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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 10/11/16

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Week 1 of the 2016-17 prospect update saw Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian get off to nice starts in OHL action, a few Devils college prospects make their debuts, and the European based prospects continue their respective seasons.

2016 NHL Draft - Portraits
Nathan Bastian is poised to have a productive season.
Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images

This post will recap the 1st week of Devils prospect action for the 2015-16 season. It's highlighted strong starts in junior by Brandon Gignac, Michael McLeod, and Nathan Bastian as well as the college debuts of Joey Anderson and Jeremy Davies. Yegor Rykov and Jesper Bratt have also had nice starts to their respective European seasons and Albany's roster is now taking shape ahead of their regular season opener. Let's dive right in!

QMJHL

Name Pos. Age Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO%
Brandon Gignac C 18.94 Shawinigan 3 0 4 4 -1 0 0.00% 4.67 1.33 63.51%
Height: 5'11 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 179 3 3 0 2 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 28

Brandon Gignac is off to a nice start to the season for Shawinigan. The speedy center has been enjoying a more featured role so far as the team's 2nd line pivot. Gignac has produced in all 3 games he's appeared in so far with a total of 4 assists, 14 shots, and a strong 63.51 FO%. He's primed to take a real step forward this season with an increase in ice time and responsibility. Hopefully he can take advantage of it as his speed and vision make him an intriguing prospect.

OHL

Name Pos. Age Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP
Colton White D 19.45 Sault Ste. Marie 3 0 1 1 -3 2 0.00% 2.67 0.33
Height: 6'1 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 193 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
Pos. Age Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO%
Michael McLeod C 18.70 Mississauga 3 0 3 3 0 0 0.00% 4.33 1.00 61.96%
Height: 6'2 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 195 2 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 25
GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO%
Nathan Bastian RW 18.86 Mississauga 3 3 1 4 1 2 30.00% 3.33 1.33 50.00%
Height: 6'4 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 219 1 4 2 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 33
Name Age GP GS W L OTL SOL GAA SV% GA%- GSAA GSAA/60
Evan Cormier 18.94 3 3 1 1 0 1 2.94 0.916 N/A N/A N/A
Height: 6'2 Saginaw SO SO% QS QS% RBS RBS% BO BO% EVG% PPG% SHG%
Weight: 215 OHL 0 0.00% 2 66.67% 1 33.33% 0 0.00% 33.33% 66.67% 0.00%

Blake Speers has had a great camp with the Devils and could possibly be on the opening night roster. Whether or he stays there all season or 9 games or less is another story. I'll of course add him to the stat table if/when he returns to Sault Ste. Marie. His teammate, Colton White, is already back with the Soo and anchoring the top pair as usual. In 3 games White has an assist, -3, 2 PIM, and 8 shots. I'm looking forward to seeing what the solid, two-way defenseman does this year as the leading man on the Greyhounds blueline.

Moving on from Sault Ste. Marie to Mississauga we have two of the newest Devils prospects in Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian. Against North Bay on 10/2 the duo teamed up for 2 goals with McLeod setting up Bastian. In that game McLeod also won 18/27 faceoffs while Bastian added an assist of his own. Against Windsor this past Thursday the pair hooked up for a short handed goal with Bastian once again finishing the play. McLeod was also a solid 15/28 in the faceoff circle that night. The next night saw McLeod earn 1st star honors despite being held without a point. He had 8 shots on goal, won 24/37 faceoffs, and scored in the shootout. Bastian did well for himself with 6 shots and a goal in the shootout.

Evan Cormier was a workhorse for Saginaw last season and it appears that it will be no different this year. Upon his return last week he played the entirety of a 3 in 3 and put on a similar inconsistent display, earning 2 Quality Starts and 1 Really Bad Start. His first game back was against Peterborough on Thursday and he put on a show, stopping 51 of 54 shots through 65 minutes before picking up a shootout loss while earning 1st star honors. He showcased his mobility in the crease, ability to anticipate the play to cut down angles, and was calm under pressure. He followed up that strong outing with a rough one against Kingston, surrendering 5 goals on 29 shots. To be fair, playing on back to back night's after a heavy workload is tough on any goaltender and Kingston did score 3 power play goals. Cormier did rebound nicely the next night by stopping 23 of 24 shots against Ottawa with the lone goal coming on an Ottawa power play.

WHL

Name Pos. Age Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Pts/GP NHLe
Colby Sissons D 18.75 Swift Current 5 1 3 4 3 2 0.80 17
Height: 6'2 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts
Weight: 190 2 3 0 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 0

The newest Devils prospect and lone WHL representative this season is Swift Current's Colby Sissons. The lanky defenseman will look to play a big role for the Broncos this season as a two-way player. He opened his season nicely with a goal and an assist against Brandon and then followed it up with an assist against Portland. He was held off the scoresheet the next 2 games and then last night added an assist against Kootenay. He's still growing into his frame and will need some time to hone his skills at both ends of the rink but this could be a nice pickup for the Devils. Here is our draft profile on him from a few months ago.

NCAA

Name Pos. Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% NHLe
JD Dudek LW Boston College 2 0 0 0 0 2 0.00% 2.50 0.00 0.00% 0
Height: 5'11 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts
Weight: 185 20.71 Hockey East 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% NHLe
Brett Seney C Merrimack 1 0 1 1 0 0 0.00% 1.00 1.00 30.00% 27
Height: 5'9 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts
Weight: 170 20.63 Hockey East 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% NHLe
Joey Anderson RW Minnesota Duluth 4 0 2 2 0 0 0.00% 3.25 0.50 0.00% 12
Height: 6'0 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts
Weight: 195 18.32 Hockey East 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH% SH/GP Pts/GP BLK NHLe
Jeremy Davies D Northeastern 2 0 0 0 -3 0 0.00% 1.50 0 4 0
Height: 5'11 A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts
Weight: 182 19.86 Hockey East 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Alex Kerfoot will begin his senior season when Harvard takes on Arizona State on 10/28. He did have a goal in an exhibition against the USNTDP U18 squad a few days ago.

JD Dudek is the lone Devils prospect left at Boston College following the early departures of Steve Santini and Miles Wood. BC lost a lot of players this offseason which will open up an opportunity for Dudek to get his career back on track after a tough freshman season that was preceded by a disappointing USHL campaign. Judging from the BC line charts, it seems he's going to get a solid chance to play a top 9 role this season. In games against Air Force and Denver he had no points, an even rating, 2 PIM, and 5 shots.

Brett Seney had a power play assist, shot, and won 3/10 faceoffs in Merrimack's loss to Sacred Heart. I expect him to finish this season well above a point per game pace.

Minnesota Duluth started their season at the beginning of October so Joey Anderson already has 4 games under his belt. He did well to earn an assist and put up 4 shots in each of his first 2 games against Michigan Tech. This past weekend he had 5 shots across 2 games against UMass Lowell. Anderson has been skating as the 3rd line RW.

Jeremy Davies has made his debut for Northeastern and has been listed on the defense pair. So far he has no points, is a -3, with 3 shots as Northeastern is searching for their first victory of the season.

Europe

Name Pos. Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH SH% SH/GP Pts/GP BLK ATOI
Yegor Rykov D SKA St. Petersburg 17 0 3 3 5 2 11 0.00% 0.65 0.18 14 12:36
Height: 6'2 Age League A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 216 19.50 KHL 2 2 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 11
Name Pos. Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% ATOI
Mikhail Maltsev C SKA-Neva 3 0 0 0 0 2 6 0.00% 2.00 0.00 75.00% 11:00
Height: 6'3 Age League A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 205 18.59 VHL 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Name Pos. Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% ATOI
Mikhail Maltsev C SKA-1946 5 1 2 3 4 0 7 14.29% 1.40 0.60 66.20% N/A
Height: 6'3 Age League A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 205 18.59 MHL 1 2 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
Name Pos. Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM SH SH% SH/GP Pts/GP FO% ATOI
Jesper Bratt LW AIK 8 2 3 5 0 4 7 28.57% 0.88 0.63 0.00% N/A
Height: 5'10 Age League A1 Pts1 EVG EVA EV Pts PPG PPA PP Pts SHG SHA SH Pts NHLe
Weight: 174 18.21 Allsvenskan 2 4 2 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 41

Before we get into the European prospects, I have to note that it was brought to my attention elsewhere that the Devils no longer have the rights to Artur Gavrus. I doubt he ever comes back to North America so I wouldn't worry about it.

Yegor Rykov has earned a place as a full time member of SKA St. Petersburg at 19 years old. He has 2 assists over his last 2 games to give him 3 on the season. In 17 games he's averaged 12:36 in ice time and even won KHL Rookie of the Week honors back on September 19. By all accounts he has the potential to be a steady back end defender and I'm looking forward to seeing how he develops in the KHL. If you get the TV channel One World Sports, be on the lookout for SKA games as they tend to air quite a few of them. I still have SKA - CSKA from last week on my DVR that I hope to watch in the next few days.

The other Devils Russian prospect, Mikhail Maltsev, is also in the SKA system. The 18 year old center has split time between SKA's VHL (minor league) and MHL (junior league) teams. He's found more success with the junior team, SKA-1946, as he's put up 3 points in 5 games while dominating the faceoffs circle.

Another new Devils prospect, Jesper Bratt, is off to a strong start as an 18 year old player in the Allsvenskan. He opened the season with 2 goals and 3 assists over his first 6 games. It wasn't until the last 2 games that he was held without a point in consecutive games. I'd like to see him get that shot rate up as the year goes on but it seems like he's making the most of his opportunity thus far. I really felt like he was a sleeper pick at the draft with his skill and track record as a 17 year old in the Allsvenskan so I'm very excited to follow him this season.

AHL

Current Camp Roster: Here is the current camp roster thanks to Pete Dougherty of The Times Union, not including the recently waived Scott Wedgewood.

Goaltenders (2): Ken Appleby, Mackenzie Blackwood

Defensemen (8): Andrew MacWilliam, Karl Stollery, Joshua Jacobs, Vojtech Mozik, Reece Scarlett, Brandon Gormley, Patch Alber*, Mattieu Brodeur*

Forwards (15): Joseph Blandisi, Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Brandon Baddock, Brian Gibbons, Jan Mandat, Ben Sexton, John Quenneville, Blake Pietila, Carter Camper, Kevin Rooney, Ryan Kujawinski, Nick Lappin, Ben Thomson* = tryout

Preseason Game #1: Albany defeated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-1 on October 6th thanks to 4 power play goals. Jan Mandat, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, and Ty Loney had the goals. Mathieu Brodeur, Ryan Kujawinski, Josh Jacobs, Mandat, and Max Novak had an assist each. Mackenzie Blackwood made 23 saves on 24 shots. Here is the official recap from the Albany site.

Preseason Game #2: Albany shutout the Hartford Wolf Pack 2-0 on October 9th. Brian Gibbons and Rod Pelley had the goals while Karl Stollery had 2 primary assists. Josh Jacobs and Ryan Kujawinski also earned an assist each. Ken Appleby made 26 saves. Here is the official recap from the Albany Devils site.

Up Next: Albany opens their season with an away game against Providence on Friday. They will take on St. John's at home the following day.

Prospect of the Week

I could go a number of ways with this as the season is so young and a number of guys are off to nice starts. I'll side with Nathan Bastian though. The large winger has 3 goals in as many games along with an assist and 3.33 SH/GP rate. He's played in all situations for Mississauga and has continued to have great chemistry with fellow Devils prospect Michael McLeod. Bastian's the type of player that's strong on the puck, can wreck havoc down low in the offensive zone, and has solid instincts. His finishing ability and skating need some work but he'll have the chance to do that this season. I'm expecting big things out of him this season as he's a solid prospect in his own right.

Your Take

Which prospects are you most excited about following this season? What are your thoughts on the Devils system now that the 2016-17 is upon us? What are your expectations for Albany? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!