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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 12/24/19

This week’s action featured 5 Devils prospects gearing up for the World Junior Championship in exhibition games as well as the Devils OHL and European prospects in action.

Canada v Denmark - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Ty Smith will be competing along with Kevin Bahl, Akira Schmid, Daniil Misyul, and Nikola Pasic in the WJC which starts on Thursday.
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The 12th week of the 2019-2020 New Jersey Devils prospect update is highlighted by 5 Devils prospects playing in pre-tournament games ahead of the World Junior Championship. In league action, the Devils OHL and European based prospects were also in action. Let’s take a look at what each prospect did this past week.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard and Sherbrooke had the week off as the QMJHL is on a break until 12/28. Bernard should make his debut for Sherbrooke on that date in their game against Gatineau. Last week EN24 had this article which featured some of Bernard’s thoughts about the trade:

”My main goal until June is to take advantage of the chance to join a team that aspires to great honors by ending my career in major junior with a Memorial Cup,” said Xavier Bernard.

“The Islanders may be 5th in the QMJHL, but we were still young. Our general manager had a plan in mind and that is why I was exchanged. Joining the Phoenix is ​​the best thing that could have happened to me. I want to keep my style of play by being good in both directions of the ice, winning my fights in the corner and relaunching the game. We will be impressive on the blue line. This is the new style in the QMJHL. Having big defenders has come back into fashion. Confronting big and big defenders becomes difficult in the long run in the playoffs.”

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher had a PP assist, +2, 2 PIM, 2 shots, and won 12/26 faceoffs in Ottawa’s victory over Oshawa on Friday.

Nikita Okhotyuk has continued to be sidelined since leaving Ottawa’s game vs. Oshawa on 11/8 with an injury.

Graeme Clarke is out long term following left shoulder surgery.

Kevin Bahl spent the past week with Canada as they prepare for the upcoming World Junior Championship. Canada won pre-tournament games against Switzerland and Finland with Bahl scoring the below goal against Finland yesterday. Canada will open their WJC against the United States at 1 PM ET on Thursday. That game can be seen on NHL Network in the United States (US broadcast schedule; Canadian broadcast schedule). As Mark Masters of TSN notes, Bahl has continued to feature on the 2nd pair with Ottawa Senators’ prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker. Keep an eye out for John’s full WJC Preview coming soon.

Michael Vukojevic had an even rating and 4 shots across 2 games last week for Kitchener.

WHL

Ty Smith has continued to skate on the right side of Canada’s top pair alongside Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Jared McIsaac.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh and Harvard return to action on 12/28 against Arizona State.

Matt Hellickson and Notre Dame return to action on 1/3 against Western Michigan.

Aarne Talvitie and Penn State return to action on 1/3 against Niagara.

Tyce Thompson, Patrick Moynihan, and Providence return to action on 12/28 against Lake Superior State.

Case McCarthy and Boston University return to action on 12/29 against Concordia in an exhibition.

USHL

Akira Schmid spent the past week with the Switzerland as they prepare for the WJC. Schmid figures to battle Luca Hollenstein for the #1 spot in goal. Switzerland opens up their tournament on Thursday at 9 AM ET against Kazakhstan.

Cole Brady and Fargo return to action on 12/27 against Lincoln.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an assist, +3, 2 shots, and average ice time of 15:39 across 3 games last week for Dynamo.

Daniil Misyul has been with Russia as they prepare for the WJC. According to Steven Ellis of The Hockey News, it looks like Misyul has been skating on the 2nd pair alongside Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect Yegor Zamula. Russia opens the tournament on Thursday against the host nation, Czech Republic at 9 AM ET.

Arseni Gritsyuk had a goal, 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), -1, 2 PIM, 15 shots, and average ice time of 20:46 across 3 games last week for Omskie Yastreby.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila had 2 goals, an assist, +1, 3 shots, and played 15:37 in Ilves loss to JYP on Friday. He now has 4 goals and an assist in his 6 games back since re-joining Ilves in Liiga.

Nikola Pasic has been with Sweden as they prepare for the upcoming WJC. Henrik Sjöberg of hockeynews.se has noted that Pasic has been skating on the 2nd line and 2nd PP unit. His linemates have been Dallas Stars’ prospect Oskar Bäck and Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Jonatan Berggren. Sweden will take on Finland on Thursday at 1 PM ET.

Your Take

What are your expectations for each of the 5 Devils prospects in the WJC? What are your thoughts on Pakkila’s season so far? Leave your comments below, thanks for reading, and happy holidays!