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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 2/12/19

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Week 18 of the 2018-19 prospect update saw Jeremy Davies help Northeastern to another Beanpot title, Akira Schmid earn USHL Goaltender of the Week honors, and Nikita Popugaev leave his KHL team in search of a move back to North America.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
Nikita Popugaev is a man on the move as he and his club have agreed to a mutual termination of his contract. It appears he is coming back to North America.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 18th week of the 2018-19 prospect update is here. It’s highlighted by Ty Smith not missing any game action after suffering an injury last week, Jeremy Davies helping Northeastern capture another Beanpot title, Reilly Walsh stay on fire for Harvard, Akira Schmid earn Goaltender of the Week honors in the USHL, and Nikita Popugaev leave his Russian club to possibly return to North America.

QMJHL

Jocktan Chainey missed all 3 of Halifax’s games this past week due to an upper body injury. He has now missed 19 straight games with his last appearance coming on 12/28/18.

Xavier Bernard was a -3 with 2 PIM and 6 shots in 3 games for Charlottetown last week. Jason Malloy of The Guardian has this article from last Tuesday about Bernard’s adjustment after being traded to the Charlottetown Islanders. It includes quotes from Bernard, Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton, and Islanders goaltender Matthew Welsh. Here are a few of the parts that I found intriguing:

“The phone calls are always hard when you’re getting a guy from a so-called contender,” Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton said. “Right from my first conversation with him, I couldn’t have been more impressed with how much he stressed that he wanted to be in Charlottetown and was excited and looking forward to the opportunity. . . He’s such a real pleasant kid to be around.”

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“Bernie has definitely been a great leader for us since he came in,” goalie Matthew Welsh said. “He does all the things that a pro does.”

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“It’s the combination of size and skill,” Hulton said, when asked what made Bernard such an attractive player to acquire.

“I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he added. “I don’t think he realizes how good he is or how good he can be. He’s a very humble young man. Once it comes together here, which it has the last few games, he has the ability to dominate games.”

Also, as of right now it appears the NHL Network will have the Halifax Mooseheads vs. Charlottetown Islanders match at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday 2/16. Hopefully Chainey makes it back in time for that match but if not it will be a good chance to see Bernard in action.

Jeremy Groleau was a -2 with 2 PIM and 2 shots in 2 games last week.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher was a +1 with 6 PIM, 4 shots, and won 44.23% of his faceoffs across 3 games last week.

WHL

Great news on the Ty Smith front! First, he didn’t miss any games after leaving last Saturday’s contest against Portland after falling awkwardly on a hit. Secondly, it appears he is out of his mini “slump”. In 3 games last week he had 5 assists (3 EV, 2 PP), +1, and 13 shots. His 52 assists are good for 3rd overall in the WHL and is top among the defensemen. His 56 points are 2nd among WHL defensemen however he has put that up in 43 games while the leader, Dawson Davidson, has put up 61 points in 55 games.

NCAA

Jeremy Davies had a PP assist, +1, and a shot on Thursday against UConn. Last night, he helped Northeastern to their second consecutive Beanpot title with an even rating, 2 PIM, and 1 shot. He even earned some praise from Brock Otten of OHL Prospects:

Reilly Walsh had another productive week for Harvard. On Friday he had 2 PP assists and a -1 in a victory over Union. Yesterday, he had 2 assists, +2, 2 PIM, and 2 shots in a Beanpot consolation win over Boston University. His second assist against Boston University is in the tweet below. You can see him in action as usual on ESPN+ as Harvard will take on St. Lawrence at 7 PM ET on Friday and Clarkson at 7 PM ET on Saturday.

Matt Hellickson and Notre Dame had last week off but will return to action with a game against Michigan tonight at 7:30 PM ET on SNY. They will also take on Wisconsin at 7 PM ET on NBCSN on Friday and then again at 6 PM ET on NBCSN on Saturday.

Aarne Talvitie is out for the rest of the season due to knee surgery.

USHL/NAHL

Akira Schmid enjoyed a very successful week in the USHL and was named Goaltender of the Week. On Friday he stopped all 16 shots he faced in 53:49 of relief after Omaha’s starter made just 5 saves on 8 shots to open the game. Schmid would stop all 3 Sioux City Musketeers shooters in the shootout to earn the victory for the Lancers. The following night against Des Moines he led Omaha to another victory by stopping 43 of 45 shots in 64:35. While he hasn’t always had the most consistent schedule since joining Omaha due to roster constraints and leaving for the World Junior Championship, Schmid has been really solid for the Lancers over his last 11 games (8 starts) dating back to 11/24/18 with a .943 SV% during that stretch. Hopefully he can keep his strong play up.

Russia

KHL

VHL

MHL

Mikhail Maltsev made his first KHL appearance since 12/18/18 when he played against Severstal yesterday. He was a -1 with 2 shots and won 2/7 faceoffs in 9:37. It also looks like I missed a VHL appearance he had last Monday when he had a goal, +1, shot, and won 12/18 faceoffs in 18:35. According to Russian Prospects, Maltsev was selected to represent his country in an upcoming tournament:

Yegor Zaitsev was a +1 with 2 PIM in 13:55 in a game agaisnt Spartak last week in KHL action.

Nikita Popugaev’s time with Amur Khabarovsk has come to an end for now. As Aivis Kalnins reported on Friday that the forward and team agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent. We’ll have to see where Popugaev ends up in North America. Amur will retain his KHL rights.

Sweden & Finland

Jesper Boqvist was with Sweden as they took part in the Beijer Hockey Games from this past week against Czech Republic, Russia, and Finland. He had 2 assists and was a +1 in the competition. According to Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects and Finn Prospects, it looks like Boqvist was 3rd line RW.

Fabian Zetterlund is out for the season due to knee surgery.

It doesn’t appear that Eetu Pakkila and his junior team had any game action this past week.

Switzerland

Gilles Senn didn’t play in either of HC Davos games this past week which is a shame since he does have a .931 SV% over his last 5 games (all starts). Hopefully he gets more action over the final 9 games of the regular season as well as the relegation playout.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? What are your thoughts on the seasons that Davies and Walsh are having? How about Schmid’s recent solid play? What do you think about Popugaev’s decision to move on from his KHL team? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!