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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 10/22/19

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Week 3 of the 2019-20 prospect update is highlighted by the productive play of Tyce Thompson, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Nikola Pasic. Unfortunate injury news about Graeme Clarke also became available.

New Jersey Devils Prospect Headshots
Nikola Pasic has emerged as a top U20 player in the Allsvenskan early in the season thanks to a recent hot streak. Pasic has put up 3 goals and 6 assists over his last 5 games.
Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

This week of the 2019-20 prospect update features a few highs and one major low. The great news is that Tyce Thompson and Patrick Moynihan are off to a strong start for Providence, Aarne Talvitie has continued to make a fine return to form after an injury that kept him out for half of last season, and European prospects Arseni Gritsyuk and Nikola Pasic have been very productive so far this season. The bad news is that Graeme Clarke suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and could end up missing the rest of the season for the Ottawa 67’s. Let’s take a look at how each prospect performed this past week.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard was a -1 with 2 PIM and 3 shots across 3 games last week for Charlottetown. The Islanders are off to a strong start as the top team in the Eastern Conference with 21 points after 13 games played.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher had an assist, even rating, 6 shots, and won 55.26% of his faceoffs across 2 games for Ottawa last week. The assist came on the game winning goal in overtime against Hamilton on Sunday. He’s currently tied for the team lead in points (15) with Austen Keating and Marco Rossi.

Nikita Okhotyuk made his season debut for Ottawa this week after being sidelined for the beginning of the season following surgery on his right index finger to repair a fracture. He had no points, an even rating, 2 PIM, and 2 shots in 2 games last week. His return is a a much needed boost for an Ottawa 67’s team that has been losing key players early this season due to injury.

One of those key players now missing for Ottawa is unfortunately Graeme Clarke. Kenny Walls reported on Friday that Clarke would be out for 4 months due to a shoulder injury that will require surgery. Don Campbell of the Ottawa Sun had this report on the injury later in the day:

The 67’s learned late Thursday they will be without Clarke, the third-round (80th overall) pick of the New Jersey Devils, for four to six months and possibly the entire 2019-20 season after Clarke re-injured his shoulder during a goal celebration last Sunday.

Clarke, who scored 23 goals last year as a 17-year-old, followed by seven more in 18 playoff games, will undergo surgery Monday in New York for issues related to damage to the labrum in his left shoulder.

It’s the same shoulder that limited Clarke to 55 games last year. The 67’s were certainly counting on big things this year, with Clarke already leading the 67’s with seven goals only nine games.

Clarke headed to New Jersey this week to confer with Devils medical people and will not return to Ottawa until next Friday at the earliest.

Clarke was off to a great start this season, leading the team in goals, and was poised to take another step in his development. Hopefully he makes a full recovery and can return as soon as possible.

Michael Vukojevic was a +2 with 2 shots in 2 games for Kitchener this past week.

WHL

Ty Smith had a goal, +2, and 11 shots in 2 games for Spokane against Prince George this past weekend. The goal was an empty net goal that snapped a 3 game point drought and 4 game goal drought. Last Tuesday, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News had this column that highlighted Ty Smith’s return to Spokane. Here is some of what Kennedy wrote about Smith’s situation in returning to the WHL:

It’s also worth noting that Smith hurt his wrist in the WHL playoffs this past spring, which meant he wasn’t 100 percent when training this summer. I spoke with Spokane GM Scott Carter this week and he was obviously very happy at getting Smith back for one more run with the Chiefs.

Along with playing another world juniors with Canada, Smith can also work on some things that will help him when he does get another shot at the NHL next year. According to Carter, that includes moving the puck faster and making quicker decisions – two things much more intense at the NHL level than in junior.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh and Harvard will open their regular season on 11/1 when they take on Dartmouth.

Matt Hellickson and Notre Dame had this past week off. They return to the ice on Friday against Lake Superior State.

Aarne Talvitie had a goal, +1, 4 shots, and won 55.17% of his faceoffs in 2 games against Alaska this past week for Penn State. It’s encouraging to see him get off to a strong start after missing the second half of last season. You can check out his goal from this past weekend below:

Tyce Thompson continued his hot start to the season for a 3-0-1 Providence team. On Friday he had a PP goal, 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +1, 5 shots, and won 6/14 faceoffs in a victory against St. Lawrence. On Saturday he had 2 goals, +2, 5 shots, and won 3/5 faceoffs in a victory over Clarkson.

Patrick Moynihan has been enjoying the start of his collegiate career with Providence. This past weekend he had a PP goal, PP assist, +2, and 3 shots across both of Providence’s victories. You can check out his first NCAA goal below:

Case McCarthy and Boston University resumed their season this past weekend after not playing since their opening game against Union on 10/5. This past weekend they hosted Northern Michigan in a 2 game series at home but struggled to find victory. Across both games McCarthy was a -2 with 2 PIM and 4 shots.

USHL

Akira Schmid made 23 saves on 25 shots in 58:21 in a loss to Cedar Rapids on Friday. The following night he made just 26 saves on 31 shots in 56:03 and did not pick up a decision against Cedar Rapids. Omaha entered that 3rd period with a 4-1 lead but would eventually be outscored 4-1 over the next 16:03 of game time. Schmid would be pulled in favor of Kyle McClellan following the last Cedar Rapids goal and Omaha would go on to win the game after scoring with 13 seconds left in regulation.

Cole Brady made 22 saves on 25 shots in 62:08 to earn a victory over Sioux Falls on Thursday.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a +1 with a shot, 4 blocks, and average ice time of 17:34 across 3 games last week for Dynamo.

Daniil Misyul had an even rating, 2 PIM, 3 shots, a block, and average ice time of 14:22 across 3 games last week for Lokomotiv.

Arseni Gritsyuk is back to tearing up the MHL after a 4 game slump with no points. In 3 games last week, Gritsyuk had 2 goals, 3 assists, +5, 21 shots, and an average ice time of 19:27. Both goals and 2 of those assists occurred at even strength while the other assist came as a primary helper on the PP. He’s currently 2nd in scoring on his team with 17 points in 16 games.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila was a -3 with 8 shots and average ice time of 15:17 across 2 games last week for KOOVEE. So far he has struggled to make much of an impact on the scoresheet since going down to the Mestis with both of his points coming in the same game. He is averaging over 3 shots per game so hopefully he can start finishing some of those chances.

Nikola Pasic continued his impressive form in the Allsvenskan. Pasic had a goal, 3 assists, +1, 4 shots, and averaged 15:18 across 2 games for BIK Karlskoga this past week. All 4 of his points were primary and split evenly across even strength and the PP with the goal occurring at even strength. Pasic has really turned it on as of late with 9 points over his last 5 games after starting the season with 1 point over his first 6 games. He’s currently 3rd on his team in assists (7) and 4th in points (10). Pasic is doing really well compared to his U20 peers in the league, leading the way in assists and points.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? How do you feel about the production by Nikola Pasic, Arseni Gritsyuk, Tyce Thompson, and Aarne Talvitie so far this season? What is your reaction to the Graeme Clarke injury news? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!