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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/7/20

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This past week saw 4 Devils prospects earn medals at the WJC, Mitchell Hoelscher and Tyce Thompson put up strong performances, and Akira Schmid get traded in the USHL.

2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, final: Canada 4 - 3 Russia
Kevin Bahl celebrates victory in the 2020 World Junior Championship with his teammates from Canada.
Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images

The 14th week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update saw Ty Smith and Kevin Bahl capture Gold over Daniil Misyul and Russia at the WJC, Nikola Pasic earn a Bronze Medal with Sweden, Mitchell Hoelscher and Tyce Thompson continue their career seasons, and Akira Schmid get traded within the USHL while he was at the WJC. Let’s take a look at how each prospect performed over this past week.

WJC

The 2020 World Junior Championship has ended with Canada capturing the Gold, Russia the Silver, and Sweden the Bronze. That means all 4 Devils prospects that saw the ice in this year’s tournament earned a medal with Ty Smith and Kevin Bahl getting Gold Medals, Daniil Misyul a Silver Medal, and Nikola Pasic a Bronze Medal. Let’s take a look at how they performed over the past week where they each played one final group stage game before the playoffs.

Ty Smith had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +2, and a shot in 15:00 as Canada defeated the Czech Republic 7-2 in their final group stage game. Kevin Bahl was a -1 with 2 shots in 14:31 in that game. Canada would go on to play Slovakia in the Quarterfinals where they won 6-1. Smith was a +1 with 2 shots in 16:40 in that game while Bahl was a +2 in 14:42. Canada would then go on to play Finland in the Semifinals. They won 5-0 over Finland with Smith posting an even rating and 2 shots in 17:37 while Bahl was a +3 with 3 shots in 20:16. Canada would come from behind in a thrilling final with a 4-3 victory over Russia to capture Gold on Sunday. Smith was a -1 with 2 PIM in 17:08 while Bahl was a -1 with 4 PIM in 12:58. It was a bit of an up and down tournament for each defensemen but ultimately they were able to help their team clinch Gold.

Sweden wrapped up group play with a 6-2 win over Slovakia on New Year’s Eve. Nikola Pasic had an even rating, 2 shots, and won both of his faceoffs in 15:15. They would defeat the Czech Republic 5-0 in the Quarterfinals with Pasic having an even rating, 3 shots, and 2 faceoffs losses in 16:28. Sweden fell to Russia in overtime 5-4 in the Semifinals with Pasic having an even rating, a shot, and one lost faceoff in 12:44. They rebounded to capture Bronze over the Finns on Sunday in a 3-2 victory where Pasic had an even rating, a shot, and won 3/6 faceoffs in 11:51. Unfortunately, Pasic wasn’t able to make much of a mark at the WJC from an offensive perspective. I look forward to seeing what he does the rest of the season in club play.

Russia defeated Germany 6-1 in their final group stage game on New Year’s Eve. Daniil Misyul was a +2 with a shot in 15:22. He then had an even rating and 3 shots in 16:40 in Russia’s Quarterfinal win over Switzerland. In their Semifinal win over Sweden, Misyul was a +1 with a shot in 16:35. In the Championship loss to Canada he had an even rating and a shot in 14:58. I thought Misyul did a fine job in his limited role for Russia. He moves well and isn’t afraid to move the puck. Hopefully his development keeps going well in the 2nd half of this season.

Akira Schmid didn’t see the ice for Switzerland in this year’s tournament. The Swiss ended up finishing in 5th place. Schmid will be on the move in the USHL, more on that a bit later.

QMJHL

Xavier Bernard had an assist, +2, 2 PIM, and 6 shots over 3 games last week. The assist was his first point as a member for the Sherbrooke Phoenix since joining the team a few weeks ago. Sherbrooke is currently 1st in the Western Conference (and league) with 62 points after 39 games.

OHL

Mitchell Hoelscher had a great week for Ottawa with 2 goals, 4 assists, +7, 12 shots, and a 63.16 FO% across 3 games. All of those points came at even strength with all but 2 of the assists being primary. His 41 points in 35 games has already exceeded his production from last season where he had 40 points in 68 games. Ottawa currently sits 1st in the Eastern Conference (and league) with 58 points after 35 games.

Nikita Okhotyuk had 2 assists, +7, and 14 shots across 3 games last week for Ottawa. Okhotyuk has 3 assists, +12, and 19 shots in his 5 games since returning from injury.

Graeme Clarke is out long term following left shoulder surgery.

Michael Vukojevic had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), an even rating, 8 PIM, and 6 shots in 4 games for Kitchener. On Saturday, the team website posted this article about Vukojevic where he talks about his personality, playing under assistant coach Dennis Wideman, and his draft experience. Here is a small bit from the article:

He mostly credits assistant coach Dennis Wideman for helping him grow into the player he is today.

“Dennis is awesome. He played in the NHL for over a decade and 800 games, so I’m constantly picking his brain and asking questions about the next level and how to improve parts of my game so I stay there too,” he said.

Kitchener is currently 4th in the Western Conference with 49 points after 38 games.

WHL

Now that he has captured a Gold Medal at the WJC, Ty Smith is set to return to Spokane. The Chiefs are currently 3rd in the US Division of the Western Conference with 45 points after 37 games.

NCAA

Reilly Walsh was a -2 with 4 shots across 2 games last weekend. Harvard started out the season 6-0-0 but now has gone 1-5-2 over their past 8 games.

Matt Hellickson had a goal, +2, and 2 shots across 2 games last weekend.

Aarne Talvitie missed both of Penn State’s games this past weekend to attend to a family matter in Finland.

Tyce Thompson had a goal, 2 assists, +2, 3 shots, and won 40.74% of his faceoffs across 2 games last weekend. He is currently 2nd in goals (15) and 2nd in points (31) in the NCAA. Here is his latest goal from Providence’s game against Cornell:

Patrick Moynihan had 2 assists, +3, 2 shots, and won his only faceoff across 2 games last weekend.

Case McCarthy had an even rating and 2 shots in Boston University’s exhibition game against the USA U18 team on Friday.

USHL

On Friday, Akira Schmid was traded from the Omaha Lancers to Sioux City Musketeers. It turns out that the lower body injury that has disrupted his season is a knee injury as Corey Masisak reports in this post at The Athletic. Omaha is currently 4th in the Western Conference (top 6 make the playoffs) and made this trade to free up an import goaltender spot for Jakub Dobes who has filled in for successfully for Schmid while he’s been out injured and has passed over Kyle McClellan on the depth chart. Sioux City is currently in 7th place in the Western Conference, 3 points behind Des Moines for the final playoff spot. Sioux City also has a game in hand. Hopefully Schmid can return to the ice soon and help his new team get into the playoffs.

Cole Brady made 34 saves on 38 shots in a victory over Cedar Rapids on New Year’s Eve. He made 22 saves on 25 shots and stopped 2 of 3 attempts in a shootout loss to Sioux City on Saturday. Brady’s .901 SV% ranks 10th in the USHL among qualified goaltenders and 1st among rookies. Fargo is currently 2nd in the Western Conference with 34 points after 27 games.

Russia

KHL

MHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an even rating, 2 PIM, 4 shots, and averaged 15:26 across 2 games last week. Dynamo Moscow is currently 3rd in the Western Conference with 60 points after 45 games.

Daniil Misyl helped Russia capture Silver at the WJC. He is set to return to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl who is currently in 6th place in the Western Conference with 53 points after 45 games.

Arseni Gritsyuk had a goal, 2 assists, even rating, 8 shots, and averaged 16:10 across 2 games last week. Omskie Yastreby is currently 2nd in the MHL Eastern Conference with 67 points after 44 games.

Finland & Sweden

Eetu Pakkila had a goal, even rating, 3 shots, and averaged 11:52 across 2 games last week. Ilves are currently 4th in Liiga with 69 points after 36 games.

Nikola Pasic helped Sweden capture Bronze at the WJC. Now he will return to BIK Karlskoga who is currently 3rd in the Allsvenskan with 70 points after 34 games.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? How do you feel about the performances of the Devils prospects involved in the WJC? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!