The 22nd week of the 2019-20 New Jersey Devils prospect update features amazing performances by Xavier Bernard and Ty Smith in the CHL, Graeme Clarke return to action in the OHL, and Cole Brady continue his fine form in the USHL. Let’s check out how each prospect performed over the past week.
Xavier Bernard has continued to excel since joining Sherbrooke. Last week he had a goal, 5 assists, +8, and 3 shots across 3 games. His game on Saturday against Val-d’Or was most notable as he had a goal, 4 assists, +5, and 3 shots in that game alone which would equal a franchise record for most points in a game by a Sherbrooke defenseman. These strong performances would earn him Player of the Week honors. Playing on a stacked team has aided his numbers but he has been able to fit in seamlessly. He started the season with 4 goals, 8 assists, -3, 52 PIM, and 64 shots in 33 games with Charlottetown. In 27 games with Sherbrooke he has a goal, 15 assists, +35, 18 PIM, and 52 shots.
Mitchell Hoelscher had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 EN), 3 assists (2 EV, 1 SH), +1, 6 PIM, 9 shots, and won 59.74% of his faceoffs across 4 games last week. The SH assist came on Nikita Okhotyuk’s overtime winning goal against Oshawa on Sunday and can be seen below. I also asked OHL Prospects guru Brock Otten about Hoelscher potentially earning an ELC and his response his below.
Some shorthanded @NJDevils starpower to solve things in overtime ✨— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 2, 2020
Mitchell Hoelscher feeds the puck to @russianhunter28 on a 2-on-1, and @Ottawa67sHockey wraps up their three-in-three with 6️⃣ points in the bag pic.twitter.com/lcOaNDrf0P
I think his playoff performance will be the big litmus test for them. 50/50 chance IMO. I'd sign him because I think his hockey sense in all three zones can play. But is he a strong enough skater and engaged enough physically to be a 3rd/4th line center? Tough call.— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) March 1, 2020
Nikita Okhotyuk had a SH goal, 3 assists, +5, 2 PIM, and 11 shots across 4 games last week. I noticed he partnered Kevin Bahl on Ottawa’s top pairing in Saturday’s victory over Barrie. I thought he displayed some solid skating and ability to successfully exit the zone with possession whether that was from skating it out himself or passing it to a teammate. He also liked to join the rush from time to time. You can see why the Devils liked him enough to sign him to an ELC earlier this season.
Graeme Clarke has finally made it back to the ice for the Ottawa 67’s after being sidelined following shoulder surgery in mid-October. He immediately made an impact with a goal, 3 assists (2 EV, 1 PP), +5, 4 PIM, and 12 shots across 4 games last week. You can see his goal in his first game back below.
Kevin Bahl had a PP assist, +4, 4 PIM, and 10 shots across 4 games last week. I didn’t think his game against Barrie on Saturday was one of his better ones given that he lost some puck battles he should’ve won and had a careless penalty. With that said, I can’t hold it against him given what he showcased in other performances.
Michael Vukojevic had 3 assists, +4, 4 PIM, and 2 shots across 2 games last week. Josh Brown of The Record reports that should an emergency goalie situation ever occur for Kitchener, then Vukojevic would be ready to strap on the pads and move into the crease.
Ty Smith had a record breaking week for Spokane. On Friday, he had 3 goals, 5 assists (4 EV, 2 PP), +6, and 6 shots against Seattle. That set a franchise record for the Spokane Chiefs for points by a defenseman in a single game. You can see the full game highlights here and his hat trick below. Smith followed that up with 2 goals, +1, and 6 shots against Tri-City on Saturday. Check out his pre and post WJC splits:
Pre-WJC: 21 GP 4-13-17, 6.56 SH%, 2.90 SH/GP, 0.81 Pts/GP
Post-WJC: 21 GP 13-22-35, 20.63 SH%, 3.00 SH/GP, 1.67 Pts/GP
David Trifunov of The Daily Courier reports that Nolan Foote may be out until mid-March. Foote has been with the Devils doctors in Newark as he works through a lower body injury. Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton said that they hope to have Foote back for the second last weekend of the season.
Reilly Walsh had a PP goal, PP assist, -1, 2 PIM, and 3 shots across 2 games last weekend for Harvard. You can see his latest goal below. Harvard is the #5 seed in the ECAC Tournament and will take on #12 St. Lawrence in the best-of-three, First Round series this weekend.
Matt Hellickson was a -3 with a shot as Notre Dame was winless in a weekend series against Michigan State. Notre Dame is the #4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will take on #4 Minnesota in the best-of-three, Quarterfinals series this weekend.
Aarne Talvitie and #8 Penn State had the weekend off as they had already completed their regular season. Penn State is the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and automatically advances to the Semifinals on March 14.
Tyce Thompson had a PP assist, even rating, 3 shots, and won 13/24 faceoffs in #18 Providence’s victory over #15 Maine on Saturday. These teams will wrap up their regular seasons with another game this Friday.
Patrick Moynihan had an even rating and 4 shots against Maine on Saturday.
Case McCarthy missed Boston University’s game against #4 Boston College on Saturday due to injury. He has now missed 2 consecutive games.
Akira Schmid didn’t play in either of Sioux City’s games this past weekend. He now hasn’t made an appearance in 6 consecutive games and hasn’t dressed in 4 straight games.
Cole Brady made 28 saves on 33 shots in an overtime loss to Muskegon on Friday. He recovered by making 41 saves on 42 shots in a victory over Muskegon on Saturday. Brady has been on a nice run of form over his last 7 games (6 starts) with a 4-1-1-0 record, .928 SV%, 4 Quality Starts, and a Shutout. He is the only rookie qualified goaltender with a SV% above .900, at .904 which currently ranks 8th in the league.
Yegor Zaitsev had a goal, a PP assist, +1, 4 PIM, and 5 shots while averaging 18:36 across 2 games last week. He finished his season strong with 2 goals and 4 assists over his final 8 games. Dynamo Moscow finished as the #4 seed in the Western Conference and is taking on the #5 seed Spartak Moscow in the Quarterfinals. Dynamo jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a victory on Monday. Zaitsev was a +1 with 4 shots in 20:25 of that opening game.
Daniil Misyul remains out of the line up since suffering an injury on 2/3. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is the #6 seed in the Western Conference and is taking on #3 Jokerit. Jokerit is out to a 1-0 series lead.
Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 goals, 3 assists (1 EV, 2 PP), +4, 2 PIM, 26 shots, and averaged 20:04 per game across 4 games last week to finish his regular season. His team finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference and will find out who they will face in the playoffs soon. Dylan Griffing of Dobber Prospects has this scouting report on Gritsyuk where he praises his active stick defensively and his playmkaing abilities offensively. I suggest giving the full post a read.
Finland & Sweden
Eetu Pakkila had an even rating, 5 shots, and averaged 12:08 across 2 games last week. He has cooled off since his initial burst since returning to Liiga in December where he had 4 goals and 2 assists in 7 games while averaging 1.86 shots per game and 11:31 in ice time. Since that point he has a goal and 3 assists in 22 games while averaging 1.82 shots per game and 11:14 time on ice. At least his shots per game rate and ice time has remained consistent, hopefully he starts to get a few bounces his way.
Nikola Pasic had a goal, -2, a shot, won 3/5 faceoffs and averaged 10:37 across 2 games last week. He continues to lead U20 players in the Allsvenskan in scoring.
Which players stood out to you this week? What do you think of Ty Smith’s and Xavier Bernard’s strong performances? Are you concerned about Akira Schmid’s season? How do you feel about Arseni Gritsyuk’s season? Leave your comments below and thanks for reading!