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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/26/21

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A busy week of action saw Dawson Mercer, Aarne Talvitie, Artem Shlaine, Alexander Holtz, and Benajamin Baumgartner put up strong performances. Case McCarthy also made his season debut for Boston University.

Lausanne HC v HC Davos - Ice Hockey National League
Benjamin Baumgartner rewarded HC Davos for increasing his ice time as he put up a 3 assist performance against SCL Tigers last Friday.
Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images

The 16th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update is here! There is a lot to highlight as Dawson Mercer made his impact felt in his first QMJHL action in months. Aarne Talvitie and Artem Shlaine excelled in NCAA play. Alexander Holtz returned from injury and immediately started to put up assists in Sweden. Benjamin Baumgartner broke out of his slump with a strong performance in Switzerland. Case McCarthy also made his season debut for Boston University. Let’s take a look at how each prospect performed over the past week.

QMJHL

Dawson Mercer and Chicoutimi are finally back in action in the QMJHL. Mercer had a goal, assist, even rating, 8 shots, and won 69.64% of his faceoffs across 2 games. 6 of his 8 shots were deemed “dangerous shots” by the QMJHL so he was getting quality looks on goal. Chicoutimi won both of their games by shootout and Mercer scored in both of his attempts. There were some trade rumors surrounding Mercer leading up to yesterday’s deadline, but as Kevin Dube reported, Chicoutimi opted to be a buyer rather than a seller. Check out his most recent goal below:

OHL

As expected, with the OHL season in doubt, Michael Vukojevic will be joining the Binghamton Devils. Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record had the scoop. I like this move for Vukojevic as he needs to get game time and it will be a nice introduction to pro hockey for him.

NCAA

Matt Hellickson had a goal, -3, and 4 shots as Notre Dame lost twice to Michigan last week. The goal in Thursday’s game snapped a 9 game point drought.

Aarne Talvitie had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), an assist, an even rating, 5 shots, and won 39.58% of his faceoffs as Penn State split a series with Wisconsin last week. All of his points came in Penn State’s 5-4 victory on Friday. He’s improved his production lately, after starting the season with just 3 goals and 2 assists over his opening 10 games, he now has 4 goals and 4 assists over his last 6 games. Check out his most recent goals and assist below:

Tyce Thompson was a +1 with 7 shots and won 52.00% of his faceoffs as Providence tied both games against UMass last weekend. It was a low scoring series with Friday’s game finishing 0-0 (Providence won the shootout 1-0) and Saturday’s game finishing 1-1 (UMass won the shootout 1-0). Thompson was unable to convert on his shootout attempts in both games.

Patrick Moynihan returned to the line up after missing a couple of games and is back on Thompson’s wing. Moynihan had a goal, +1, 2 PIM, 7 shots, and lost his only faceoff attempt across both games. He missed in his only shootout attempt in Friday’s game.

Case McCarthy finally made his season debut for Boston University as they beat Maine twice last weekend. McCarthy was a +1 with 6 PIM and 4 shots across both games. He was listed as the extra defenseman in both games so that will be something to keep an eye on.

Artem Shlaine continues to settle in nicely as UConn’s 2nd line center. He had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), -2, 6 shots, and won 70.00% of his faceoffs as UConn was unable to defeat Boston College in either game last weekend. Shlaine only had one assist over his first 10 games but now has 4 assists over his last 3 games.

Cole Brady continues to be out due to illness. Arizona State had a disastrous week, losing Thursday’s game to Minnesota 10-0 and Friday’s game 10-2.

USHL

Ethan Edwards had an assist, +1, 17 PIM, and 5 shots across 3 games last week. The bulk of the penalty minutes came from his first career fighting major where he also earned a misconduct on the play. You can see the spirited scrap below:

Akira Schmid made 27 saves on 31 shots in a loss to Lincoln last Tuesday. He followed that up by making 22 saves on 24 shots in a loss to Waterloo on Friday.

Russia

KHL

VHL & MHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a -1 with 4 PIM and 4 shots while averaging 15:57 across 2 KHL games last week. The KHL season ends in about a month so I thought it would be a good idea to give a standings update. Dynamo Moscow is currently in 4th place in the Western Conference with 63 points after 49 games played. The top 8 teams in each conference will make the Gagarin Cup Playoffs and they are comfortably in the picture, 11 points ahead of 9th place Spartak Moscow.

Daniil Misyul had an assist, even rating, 2 PIM, a shot, and averaged 5:08 across 2 KHL games last week. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is in 3rd place in the Western Conference with 67 points after 49 games played.

Arseni Gritsyuk continues to be out with an injury sustained at the WJC. Avangard Omsk is in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with 66 points after 49 games played. They are 22 points ahead of 9th place Sibir Novosibirsk.

Nikita Popugayev had an assist, +1, 2 shots, and averaged 12:25 across 2 KHL games last week. He now has many points (3) with Neftekhimik as he did with Dynamo in 4 less games. His shots per game rate is up slightly (0.7 from 0.5) since the trade. He’s also averaging a minute more per game with Neftekhimik. Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points after 48 games played. They have already been eliminated from the playoffs and will finish their season on 2/27.

Shakir Mukhamadullin had an even rating and a shot while averaging 9:05 across 2 KHL games last week. Salavat Yulaev Ufa is 4th in the Eastern Conference with 63 points after 50 games played.

Finland

Liiga

Eetu Pakkila was a -2 with 4 shots and averaged 13:43 across 2 games last week. He’s struggled to produce consistently this season as he had a point over his first 4 games, then 7 points over his next 8 games, and now has just 2 points over his last 10 games.

Sweden

SHL & Allsvenskan

Nikola Pasic had an even rating and averaged 10:39 across 2 games last week. He seems to be playing a very disciplined game this season. Of the 18 U21 skaters that have played at least 30 games in the SHL, he is the only player to not have taken a penalty. Expanding that out to all ages, he is one of 6 skaters who have played at least 30 games to have not taken a penalty.

The SHL has Corsi, Fenwick, and PDO stats available on their site. Among the 12 forwards on Linkoping that have played at least 20 games, Pasic’s 46.88 CF% ranks 8th. His PDO is 95.89 though it’s worth noting that only 2 of the forwards have PDO’s above 100 (just barely) which isn’t too surprising considering they are the worst team in the SHL at the moment. The team is shooting at 9.26% at 5v5 with Pasic on the ice which is the 2nd highest on the team though they are only saving 86.63% of the 5v5 shots when he’s on the ice which is the 2nd lowest on the team. Seems like some of that could come to down to his defense while some of it could just come down to terrible team defense and goaltending.

Tomáš Zahorák of Dobber Prospects mentioned Pasic in his SHL Report a few days ago. Here is some of what he had to say about the prospect:

Pasic is a fast, dynamic winger who has mostly been playing in the middle-six throughout the campaign. The 20-year-old has seen some action on the second power play unit as well.

His biggest issue seems to be inconsistency. There are nights or moments during games when he is flying out there, forechecking opponents, carrying the puck deep into the offensive zone, and playing with a pinch of aggression. But there are also times when he looks kind of invisible for the majority of the contest.

Alexander Holtz made his presence felt when he returned from a back injury last week. He had 3 assists, an even rating, 6 shots, and averaged 15:42 across 3 games. His 16 points in 23 games so far equals last season’s point total when he put up 16 points in 35 games. He has passed last season’s assist total of 7 assists with 10 assists so far this season. Among U20 SHL players Holtz is tied for 2nd in scoring with Lucas Raymond but has played 6 less games. Holtz’s 0.70 points per game rate is tied for 1st with Moritz Seider. Holtz is a goal scorer but it has been nice to see his playmaking skills on display. Check out his most recent assists below:

In 2019-20, Holtz had a 50.24 CF% and normal PDO of 100.09. This season he has improved his possession metrics with a 53.80 CF%. Right now it seems he’s had some good fortune with a 103.24 PDO. In 2019-20 the team shot 9.55% at 5v5 with him on the ice while this season it is 12.40%.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League, Slovak Extraliga, Czech 1.liga, Deutsche Eishockey Liga

Benjamin Baumgartner had 3 assists, +4, 2 shots, won 45.45% of his faceoffs, and averaged 13:03 across 2 games last week. It’s encouraging to see his ice time go back up after a dip lately and that he rewarded the team with a 3 assist performance against SCL Tigers on Friday. He did miss Saturday’s game and I haven’t seen the reason for that yet. Hopefully he’s breaking out of his slump now. He’s tied for 6th on the team in scoring now with 17 points in 28 games. He’s still 2nd among U21 players in the Swiss NL in scoring.

It appears that Jaromir Pytlik is still out with the injury he sustained at the WJC.

Nico Daws didn’t play in any of ERC Ingolstadt’s 3 games last week. Right now he’s facing some tough competition as Michael Garteig is off to a 5-3 start with a 1.79 GAA and .935 SV%. Last week, Garteig went 2-1 making 92 saves on 96 shots (.958 SV%). They play on Thursday and Sunday this week so it could be hard for Daws to get into the line up.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this past week? What do you think about the productive weeks that Dawson Mercer, Aarne Talvitie, Artem Shlaine, Alexander Holtz, and Benjamin Baumgartner had? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!