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An Overview of the Devils Prospects Part 1: The Forwards

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With the 2014 draft in the rear view mirror and training camps still a few weeks away, it's time to take a look at the Devils prospect pool. The first part of this series will focus on the forwards led by Reid Boucher and Stefan Matteau.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Defining a Prospect

For the sake of this post, I will use the definition of a prospect from Hockey Prospectus:

For our purposes, a prospect is defined as a player who has 25 or fewer regular season games played during the last NHL season, or 50 or fewer career NHL regular season games played. The age cutoff is 26 years old, as of September 15th. If a player is in the KHL, he is not considered a prospect if he is signed past his age-22 season.

One modification I will make is changing the age cutoff to 25 since 26 seems too high. I will break down the prospects by grouping them together based on the league they are expected to play in during the 2014-15 season. All stats collected from the respective league pages or Extra Skater (CHL).

AHL

Myles Bell - RW - 6'1, 216 lbs. - DOB: 8/19/1993 - Acquired: 2013 Draft (6/160)

Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM
2013-14 Kelowna WHL 69 42 35 77 21 51
eTOI/60 P/60 EVG EVA EV Pts EV P/60 GShr% AShr% PShr% PPG PPA PP Pts
18.9 3.5 29 20 49 3.1 49.2 66.7 83.1 10 15 25

One of the four Devils forward prospects turning professional next year (though not officially signed yet), Bell is coming off a successful junior career where he transitioned from defense to wing for the 2012-13 season. His main asset is his excellent slap shot. As you can see from his numbers above, he was a dominant player for Kelowna last year as an overager. The big question is whether or not his game will translate to success at the professional level.

Graham Black - C - 6'0, 184 lbs. - DOB: 1/13/1993 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (5/135)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Swift Current
WHL
69
34
63
97
18
43
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
25.0
3.3
22
43
65
2.7
28.2
76.8
83.3
9
17
26

Black is coming off a huge breakout season in the WHL, though as one of the oldest players in the league, where he played in all situations and posted a great 83.3% point share. While most overagers aren't worth getting really excited about, it's notable that he was finally healthy after receiving treatment for Graves' Disease. This year will be a big test of how much skill he truly has and will let us see what type of professional player he can be.

Reid Boucher - LW - 5'11, 195 lbs. - DOB: 9/8/1993 - Acquired: 2011 Draft (4/99)

Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM
2013-14 Albany AHL 56 22 16 38 -3 10
2013-14 New Jersey NHL 23 2 5 7 2 4
Pts1 SH/GP SH% G/GP A/GP Pts/GP EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts
28 2.61 15.07 0.393 0.286 0.679 15 7 22 7 9 16

Boucher is perhaps the prospect that the majority of the Devils fanbase has been tracking since his breakout 2012-13 season with Sarnia in the OHL where he put up 95 points in 68 games. He enjoyed a succesful first season as a professional as he split time between Albany and New Jersey. He led Albany in G/GP and was just below the 95th percentile in AHL G/GP. The NJ roster is crowded right now but if he keeps producing he can force his way into a spot with the big team.

Ben Johnson - LW - 6'0, 190 lbs. - DOB: 6/7/1994 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (3/90)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Windsor
OHL
59
28
25
53
18
30
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
19.9
2.7
21
22
43
2.9
36.8
61.1
75.4
5
3
8

Johnson is a speedster who may not have eye opening numbers but when you look closer he actually did well on a not so strong Windsor team last year. Of his 53 points, 43 were from even strength play, 41 were primary points, and he had a strong 75.4% point share. While it remains to be seen how much offense he can bring to the next level, his speed and penalty killing abilities could help him nail down a NHL role in a few years.

Stefan Matteau - LW - 6'3, 215 lbs. - DOB: 2/23/1994 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (1/29)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Albany
AHL
67
13
13
26
6
66
Pts1
SH/GP
SH%
G/GP
A/GP
Pts/GP
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
22
1.61
12.04
0.194
0.194
0.388
11
12
23
2
1
3

Matteau's numbers may not stand out all that much but it is important to remember that he was one of the few 19 year olds playing in the AHL last season. In a sense, he's already ahead of a lot of his peers on his way to the NHL. With the depth the Devils have on the NHL roster right now, it looks like Matteau is set to spend the bulk of his age 20 season with Albany which is honestly a good thing for his development as he will be afforded more minutes and tougher assignments now that he isn't a rookie anymore.

Ben Thomson - LW - 6'4, 220 lbs. - DOB: 1/16/1993 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (4/96)

Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM
2013-14 Kitchener OHL 12 3 3 6 -5 34
2013-14 North Bay OHL 43 24 15 39 20 56
Total OHL 55 27 18 45 15 90
eTOI/60 P/60 EVG EVA EV Pts EV P/60 GShr% AShr% PShr% PPG PPA PP Pts
14.2 2.1 2 2 4 1.9 40.0 66.7 80.0 1 1 2
20.6 2.6 15 13 28 2.5 41.7 61.9 77.8 5 1 6

Thomson benefited from an early season trade from Kitchener to North Bay where he received top 6 minutes and power play time. Not known for his skill, North Bay often utilized him as a screen in front of the net, especially on the PP, which led to him scoring many "garbage" goals. It is an encouraging sign as he will need to use his big frame for more than just punishing his opponents physically to take the next step in his development. Thomson is another one of the Devils overagers that will need to show that his last junior season was real progress in his game and not just a result of being older than the competition.

Scott Timmins - C - 5'11, 191 lbs. - DOB: 9/11/1989 - Acquired: Trade (9/28/2013)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Albany
AHL
61
13
26
39
10
26
Pts1
SH/GP
SH%
G/GP
A/GP
Pts/GP
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
30
2.05
10.40
0.213
0.426
0.639
9
16
25
3
10
13

Timmins came over in the Krys Barch trade and is a solid depth option for the Devils at center. He had a breakout season in the AHL as the move to Albany allowed him to play in all situations which isn't an opportunity he had in San Antonio. He finished 2nd in A/GP amongst forwards for Albany.

David Wohlberg - C - 6'1, 200 lbs. - DOB: 7/18/1990 - Acquired: 2008 Draft (6/172)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Albany
AHL
62
5
7
12
1
41
Pts1
SH/GP
SH%
G/GP
A/GP
Pts/GP
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
10
0.84
9.62
0.081
0.113
0.194
5
7
12
0
0
0

Wohlberg came up through the US Developmental Program and then spent 4 seasons at the University of Michigan where he enjoyed mild success. However, he has just 21 points in 104 AHL games and it appears he is going to be passed on the depth chart by some of the newcomers. It doesn't appear like he has much of a NHL career at this point but is still a fine AHL option.

CHL

Brandon Baddock - LW - 6'4, 206 lbs. - DOB: 3/29/1995 - Acquired: 2014 Draft (6/161)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Edmonton
WHL
56
6
11
17
5
128
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
9.2
2.0
4
10
14
1.7
14.8
43.5
51.9
1 1
2

Baddock turned 19 in March so he still has time to develop other aspects of his game, but at this point in time it appears that the 0.24 Pts/GP WHL product is an enforcer that will need to punch his way into professional hockey in a year or two. Here is John's post from draft day on Baddock.

Connor Chatham - RW - 6'3, 225 lbs. - DOB: 10/30/1995 - Acquired: 2014 Draft (3/71)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Plymouth
OHL
54
13
18
31
-17
51
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
17.1
2.0
9
13
22
1.7
33.3
72.2
81.5
2
5
7

Scouting reports on Chatham suggests that the big winger is offensively challenged and his basic stats seem to agree. I do like seeing how high is estimated time on ice was last season as well as his team leading 81.5% point share which suggests that when his team does score, he is almost always involved in it. The hope seems to be that he can be defensively responsible, have some limited offensive upside, and eventually become a solid 3rd liner that can wear out the opposition. Here is John's post from draft day on Chatham.

Ryan Kujawinski - C - 6'2, 207 lbs. - DOB: 3/30/1995 - Acquired: 2013 Draft (3/73)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Kingston
OHL
45
23
18
41
3
39
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
15.9
3.4
14
11
25
3.2
42.4
57.9
75.8
8
5
13

Last week I outlined why I think Kujawinski is poised for a breakout season as he is a very skilled prospect that produces when healthy. I'm looking forward to seeing if the Kingston alternate captain fulfills his potential and becomes another steal for the Devils out of the OHL.

John Quenneville - C - 6'1, 186 lbs. - DOB: 4/16/1996 - Acquired: 2014 Draft (1/30)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Brandon
WHL
61
25
33
58
3
71
eTOI/60
P/60
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
EV P/60
GShr%
AShr%
PShr%
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
18.3
3.1
14
24
38
2.4
26.9
63.2
73.1
9
9
18

Quenneville has been profiled extensively on ILWT, first by Karen, and then by John. The young center may not have high end skill but is responsible in all three zones and has the potential to become a very solid second line player. He is perhaps the CHL player that Devils fans should be most excited to follow this year.

NCAA

Blake Coleman - C - 5'11, 195 lbs. - DOB: 11/28/1991 - Acquired: 2011 Draft (3/75)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Miami
NCHC
27
19
9
28
8
65
Pts1 SH/GP SH% FO% EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts
26 4.07 17.27 51.36 12 8 20 7 1 8

The good news is that Coleman had a breakout year as a junior scoring just over a point per game when healthy but it remains to be seen how much of that was influenced by a high SH%. Regardless it is nice to see a prospect take a step forward as he averaged over 4 shots per game and almost all of his points were primary. Coleman had collarbone surgery during the year but showed no ill effects returning as he put up 9 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games.

Alex Kerfoot - C/LW - 5'10, 175 lbs. - DOB: 8/11/1994 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (5/150)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Harvard
ECAC
25
8
6
14
E
8
Pts1
SH/GP
SH%
FO%
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
11
1.60
20.00
48.00
5
2
7
3
4
7

For the second year in a row, Kerfoot missed substantial time due to a shoulder injury. The projectable playmaking forward was drafted in 2012 and spent the following season in Coquitlam of the BCHL before joining Harvard last season for his freshman year. He split time between wing and center in the top 6 when healthy and recieved a fair amount of PP time.

Blake Pietila - C/LW - 5'11, 190 lbs. - DOB: 2/20/1993 - Acquired: 2011 Draft (5/129)


Team
League
GP
G
A
Pts
+/-
PIM
2013-14
Michigan Tech
WCHA
39
8
20
28
-4
84
Pts1
SH/GP
SH%
FO%
EVG
EVA
EV Pts
PPG
PPA
PP Pts
21
2.92
7.02
59.80
1
15
16
7
5
12

Pietila co-captained a weak Michigan Tech team in 2013-14 where he transitioned from left wing to center and dominated faceoffs. This is encouraging as he's seen as a defensive minded player whose offense isn't projected to translate to the professional level. He's already displayed his defensive skills on the international level, representing Team USA at the WJC-20 in 2012-13 and earning a Gold Medal in the process. He will be entering his senior season in 2014-15 and is on track to get signed by the Devils next year.

USHL

Joey Dudek - C - 5'11, 181 lbs. - DOB: 1/29/1996 - Acquired: 2014 Draft (6/152)

Team League GP G A Pts
2013-14 Kimball Union Academy USHS 25 9 35 44

The Devils drafted Dudek in June with their first 6th round pick. John has a post with a lot of information on him here. The offensively minded playmaker is a project pick that will spend a year under former Devils assistant coach Matt Shaw for Dubuque in the USHL before heading to Boston College in 2015-16. Below is a highlight video from the Devils prospect camp where he had 3 assists in a scrimmage.

USHS

Miles Wood - LW - 6'1, 165 lbs. - DOB: 9/13/1995 - Acquired: 2013 Draft (4/100)

Team League GP G A Pts
2013-14 Noble & Greenough USHS 28 29 25 54

Wood turns 19 in September but will still be playing prep hockey instead of attending Boston College which isn't really encouraging. He already dominated his league last season and will now be even stronger to take on competition that he is clearly a lot better than. The skilled winger still needs to fill out his decent frame and is on track to attend Boston College in 2015-16.

KHL

Artur Gavrus - C - 5'10, 185 lbs. - DOB: 1/3/1994 - Acquired: 2012 Draft (6/180)

Team League GP G A Pts +/- PIM FO%
2013-14 Dinamo Minsk KHL 30 1 3 4 -11 8 45.52
2013-14 Dinamo-Shinnik MHL 4 2 1 3 -5 0 62.16
Pts1 SH/GP SH% EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts
3 1.20 2.78 0 3 3 1 0 1
2 3.25 15.38 0 1 1 2 0 2

Gavrus was drafted out of the OHL after a solid rookie campaign that saw him put up 37 points in 45 games but missed significant time with a concussion and wrist injury in 2011-12. Gavrus returned to Europe for the better part of the 2012-13 season but this past year was his first in the KHL where he saw his role diminish from the start of the season due to a lack of production (on a bad team) and he suffered a knee injury. He did captain Belarus at the WJC-20 D1A tournament where he had 11 points in 5 games.

Your Take

How do you feel about this group of prospects? Which prospects do you find intriguing and which do you find disappointing? How do you think the new prospects in Albany will fare in their rookie seasons? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading.