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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/28/20

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This week’s prospect action is highlighted by the Devils trio of healthy Ottawa 67’s prospects, Ty Smith earning his 200th career regular season WHL point, and Arseni Gritsyuk continue to have success in the MHL.

OHL: JAN 26 Saginaw Spirit at Ottawa 67’s
Kevin Bahl continues to be a key part of Ottawa’s success in the OHL. He had 2 assists across 2 games last week.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 17th week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update saw Xavier Bernard settle in nicely with a strong Sherbrooke team in the QMJHL, the Devils healthy trio of Ottawa 67’s prospects continue to have success in the OHL, Ty Smith continue his fine post-WJC form by earning his 200th career regular season WHL point, and Arseni Gritsyuk as well as Nikola Pasic find success in their respective leagues.

I should also mention that Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked the Devils prospect pool 17th in his 2020 NHL prospect pool rankings. The post which can be found here requires a subscription. Without giving away too much from his article, I have to say I found this ranking fair. He notes that the Devils lack high end talent but make up for that with a lot of depth in terms of players that could develop into serviceable NHL players. It’s certainly worth a read if you have a subscription. Hopefully the Devils can further improve this pool at the trade deadline and with the draft.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard had an assist, +1, and 7 shots across 2 games last week. Sherbrooke improved to a league best 36-7-3-1 by winning both of their games this past week by scores of 10-1 and 6-1. Bernard has 5 assists, +8, and 8 shots over his last 5 games.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher and Ottawa continue to roll as they picked up a pair of victories this past week to improve their league best record to 36-7-0-0. Hoelscher had a goal, 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +2, 9 shots, and won 56.76% of his faceoffs across both games. He’s been consistent all season but especially productive lately with 6 goals and 7 assists over his last 6 games as well as 9 goals and 12 assists over his last 10 games.

Nikita Okhotyuk had an assist, +2, and 5 shots across 2 games last week.

Graeme Clarke continues to be out following left shoulder surgery.

Kevin Bahl had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +3, and 5 shots across 2 games last week.

Michael Vukojevic was a -1 with 2 PIM and 4 shots across 2 games last week.

If you’re interested in reading about what top free agents are coming out of the OHL this season, then check out this post by Brock Otten of OHL Prospects. In this Sunday Top 10, he ranks the best overagers worth signing.

WHL

Ty Smith had a goal, 3 assists (2 PP, 1 SH), +1, and 7 shots across 3 games last week. His week was going well up until Sunday’s loss to Everett where he was a -3 with no points. That was actually his first game since returning from the WJC where he was held off the scoresheet. In 7 post-WJC games, Smith has 3 goals and 7 assists while averaging 2.29 shots per game. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic had Smith ranked as the top Devils prospect in the system. You can see him capture his 200th career regular season WHL point on this goal:

NCAA

Just a note, I’m going to be adding in the USCHO Division 1 Men’s Poll rankings (when applicable) for each team going forward.

Reilly Walsh was a -1 with 11 shots across 2 games as #16 Harvard tied both Colgate and #1 Cornell this past weekend. They take on Union at 7 PM ET this Friday on ESPN+ and then #13 Northeastern on Monday in the 68th edition of the Beanpot. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic ranked Walsh as the 2nd best prospect in the Devils system.

Matt Hellickson had a PP assist, -2, 2 PIM, and 2 shots as Notre Dame split 2 games with Wisconsin this past weekend. As Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst noted on Saturday, Hellickson continues to be the only defenseman on the PP1 unit. You can see Hellickson and Notre Dame take on Aarne Talvitie and #8 Penn State on Friday at 6 PM ET on Big Ten Network.

Aarne Talvitie had an even rating, 2 PIM, 3 shots, and won 50% of his faceoffs as #8 Penn State split their weekend series against #17 Michigan State. He continues to feature as a top 6 LW for Penn State and a key player on both special teams units. He was active in helping Penn State kill off all 3 penalties in Saturday’s game to bring their PK% up to 86.2% which ranks 9th in the NCAA. He did seem a bit out of sync at times offensively but has played in only 4 games over the past 6 weeks due to the winter break and personal reasons. He started his season off strong with 4 goals and 8 assists in his first 10 games but now has just 1 goal and 2 assists over his last 12 games. Hopefully he breaks out of his slump and his offensive game catches up to his defensive game.

There was no game action for Tyce Thompson and Patrick Moynihan last week as #9 Providence was off. They return to face #13 Northeastern on Friday.

Case McCarthy had an even rating and 4 shots across Boston University’s 2 games against #14 UMass Lowell this past weekend. They’ll take on Vermont on Friday and then #5 Boston College on Monday in the 68th edition of the Beanpot.

USHL

Akira Schmid had a bit of a rough week as he still settles into his new team. On Friday he made 23 saves on 26 shots in a victory over Lincoln. On Saturday he faced off against his ex-teammates as Sioux City took on Omaha. Unfortunately for Schmid, he picked up a loss as he made just 28 saves on 33 shots in 46:41.

Cole Brady made 29 saves on 32 shots in a loss to Tri-City on Saturday.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a +1 with 2 PIM and a shot while averaging 19:49 across 2 games last week. This was the first time since November he played 19+ minutes in back to back games.

Daniil Misyul had an assist, +2, 2 PIM, 2 shots, and averaged 7:30 across 2 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 goals, 2 assists, +3, 14 shots, and averaged 18:02 across 3 games last week.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila was a -1 with 3 shots while averaging 8:57 across 2 games last week. Pakkila started his season with a goal and no assists in his opening 7 games which led to his loan stint in the Mestis. He returned to Liiga in December and was impressive with 4 goals and 2 assists in 7 games. He has struggled since then with just a goal and an assist over his last 11 games. These struggles aren’t uncommon for a first year pro player that is still just 20 years old though.

Nikola Pasic had a PP assist, +1, and a shot while averaging 12:38 across 2 games.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? Which of these prospects are you satisfeid with and which do you want to see more from? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!