The New Jersey Devils officially started their 2015 Prospect Development Camp today with a total of 42 players in attendance. Most of these are players either under contract or were drafted by New Jersey over the last few drafts. There are 13 players in camp that have no official ties to any NHL organization and were invited to take part in the on-ice drills and off-ice educational sessions. The only notable omission is Ben Johnson who is in the midst of his trial this summer. This post will focus mainly on getting to know more about the invitees.
The Devils will have 4 goaltenders in camp with the highlight of this group being 2015 2nd round draft pick, Mackenzie Blackwood. There is a familiar face among the 3 invitees at this position in Anthony Brodeur. The oldest son of Martin is coming off of a tumultuous season in the QMJHL where he lost the starting job in Gatineau and was eventually picked up on waivers by Drummondville. As you can see from the numbers above, it's no surprise the Devils didn't sign him in June.
Moving on to some new faces, we have Chatham, NJ native Colton Phinney and 2015 Memorial Cup Champion Ken Appleby. Phinney just completed his sophomore season at Princeton University which was his first as a full time starter. He split starts fairly evenly in his freshman season. His numbers aren't that great but he has been playing on some really bad Princeton teams the past 2 seasons which certainly doesn't help. Prior to Princeton he played for the Islanders Hockey Club in the EJHL and Delbarton for high school hockey.
Appleby spent his first 2 seasons in the OHL as a backup, having a reasonably strong campaign in limited action in 2013-14. Last season he broke out as the full time starter for Oshawa and helped the team win the OHL Championship and the Memorial Cup. As you can see his numbers were fantastic and put him among the top goaltenders in the OHL. Having been passed over 3 times in the draft and now a free agent, he will be looking to sign with a NHL organization. His agent mentioned that they were being selective with what camps he was attending which along with his connections to the Brodeur's (Jeremy was his backup in Oshawa) is probably one reason he has come to NJ. It's well documented that the Devils aren't deep on goaltending prospects at this moment in time.
|Vojtech Mozik||6'2||196||12/26/1992||22.56||HC Plzen||Czech||51||10||19||29||2||94||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.57|
|Steve Santini||6'2||208||3/7/1995||20.36||Boston College||NCAA||22||1||4||5||-2||20||39||2.56%||1.77||0.23|
|Joshua Jacobs||6'2||191||2/15/1996||19.42||Michigan State||NCAA||35||0||9||9||-10||26||62||0.00%||1.77||0.26|
|Damon Severson||6'2||205||8/7/1994||20.95||New Jersey||NHL||51||5||12||17||-13||22||93||5.38%||1.82||0.33|
|Colton White||6'1||185||5/3/1997||18.21||Sault Ste. Marie||OHL||67||6||16||22||38||30||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.33|
|Casey Fitzgerald||5'11||186||2/25/1997||18.39||USNTDP U-18||USDP||57||9||16||25||N/A||67||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.44|
Casey Fitzgerald is a very interesting invite as he was just passed over in the draft despite being on the radar. He was ranked 148th among North American Skaters by Central Scouting, 137th by ISS Hockey, and 142nd by Future Considerations. He lacks size but is known for his puck moving abilities. I thought it was interesting that The Projection Project really liked him, as they ranked him 53rd on their draft list with a 32% chance of turning into a regular NHL player and put him 5th on their list of those that went undrafted. He'll head off to Boston College next year to play with Devils prospects Steve Santini, JD Dudek, and Miles Wood as well as Ray Shero's son Chris. It's also worth noting that Casey is the son of Tom Fitzgerald, a cousin to the Hayes' brothers, and a cousin to the Tkachuk's so hooray for NHL bloodlines.
You may recognize the name Tyler Wood. The Brown University defenseman is the brother of Miles and attended camp last year. He just completed his sophomore season with Brown. Jacob Sweeney is a large defensemen who just had his best offensive season in the QMJHL. According to Elite Prospects, Sweeney finished 9th in defensemen scoring in the Q.
Update: The Devils PR twitter account announced around 1 PM that D Josh Couturier has replaced Tyler Wood on the roster. Tom Gulitti notes that Wood is taking a summer class at Brown and could not attend camp. The 20 year old from Massachusetts is listed by Elite Prospects as 6'2, 185 lbs. He just completed a year with the Boston Jr. Bruins in the USPHL Premier with 16 goals and 22 assists in 49 games. He spent 2013-14 with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL where he had 3 goals and 10 assists in 39 games. He is another player in this camp that will debut at Boston College in the fall. BC Interruption has this post from December on him which includes a scouting report from the Boston Jr. Bruins website that praises his size, wing span, 1v1 play, and offensive instincts.
|Sergey Kalinin||6'3||190||3/17/1991||24.34||Avangard Omsk||KHL||58||12||13||25||-3||49||135||8.89%||2.33||0.43|
|Artur Gavrus||5'10||185||1/3/1994||21.54||Dinamo Minsk||KHL||36||5||4||9||-7||12||48||10.42%||1.33||0.25|
|Blake Pietila||5'11||200||2/20/1993||22.41||Michigan Tech||NCAA||40||14||16||30||6||56||102||13.73%||2.55||0.75|
|Ryan Kujawinski||6'2||207||3/30/1995||20.30||Kingson/North Bay||OHL||61||34||25||59||19||30||N/A||N/A||N/A||0.97|
|Blake Speers||5'11||185||1/2/1997||18.54||Sault Ste. Marie||OHL||57||24||43||67||25||12||N/A||N/A||N/A||1.18|
|Miles Wood||6'1||165||9/13/1995||19.84||Noble & Greenough||USHS||17||17||18||35||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||2.06|
|Matt Gaudreau||5'9||145||12/5/1994||20.62||Boston College||NCAA||32||3||3||6||4||8||41||7.32%||1.28||0.19|
|Tyler Kelleher||5'6||160||1/2/1995||20.54||New Hampshire||NCAA||39||18||24||42||4||26||83||21.69%||2.13||1.08|
I should note that I have Matt Lorito in the "Under Contract" section as he is already signed to an AHL deal for this upcoming season. The Brown University product impressed in 11 games with Albany at the end of last season with 3 goals and 9 assists. He may be joined in Albany next year by camp invitee Max Novak who finished up his collegiate career with Union College, where he was a NCAA Champion in 2013-14. Novak is a RW from Oak Ridge, NJ and an alumnus of the New Jersey Hitmen club. He appeared in 4 games last year with Albany and seems to have a chance of earning a spot on the ADevils roster for next season.
Moving on to the other NCAA guys from the invitee list, we see a familar name in NJ native Matt Gaudreau, the brother of Johnny Hockey. The younger Gaudreau hasn't seen the same success at the USHL or NCAA levels as his older brother but did manage to appear in 4 times as many games for Boston College in his sophomore season compared to his freshman year.
The name Darcy Murphy may also ring some bells as he attended last year's camp. The left handed shooting forward has put up 0.63 Pts/GP in 109 NCAA games over his first 3 seasons. According to Elite Prospects, he made the 2014-15 ECAC All-Tournament Team and he was 3rd on Colgate in scoring.
Tyler Kelleher is an undersized RW from the University of New Hampshire and a product of the USNTDP, having represented the United States on the U17 and U18 levels. Thanks to Elite Prospects, we see he has been a teammate of Steve Santini on both the domestic and international levels multiple times as well as Stefan Matteau and Connor Chatham in the USNTDP in 2011-12. He put up 5 goals and 11 assists as a freshman for UNH in 2013-14 before exploding last year with 18 goals and 24 assists in 39 games. Back in June of 2013, John did a draft prospect profile on Kelleher which has some more information on him.
You may have noticed that I put a ** next to Brandon Shea. That is because his stats in the above table are actually from 2013-14 as he missed all of last season as he was recovering from hip surgery, after suffering the injury in last year's development camp in New Jersey. Shea is just 20 years old and has a solid frame on him but his career hasn't turned out like anyone expected it to thus far. As this great piece from Buzzing the Net documents, he turned down his commitment to Boston College, had an underwhelming stint with Moncton in the QMJHL after being their 1st round pick in 2011, ended up having 3 separate stints with the Quebec Remparts with a brief stint with the South Shore Kings of the EJHL mixed in, and then moved onto the Windsor Spitfires where he hasn't been healthy enough to play for the club. Hopefully the former Noble & Greenough standout will have much better luck in this year's camp and going forward as he tries to get his career back on track.
Alexandre Goulet is a LW that has already been passed over twice in the draft. He had 26 goals and 22 assists in 66 games in his rookie season for Charlottetown in the QMJHL in 2013-14. Last year he finished 2nd on his team in goals and 3rd in points as he put up 35 goals and 26 assists in 65 games. He will return to Charlottetown for the 2015-16 which will also be his last year of draft eligibility. For what it's worth, The Projection Project gives him about a 22% chance of one day turning into a regular NHL player.
Patrick D'Amico is a C that just wrapped up his junior career with Regina of the WHL. In his final season he put up 20 goals and 30 assists in 72 games. In 160 WHL regular season games he has a 0.47 Pts/GP rate.
What stands out to you about this roster? Do any of the invitees interest you? Are you going to try to make the 3v3 scrimmage on Wednesday? What about the Red - White scrimmage on Saturday? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!