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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 12/3/19

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This week’s update is highlighted by Ty Smith being named to Canada’s WJC Selection Camp roster, Tyce Thompson’s continued productive play in the NCAA, Arseni Gritsyuk making his pro debut, and the strong play of Eetu Pakkila and Nikola Pasic in their respective leagues.

Canada v Denmark - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
Ty Smith was named to Canada’s WJC Selection Camp roster and figures to play a huge role for them later this month.
Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

The 9th week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update saw standout performances from Xavier Bernard in the QMJHL, Reilly Walsh, Tyce Thompson, and Patrick Moynihan in the NCAA, and Eetu Pakkila as well as Nikola Pasic in European action. Ty Smith also got the nod to attend Canada’s WJC Selection Camp and Arseni Gritsyuk was productive in his pro debut in the VHL. Let’s take a closer look at how each prospect performed over the past week.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard had a productive week with 4 assists (2 EV, 2 PP), +1, 4 PIM, and 7 shots in 3 games for Charlottetown.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher had an assist, +1, 2 PIM, 5 shots, and won 48.15% of his faceoffs across 3 games last week for Ottawa. The assist came on the game winning goal with seconds left in regulation against Oshawa on Saturday and you can see it below:

Nikita Okhotyuk has continued to be sidelined since leaving Ottawa’s game vs. Oshawa on 11/8 in the 2nd period with an injury. Josh Glazer of DraftGeek.ca posted this report last week from Okhotyuk’s game against Peterborough on 10/18. Here’s what he said about the defenseman:

Okhotyuk plays a defensive minded game but showed some flashes of offence. While he sometimes rushes passes under pressure, he managed a few rushes and displayed some smooth edgework while doing so. Defensively, Okhotyuk knows when to step up and plays the body effectively.

Graeme Clarke is out long term following left shoulder surgery. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic posted this article about Clarke last Friday that I highly recommend checking out if you have a subscription. It goes over his injury history with his shoulder dating back to last season, his relationship with the Devils organization, and his goal to make it back before the end of this season.

Michael Vukojevic had a goal (EN SH), +1, 2 PIM, and 6 shots in 3 games for Kitchener last week.

WHL

Ty Smith had 2 assists, +1, and 12 shots across 3 games last week. Both of his assists came against Victoria on Saturday. Yesterday, as expected, Canada named Smith to the roster for their WJC Selection Camp which will take place from 12/9 to 12/12 in Oakville, Ontario. I’m looking forward to seeing Smith play a huge role for Canada at the upcoming WJC later this month.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh had a PP assist, -2, and 3 shots in Harvard’s loss to Boston College on Friday. This was Harvard’s first loss of the season after a 6-0 start. Harvard has played about half as many games as other teams, though Walsh finds himself tied for 4th place in the country among defensemen with a 0.71 PP Pts/GP rate. Obviously it is a small sample size but at least he’s producing as expected on the PP to start this season.

Matt Hellickson had an even rating, 2 PIM, and 2 shots as Notre Dame lost both of their games to Bowling Green this past weekend. His offensive production has fallen off after a hot start that saw him post 2 goals and 3 assists over his first 6 games. He now hasn’t had a point over his previous 8 games. He is getting plenty of ice time as he plays in all situations. While his defensive game seems fine for the NCAA level and I think he could go on to play pro hockey at the AHL level, I don’t see much NHL upside there.

Aarne Talvitie made his return to the Penn State line up after missing one game the previous weekend. This past weekend he had an assist, even rating, 4 shots, and won 52.38% of his faceoffs. You can check out Talvitie when Penn State takes on Michigan at 8:30 PM ET on FS1 this Friday.

Tyce Thompson had a goal, PP assist, +1, 3 shots, and won 3/6 faceoffs to help Providence to win over Brown in the Mayor’s Cup on Saturday. Thompson has only been kept off the scoresheet twice this season and is currently on a 6 game scoring streak with 5 goals and 5 assists during that stretch. Thompson is currently in a 3-way tie for the most goals in the NCAA with 12 alongside Tyler Maden (John’s son and Canucks prospect) and Griffin Loughran. Thompon ranks 2nd in points in the country with 24.

Patrick Moynihan had a PP goal, -1, and 3 shots against Brown on Saturday. He is currently tied with Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield for the freshman lead in PP goals with 5 and is 5th in freshman PP points with 8. You can check out his most recent goal below:

Case McCarthy was a -2 with 4 shots across 2 games this past week.

USHL

Akira Schmid missed both of Omaha’s games last week due to a “lower body injury” that has him on the IR. He has now missed 11 games in a row since being injured on 10/19.

Cole Brady made just 4 saves on 6 shots in a loss to Sioux Falls on Wednesday. He rebounded on Friday night with 41 saves on 44 shots in a win over Dubuque. His .906 SV% currently ranks 6th among all qualified USHL goaltenders this season.

Russia

KHL

VHL/MHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a -1 with 4 PIM, a shot, and an average ice time of 19:17 across 3 games last week.

Daniil Misyul had an even rating, a shot, and averaged 9:15 across 3 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk was called up for the first professional games of his career with his MHL team on break. In 2 VHL games last week he had a goal, 2 assists, +3, 3 shots, and averaged 11:46 per game. It will be interesting to see if he goes back to his junior team in the MHL or if he will get more pro experience in the VHL for Izhstal Izhevsk.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila continued his production for KOOVEE with a goal, 2 assists, +1, 2 PIM, and 4 shots while averaging 14:13 across 2 games last week. He now has 4 goals and 8 assists across his last 11 games. Pakkila is currently 4th in scoring for all U21 players in Mestis with 14 points.

Nikola Pasic had a goal, PP assist, -2, 2 shots, and averaged 11:59 across 3 games last week. He continues to lead U20 players in the Allsvenskan with 19 points with a 6 point lead over the next player. You can see his most recent goal below:

Your Take

Which of these players stood out to you this past week? What are your expectations for Ty Smith at the upcoming WJC? What are your thoughts on the seasons that Eetu Pakkila and Nikola Pasic are having in Europe? What about Arseni Gritsyuk making his pro debut? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!