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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/5/21

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This week’s prospect action saw the WJC Playoff Round begin, Dawson Mercer (Canada) and Patrick Moynihan (USA) advance to the Gold Medal game, and plenty of other collegiate and European prospects in play.

United States v Austria: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship
Patrick Moynihan made it back in time from an injury to play in the United States thrilling semifinal victory over Finland. They will take on Dawson Mercer and Canada for WJC Gold tonight.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Welcome and Happy New Year! This is the 13th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update. It’s highlighted by a ton of WJC action that saw Dawson Mercer and Canada make it to the WJC Gold Medal match where they will play Patrick Moynihan and the USA. Arseni Gritsyuk and Shakir Mukhamadullin will play for Russia in the Bronze Medal match where they will take on Finland. Alexander Holtz had a frustrating tournament and saw his Sweden side eliminated early. Elsewhere, there was plenty of action from the college and European based prospects, including Nico Daws’ first start in the DEL, so let’s jump in and see how each prospect performed over the past week.

2021 World Junior Championship

Before getting into the WJC, I want to once again give a big thanks to Mikael Nahabedian (@hunterofstats) for tracking Zone Exit/Entry data. I’ve included those stats below for the Devils prospects.

Dawson Mercer had an even rating, 5 shots, won 3/6 faceoffs, and averaged 14:42 across Canada’s final 2 group games. 3 of his 10 Zone Exits were with control and 6 of his 13 Zone Entries were with control across those games. Mercer had an even rating, 2 shots, and won 2/3 faceoffs while playing 12:03 in Canada’s Quarterfinal victory over the Czech Republic. He went 0/2 in Zone Exits with control and 0/2 Zone Entries with control in that game. In the Semifinal victory over Russia, he had an assist, +1, a shot, and won his only faceoff in 12:39. He went 2/3 in Zone Exits with control and 3/9 in Zone Entries with control. Canada will take on the United States in the Gold Medal game tonight. You can see that game at 9:30 PM ET on the NHL Network. Check out his assist from the game against Russia below. Just prior to the goal he made a great play to stop Shakir Mukhamadullin getting a shot off and it forced a turnover that Canada took the other way.

Patrick Moynihan had an even rating and played 8:17 in a group game against the Czech Republic last Tuesday. He went 1/2 in Zone Exits with control and 1/4 in Zone Entries with control. That was after he suffered a hit to the head against Austria a few days earlier. He ended up missing a few games but returned for the Semifinal victory over Finland. In that game he was a +1 in 6:07. He went 1/2 in Zone Exits with control and 1/2 in Zone Entries with control.

Arseni Gritsyuk had a goal, 2 assists, +2, and 5 shots while averaging 15:10 across Russia’s last 2 group games. He went 6/9 in his Zone Exits with control and 5/9 in his Zone Entries with control across those 2 games. Gritsyuk had an assist and +1 in 9:37 in the Quarterfinal victory over Germany. He went 3/3 in Zone Exits with control and 2/3 in Zone Entries with control in that game. He had an even rating and 5 shots in 10:38 in the Semifinal loss to Canada. He went 1/3 in Zone Exits and 0/6 in Zone Entries with control in that game. Check out his goal and one of his assists below:

Shakir Mukhamadullin was a -1 with 3 shots while averaging 20:03 across Russia’s last 2 group games. He went 6/12 in Zone Exits with control and didn’t attempt a Zone Entry across those games. He was a +1 with 2 shots in 19:54 in the Quarterfinal victory over Germany. He went 4/6 in Zone Exits with control and 0/2 in Zone Entries with control in that game. Mukhamadullin was a -1 with 3 shots in 22:54 in the Semifinal loss to Canada yesterday. He went 3/7 in Zone Exits with control and 1/1 in Zone Entries with control. Russia will take on Finland in the Bronze Medal game tonight at 5:30 PM ET on NHL Network.

Alexander Holtz had a goal, assist, even rating, 4 PIM, 8 shots, and won 5/11 faceoffs while averaging 20:09 across Sweden’s final 2 group games. 5 of his 14 Zone Exit attempts were with control while 5 of his 11 Zone Entry attempts were with control across those games. Both of his points came in the loss to Russia which snapped Sweden’s 54 game winning streak in the WJC group stage stretching back to 2006. You can see his goal below, it’s not the prettiest but good on him to stay with the play and find a way to score:

Holtz was a -1 with 5 shots in 17:38 in a Quarterfinal loss to Finland on Friday. 0 of his 4 Zone Exits were with control while 0 of his 2 Zone Entries were with control. It was a disappointing tournament for Holtz by the high standards he has set, but it is worth noting that he averaged 5.20 shots per game and shot a low 3.85%. With a little more puck luck his goal production would’ve looked more in line with expectations. 51.72% of his Zone Entries were with control in the tournament. This tournament, while tough for him, will be another great experience for his development and give him something to build on the rest of the season.

Jaromir Pytlik’s WJC ended up ending after suffering an injury in the Czech Republic’s opening game on 12/26. It will be interesting to see if he returns to HC Stadion Litomerice where he was on loan prior to the tournament.

QMJHL

OHL

There hasn’t been any news about when the OHL will be able to start playing. Frank Seravalli of TSN did note that CHL players could be allowed to play in the AHL this season. This could affect prospects such as Dawson Mercer, Graeme Clarke, Michael Vukojevic, Jaromir Pytlik, and Nico Daws. Clarke and Pytlik are playing on loan in Europe while Daws signed a normal deal with ERC Ingolstadt.

NCAA

Matt Hellickson and Notre Dame had the week off. They resume their season when they take on Arizona State this weekend.

Aarne Talvitie had an even rating, 4 shots, and won 31.25% of his faceoffs across 2 games against Michigan State last weekend.

Tyce Thompson had a goal, +1, 8 shots, and won 1/2 faceoffs across 2 games against Vermont last weekend. Check out his goal below:

Case McCarthy and Boston University will start their season on Friday against Providence.

Artem Shlaine was a +1 with 8 shots and won 63.16% of his faceoffs across 2 games against New Hampshire last weekend.

Cole Brady made 12 saves on 15 shots and was pulled after 32:38 in an eventual loss to Minnesota yesterday. He wasn’t the goaltender of record so this didn’t affect his record.

USHL

Ethan Edwards had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +4, 6 PIM, and 6 shots across 3 games last week.

Akira Schmid picked up his 2nd win of the season on Saturday, in a 3-1 victory over his old team, the Omaha Lancers, as he made 16 saves on 17 shots.

Russia

KHL

VHL & MHL

Yegor Zaitsev had a PP assist, +3, 4 shots, and an average ice time of 15:48 across 2 KHL games last week.

Daniil Misyul had an assist, +1, and a shot while playing 13:38 in his only KHL game last week.

Nikita Popugayev had 2 assists, +1, and a shot while averaging 10:44 across 2 KHL games last week. Through 4 games with Neftekhimik, Popugaev is averaging 12:00 per game which is 1:19 more than he was averaging through 13 games with Dynamo Moscow.

Finland

Liiga

Eetu Pakkila was a -1 with a shot in 9:37 of time in his only game last week.

Sweden

SHL & Allsvenskan

Nikola Pasic had a bit of a tough week. He had no points, was a -6, and had a shot while averaging 13:55 across 3 games. He hasn’t had a goal in his last 12 games and has gone 5 games without a point. He’s averaging less than half a shot per game over his last 11 games despite averaging over 15 minutes of ice time per game during that stretch. Hopefully he breaks out of his slump soon though it is worth noting that Linkoping is one of the worst teams in the SHL.

Fabian Zetterlund had a PP assist, -2, 2 PIM, and a shot while averaging 18:02 across 2 games last week.

The Rest of Europe

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

Benjamin Baumgartner was a -1 with 3 shots and won 3/3 faceoffs while averaging 11:39 across 2 games last week. He played 15:22 in the first game of the week but saw his ice time drop to 7:56 in the next game. He has struggled to produce consistently this season with 7 points in his first 8 games and then 4 points in his last 10 games. 3 of those points all came in the same game while the other point was in the game right after that. He has no points over his last 5 games. Despite all of that, he is 2nd in scoring among U21 players with 13 points in 21 games.

Marian Studenic had an even rating, 6 PIM, 2 shots, and averaged 13:47 across 2 games last week.

Graeme Clarke had an even rating, 2 PIM, and 4 shots while averaging 11:16 across 2 games last week.

Nico Daws made 23 saves on 25 shots in his first start for ERC Ingolstadt in the DEL on Saturday. His team lost the game but at least he picked up a Quality Start for his efforts.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? What are your thoughts on the WJC and how the Devils prospects have performed? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!