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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 11/12/19

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This week’s prospect action featured Ty Smith, Aarne Talvitie, Tyce Thompson, and Eetu Pakkila all posting solid numbers while the Devils Russian and Swedish based prospects gained more international experience.

2018 NHL Draft - Portraits
Ty Smith had 5 assists in 2 games last week for Spokane.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The 6th week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update is highlighted by Xavier Bernard returning from injury, Ty Smith producing a lot for Spokane, Aarne Talvitie and Tyce Thompson continuing to stand out in NCAA play, and the Devils European prospects getting more international experience. Let’s take a look at how each prospect performed this past week.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard made his return to the Charlottetown line up yesterday after missing 3 games due to an “upper body injury” that was sustained in their game on 11/1 against Rimouski. The injury was a result of an elbow from top 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Alexis Lafreniere. In yesterday’s game against Gatineau, Bernard was a -1 with 3 shots. This continues a streak of 3 shots per game over his last 5 games.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher was a +2 with 4 PIM, 5 shots, and won 45.45% of his faceoffs across 2 games last week for Ottawa. This was the first time this season that he had back to back games without a point.

Nikita Okhotyuk was a -1 with 2 shots in Russia’s loss to the OHL team on Thursday in the Canada Russia Series. He then had an even rating and 2 PIM against Oshawa on Friday while competing with Ottawa, though he did leave the game in the 2nd period. He missed Sunday’s Ottawa - Peterborough game and Monday’s Russia - OHL game.

Graeme Clarke is out long term following left shoulder surgery.

Michael Vukojevic had an assist, -1, 2 PIM, and 4 shots across 2 games last week for Kitchener.

WHL

Ty Smith had a monster weekend for Spokane with 5 assists (4 EV, 1 PP), +5, 4 PIM, and 7 shots across 2 games. Smith had a bit of a dip in his production after a hot start, but now he has 7 assists (5 EV, 2 PP) over his last 5 games. He hasn’t had much luck with scoring goals after notching 3 in his first 2 games and just 1 over his last 12 games. During that 12 game stretch he is averaging 3.16 shots per game so it’s not like he isn’t getting his shots on goal. Smith is set to lead the WHL against Russia in the Canada Russia series on 11/13 and 11/14.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh had a PP assist, +3, and 5 shots across 2 games last weekend for Harvard.

Matt Hellickson was a -1 with 2 PIM across 2 games last weekend for Notre Dame as they beat Ohio State twice.

Aarne Talvitie had 2 assists, +2, 3 shots, and won 5/6 faceoffs in 2 games against Michigan State this past weekend. It seems he has settled in nicely on the LW for Penn State this season.

Tyce Thompson had another productive weekend for Providence with a goal, a PP assist, -2, 19 PIM, 9 shots, and won 3/10 faceoffs across 2 games against Boston University. Thompson was ejected from the first game of the series with a contact to the head penalty in overtime. He continues to be a threat in the top 6 at RW.

Patrick Moynihan had a PP goal, -2, and 2 shots in 2 games for Providence. He had previously been on Thompson’s line as a LW but has moved to the 4th line RW spot. He’s still featuring on the PP so I wouldn’t worry too much about this for the freshman.

Case McCarthy was on the other end of the the Providence - Boston University series this past weekend. He finished with an assist, -1, and 5 shots for BU across the 2 games.

USHL

Akira Schmid has now missed 5 games with due to a “lower body injury”. The team announced the injury on 10/24 and expected him to return the following week, however Schmid was placed on the Injured Reserve list on 11/8. Hopefully he can get back on the ice soon.

Cole Brady made 29 saves on 30 shots in a victory over Dubuque on Saturday.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev competed with the Russia B team at the 2019 Deutschland Cup against Switzerland, Germany, and Slovakia. Russia finished in 3rd with 2 overtime wins and a loss. Zaitsev had an assist, even rating, 2 PIM, a shot, and averaged 18:08 per game.

Daniil Misyul and Arseni Gritsyuk competed for Russia’s U20 team at the U20 Four Nations tournament in Helsinki last week. Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects was there and posted Part 1 of his review of the tournament. Here is what he had to say about the Devils’ Russian prospects:

Misyul played on the second pair and was also used on both special teams. He had three points in the tournament but they were all just secondary assists where he did nothing special. He played very well defensively and showed great physical play. He supported offensive plays as well but isn’t really someone you’d expect to generate a lot of offense. Misyul has a good chance to be on the final WJC roster, and he definitely improved his stock in this tournament.

Gritsyuk played on the third line in two of the games and on the fourth line in one game. He saw a good amount of power play time but wasn’t really able to do much with it. He had one goal which was a great finish to a breakaway but other than that, he didn’t really stand out. For me, Gritsyuk is on the outside looking in when thinking about final WJC selections.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila had 2 assists, +2, and 3 shots in 16:01 in his only game action of the week. He now has 5 assists in his last 3 games and 6 assists in his last 5 games. Hopefully he can keep the productive play up.

Nikola Pasic was with Sweden’s U20 team at the Four Nations tournament in Helsinki. You can check out two of his goals below:

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? Which of these prospects do you expect to make an impact at the upcoming WJC? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!