally we have the third Brodeur in camp, William who spent last year playing for Shattuck St. Mary's AAA team where he put up 32 points in 46 games. He doesn't seem to have the same chance to go professional as his twin brother Jeremy, but his inclusion is a welcome sight for many Devils fans.
What do you make of the prospects in camp? Do you feel any of these invitees have the potential do earn professional contracts with the organization down the road? What Devils prospects are you looking forward to following this upcoming year? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading.