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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 10/19/21

The first prospect update of the 2021-22 season is here! This post will introduce the prospects we are following this season and take a look at how they are doing so far this year.

2021 NHL Draft - Round One
Luke Hughes is off to a real promising start with the University of Michigan.
Photo by Andrew MacLean/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the first week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! All of the players are already in action with the European based players furthest along. This post will introduce all of the prospects and leagues and provide an update to how they have started the season. It will also include updated NHL Equivalency (NHLe) numbers as provided by Patrick Bacon of Top Down Hockey. Now let’s check in on each prospect.

OHL

Chase Stillman is off to a strong start as Sudbury’s top line right wing. Through the opening 6 games he has 3 goals, 3 assists, and is averaging 2.5 shots per game. 5 of his 6 points are primary and half of his points have come on the power play. In his most recent game, he showcased his ability to handle himself in a fight. Check out the pair of assists he had against against North Bay on 10/11:

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan has started off his junior season as the top line right wing for Providence. He started off strong with a goal and an assist in the opening game against Army back on 10/2. He was held off the scoresheet the next 3 games but then scored in his most recent game against Minnesota Duluth. Check out that goal below:

Case McCarthy opened his junior season as a top 4 defenseman for Boston University. He had a PP assist and 2 shots in the opening game victory over UConn on 10/8. The second game didn’t go as well as he was a -4 with a shot in a loss to UConn. McCarthy wasn’t in the line up for either game against Sacred Heart last weekend.

Artem Shlaine has continued to center either of the top 2 lines for UConn. So far he hasn’t up any points as a sophomore but is averaging 2.40 shots per game and has won 56.79% of his faceoffs. Shlaine had a goal and 8 assists in 23 games last season so hopefully he’ll be able to improve on that this season.

Cole Brady has had a very busy start to his sophomore season for Arizona State. He made 31 saves on 38 shots in 34:55 in a loss to Denver on 10/8. The following night he made 37 saves on 41 shots in a loss to Denver. This past weekend, Brady turned things around against New Hampshire. He made 34 saves on 35 shots in a victory on Friday. The following night he made 40 saves on 41 shots in a victory.

Ethan Edwards has started his freshman season with Michigan on the left side of the 3rd defense pairing. He has played in 3 of their 4 games with an even rating, 2 PIM, and 2 shots.

As expected, Luke Hughes is off to a great start as a freshman for Michigan. He’s playing on the right side of the 2nd defense pairing and has a point in all 4 games. Overall, he has a goal, 3 assists, +8, and 6 shots. All of his points have been primary and split evenly between even strength and the power play. Check out his first goal for Michigan below:

Russia

KHL

Yegor Zaitsev has a goal, 4 assists, +6, 10 PIM, and 15 shots through 15 games. All of his points have came at even strength. His average ice time of 16:16 is a slight increase from last year’s. You can check out his goal below:

Daniil Misyul has 2 assists, an even rating, 8 PIM, and 12 shots through 15 games. Both of those assists came over the first 2 games of the season. His average ice time of 14:56 is well above the 9:57 that he averaged last season.

Arseni Gritsyuk is already enjoying a more productive second season in the KHL. Last season, as a rookie, Gritsyuk had a goal, assist, 10 shots, and averaged 7:13 per game. So far this season, he has 3 goals, 4 assists, 28 shots, and is averaging 11:18 per game. Right now he is 8th on Avangard Omsk in scoring and has been playing mostly on the 2nd/3rd lines. I think he has some real potential so I’m excited to see if he can breakout this season. Check out his most recent goal from yesterday’s game against HC Sochi:

Shakir Mukhamadullin is off to another solid start in the KHL. So far this season he has 3 goals, 2 assists, +1, 12 PIM, 31 shots, and is averaging 16:05 per game. He’s already tied his goal total and halved his point total from last season in 20 less games. His average ice time is up just over 3 minutes per game this season compared to last. Check out this powerful goal he scored on the power play earlier this season:

Zakhar Bardakov was traded to SKA Saint Petersburg this summer after a promising rookie season with HC Vityaz last season. Unfortunately, he has hardly played at all this season. Across 2 games, both weeks apart in September, he has played a total of 14:16. The addition of Nikita Gusev to SKA will only further complicate an already crowded roster. At this point, I hope Bardakov can go on loan to to SKA-Neva in the VHL (2nd tier) so he can continue to play against professionals. With his contract set to expire after this season, perhaps SKA would look to move him to another KHL team. Either way, I think we’ll hear some news on him soon.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila is entering his 3rd season in Liiga, the Finnish top division. So far he has just a goal, an assist, 17 shots, and is averaging 13:37 through 10 games. The Devils hold his rights until June 1, 2022 so he’ll need to perform well to earn a contract with the organization. Hopefully he can pick it up as the season progresses.

Jaromir Pytlik started his 1st season in Finland with KalPa in Liiga. He played sparingly through 3 games and then went on loan to IPK in Mestis, the 2nd division. He’s off to a solid start with 2 goals, an assist, 25 shots, and average ice time of 17:37 per game through 5 games. Check out his first goal for IPK below:

Topias Vilen is entering his 2nd season in Liiga. So far he has an assist, -1, 4 PIM, 15 shots, and is averaging 12:32 per game through 11 games. He’s mainly played in a 3rd pairing role for Pelicans.

As expected, Samu Salminen has been to the captain and top line center for Jokerit U20 in the top Finnish junior league. So far he has 8 goals, 7 assists, +2, and 2 PIM through 13 games. He is averaging 5.31 shots per game and 18:34 in ice time per game. He’s won 59.29% of his faceoffs. All but 2 of his points are primary and he has a 7/5 EV/PP points split. He should be a top player in this league this season. After this season he’ll move on to the University of Denver for NCAA hockey.

Sweden

SHL & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic has had a rough start to his season. He played in Linköping’s opening 5 games where he had no points, 5 shots, and averaged 10:38 per game. Unfortunately, he has missed the last 6 games due to injury. Hopefully he can get healthy and back on track soon.

Viktor Hurtig is off to a solid start in his first season in the Växjö Lakers system. He’s playing for their U20 team in Sweden’s top junior league. So far he has a goal, 5 assists, +2, 4 PIM, and 19 shots. 4 of those points are primary and all of his points are split evenly between even strength and the power play.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League & Czech 1.liga

Benjamin Baumgartner has had a rough start to his 1st season with Lausanne HC. In 13 games he has just one assist, -5, 2 PIM, 20 shots, and is averaging 14:28 per game. This is well off the pace he set with HC Davos the prior 2 season when he had a 0.49 points per game rate in 2019-20 and 0.47 points per game rate in 2020-21. He started out playing in the top 6 but has since fallen down to the bottom 6. The NL tracks ice time across all game states so we know Baumgartner is averaging 12:41 at even strength, 1:20 on the power play, and 0:25 on the penalty kill. Hopefully he can find his game soon and get back to producing like he’s shown in the past.

Jakub Malek is off to a strong start in the Czech 1.liga (Czech 2nd division) as his .933 SV% leads the league. He’s turned in 7 Quality Starts and has only had 2 Really Bad Starts. It’s good to see him performing this well against professionals at his age.

AHL

Please note for the stats above, I’m focusing more on the prospects. I’ll still include other players in this section, but for the sake of keeping the stat table organized, it will only include prospects.

Utica opened their season with an exciting 6-2 victory over Rochester. Alexander Holtz led the way with two goals, the first a skillful goal towards the end of the 1st period, the second a blast on the power play early in the 2nd period. Other goal scorers included Nikita Okhotiuk, Ryan Schmelzer, Aarne Talvitie, and Brian Flynn. Reilly Walsh had 3 assists followed by Fabian Zetterlund and Tyce Thompson with 2 assists each. Nico Daws settled down after a couple of early goals and finished with 25 saves on 27 shots to pick up his first AHL victory. You can check out the gamesheet here. Below are the highlights, lines, pairings, and special teams units:

Lineup:

Greer-DeLeo-Holtz

Foote-Boqvist-Clarke

Zetterlund-Talvitie-Flynn

Gambardella-Schmelzer-Thompson

Groleau-Okhotiuk

Bahl-Russo

Wotherspoon-Walsh

Daws

Schmid

PP1: Foote, Clarke, Zetterlund, Holtz, Walsh

PP2: DeLeo, Flynn, Boqvist, Gambardella, Russo

PK1: Schmelzer, Thompson, Bahl, Wotherspoon

PK2: Zetterlund, Talvitie, Groleau, Okhotiuk (Greer and DeLeo also appeared)

ECHL

Once again the Adirondack Thunder will serve as the ECHL affiliate for the New Jersey Devils. Currently, players with Adirondack from Utica include forwards Tyler Irvine, Samuel Laberge, Jordan Kaplan, Patrick Grasso as well as defenseman Joe Masonius and goaltender Mareks Mitens. Adirondack’s season begins on Saturday when they take on the Newfoundland Growlers.

Your Take

Which prospects are you most excited about following this season? Which players do you have high expectations for? What type of season do you think Utica will have? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!