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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 11/5/19

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This week’s prospect update features Mitchell Hoelscher, Tyce Thompson, and Nikola Pasic all continuing their strong production and Ty Smith being named captain for the WHL team in the Canada Russia Series.

Kontinental Hockey League: Admiral Vladivostok vs Dynamo Moscow
Yegor Zaitsev has earned an increased role for Dynamo Moscow this season.
Photo by Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images

Welcome to the 5th week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update. This week’s action featured Xavier Bernard missing a game after being injured by a top 2020 NHL Draft prospect, the high offensive production of Mitchell Hoelscher, Tyce Thompson, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Nikola Pasic, and Ty Smith being named captain for the WHL team for their upcoming games against the Russian U20 team in the Canada Russia Series. Let’s take a look to see how each prospect performed over this past week.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard had an even rating and 3 shots in Charlottetown’s game against Rimouski on Friday. He now has 3 shots per game across his previous 4 games. Unfortunately for Bernard, he took an elbow from top 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Alexis Lafreniere and missed Saturday’s game against Acadie-Bathurst. Lafreniere was given 5 and a game misconduct on the play. You can see the elbowing incident in the tweet below:

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher has continued to be a force for the Ottawa 67’s. This past week he had 4 goals, an assist, +4, 2 PIM, 14 shots, and won 64.71% of his faceoffs across 3 games. He is on a 4 game point streak with 6 goals and an assist during that stretch with all of those points occurring at even strength. Hoelscher continues to lead the 67’s in goals (12) and is tied for 9th in the OHL in goals.

Nikita Okhotyuk had an assist, +2, and 3 shots across 3 games last week for Ottawa. He’ll be in action for Russia during the Canada Russia Series this week.

Graeme Clarke is out long term following left shoulder surgery.

Michael Vukojevic was a -2 with a shot in Kitchener’s game against Owen Sound last Friday.

WHL

Ty Smith had a PP assist, +1, 4 PIM, and 5 shots across 2 games for Spokane this past week. He’s still struggled with his point production on consistent basis after his hot start of 6 points in 3 games with 3 points over his last 9 games. Last Wednesday, Smith was named Captain for Team WHL in the Canada Russia Series. The WHL takes on Russia on 11/13 and 11/14. On Friday, the CHL posted this interview with Smith where he talks about his experience at New Jersey Devils training camp, competing against NHL players in preseason action, and what he learned from last year’s world junior experience. I recommend checking out the whole interview but here is a small piece of it:

JHM: How did that experience make you a different and better player now with your team?

TS: It showed me that I need to continue to improve, to get back to the way I play in making plays, using my feet, skating, and continue to work on defending. I think that’s a big thing at the next level, especially for younger defenders. I think the experience in the preseason showed me that I need to continue to work and keep working hard to hopefully play in the NHL one day. Being here in Spokane, that whole experience of not making it is motivating and just shows me that I can continue to improve here.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh helped Harvard to a season opening 7-3 victory over Dartmouth on Friday with an EN assist, +1, and a shot. Harvard’s upcoming games against Princeton on Friday at 7 PM ET and Quinnipiac on Saturday at 7 PM ET can both be seen on ESPN+. You can see the nice set up Walsh made for the empty net goal below:

Matt Hellickson continued a productive start to his junior season for Notre Dame with 2 assists, an even rating, 2 PIM, and 4 shots in 2 games against Minnesota this past weekend. His assist on Saturday came on the game winning goal. He’s been taking advantage of playing a large role in all situations for Notre Dame as an upperclassman. You can see him in action when Notre Dame takes on Ohio State on Friday at 8 PM ET on NBCSN and on Saturday at 7 PM ET on SNY.

Aarne Talvitie had a PP goal, 2 assists, +2, a shot, and won 5/8 faceoffs in Thursday’s victory over Wisconsin. The following night he was a +1 with 2 shots and won 3/4 faceoffs in Penn State’s second victory against Wisconsin. It’s great to see that he has picked up right where he left off from last year when he was healthy. He’s been a key part on the wing in Penn State’s top 6 and has been an important part of both their PP and PK to start this season. Watching him play, it seems that he’s in a great place for his game to develop over the next couple of years. You can check out his PP goal from this weekend below:

Tyce Thompson continued to be one of the most productive players in college hockey this past weekend. On Friday he had a goal, +1, 7 shots, and won all 5 faceoffs he took against Colgate. On Saturday he had a PP goal, a PP assist, -1, 4 shots, and won 5/8 faceoffs against Boston College. Obviously it is still very early in the season and not every team has played an equal amount of games, but as of this moment, Thompson ranks 2nd in points in the NCAA with 14 points after 8 games played and is tied for 6th in shots per game with 4.50.

Patrick Moynihan has continued to be one of Thompson’s linemates for Providence. He had no points across both of Providence’s games this past weekend but did finish a +1 with 10 shots. His 3.75 shots per game rate is 3rd among all freshman in the NCAA right now.

Case McCarthy had an even rating and a shot across 2 games against Maine this past weekend.

USHL

Akira Schmid missed both of Omaha’s games this past weekend due to a lower body injury. He has now missed 4 games in a row.

Cole Brady made 19 saves on 21 shots in a loss to Tri-City on Friday.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an even rating, 1 shot, 5 blocks, and averaged 15:49 per game across 3 games last week for Dynamo. So far this season he’s averaging over 3 minutes more per game than he did last season.

Daniil Misyul had an even rating, 2 shots, and averaged 7:03 per game across 2 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), an assist, +2, 9 shots, and averaged 17:32 per game across 2 games last week. He currently is tied with Yegor Chinakhov for the team lead in goals with 11 but has played in 2 less games.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila had 3 assists (2 EV, 1 EN), +3, 7 shots, and averaged 16:01 across 3 games last week. He seems to be settling in with KOOVEE now after putting up just 2 points in his first 7 games. Pakkila has now put up 4 points in his last 4 games.

Nikola Pasic had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PS), an PP assist, even rating, 2 PIM, 4 shots, and averaged 14:01 per game across 3 games last week. He continues to lead U20 players in the Allsvenskan with 14 points after 17 games played.

Your Take

Which of these prospects stood out to you this week? What are your thoughts on Ty Smith being named captain for the WHL team in the Canada Russia Series? How about the continued success that Mitchell Hoelscher, Tyce Thompson, and Nikola Pasic have had this season? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!