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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 10/26/21

This week’s action is highlighted by strong performances from Luke Hughes, Arseni Gritsyuk, and Jakub Malek. Utica has also picked up two more wins to move to 3-0 on the season.

Kontinental Hockey League: CSKA Moscow 4 - 2 Avangard Omsk
Arseni Gritsyuk has 3 goals and 2 assists over his last 4 games in the KHL.
Photo by Mikhail Tereshchenko\TASS via Getty Images

The 2nd week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update is here. This week’s action featured standout performances from Chase Stillman, Luke Hughes, and Arseni Gritsyuk. Jakub Malek continued to be the best goaltender in the Czech 2nd division and even scored a goal! Utica moved to 3-0 on the season thanks to strong back-to-back performances from Akira Schmid as well as clutch goals from Aarne Talvitie and Nate Schnarr. Let’s check in on the prospects now.

OHL

Chase Stillman missed Sudbury’s 4-3 overtime loss to Sault Ste. Marie last Wednesday. He was back in the line up for Friday’s game against Hamilton and had a goal, 2 assists, +3, 2 shots, and won 2/3 faceoffs.

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan was a -3 with 5 shots across 2 games for Providence last weekend.

Case McCarthy returned to Boston University’s line up after missing the previous series. On Friday he was a -2 with 2 PIM as they lost 3-2 to Merrimack. On Saturday he had an assist, +4, and 2 PIM as they beat Merrimack 8-6.

Artem Shlaine and UConn were off last week. They resume their season today against Northeastern and then will play Dartmouth on Saturday.

Cole Brady had a start to forget on Friday against Colgate. He made just 22 saves on 28 shots in 39:37 as Arizona State lost 8-3.

Ethan Edwards was a -1 in Michigan’s 5-2 loss to Western Michigan on Friday. He didn’t play in Michigan’s 3-2 victory over Western Michigan on Saturday as he appears to be right in the middle of an open competition for the a spot on the 3rd pairing.

Luke Hughes continued show why he’s a highly regarded prospect. Across two games against Western Michigan last weekend, Hughes had a goal, 2 assists, +1, and 4 shots. He’s continued to play on the right side of the 2nd pairing for Michigan. Check out his his 2nd goal of the season and him pick up an assist after using some nice skating in transition below:

Russia

KHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an assist, +1, 2 PIM, 2 shots, and averaged 14:42 across 3 games for Dynamo last week.

Daniil Misyul was a -1 in 16:16 in Lokomotiv’s 3-1 loss to Admiral last Tuesday. He had an even rating but played just 6:35 in a victory over Barys last Friday.

Arseni Gritsyuk has extended his point streak to 4 games after producing in all 3 games he played in last week. Over those games, Gritsyuk had 2 goals, an assist, +3, 5 shots, and averaged 12:43 per game. He’s been playing with former New Jersey Devil, Vladimir Zharkov, and so far it has brought success. Gritsyuk currently has the 2nd highest points per game rate (0.59) of all U21 players in the KHL. Check out his two latest goals below:

Shakir Mukhamadullin had a PP assist, +1, 7 shots, and averaged 14:06 across 3 games last week. His 6 points currently leads all U21 defensemen in the KHL.

Zakhar Bardakov still isn’t playing for SKA or for their VHL team. Hopefully he can find a way to get some ice time somewhere since he’s only played 14:16 this season and hasn’t played since 9/27.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila had an assist, +2, 7 shots, and averaged 17:40 across 2 games last week.

Jaromir Pytlik had a goal, -1, 11 shots, and averaged 12:50 across 2 games last week as he continues his loan with IPK in Mestis.

Topias Vilen was a +1 with 3 shots and averaged 10:39 across 2 games last week.

Samu Salminen had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), +1, won 16/26 faceoffs (61.54%), and played 21:35 in Jokerit U20’s only game last week.

Sweden

SHL & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic made his return to the Linköping HC line up after missing 7 games due to injury. In his first game back since 9/30, Pasic had an even rating and played 11:04 as the 3rd line right wing.

Viktor Hurtig had a goal, assist, +1, and 3 shots across 2 games last week.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League & Czech 1.liga

Benjamin Baumgartner had an assist, even rating, and 2 shots in 7:42 against HC Ambri-Piotta last Tuesday. Unfortunately, he suffered a lower body injury and missed the next two games. He did manage to skate in training yesterday and could be back for today’s game.

Jakub Malek had himself quite the week. Last Wednesday he made 29 saves on 30 shots and also scored a goal in a victory over AZ Havirov. Yesterday, he made 25 saves on 27 shots in a victory over HC Benatky nad Jizerou. His .935 SV% continues to lead the league. Check out his goal below!

AHL

Friday 10/22: The Utica Comets picked up their second win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Providence Bruins in overtime. Oskar Steen opened the scoring about midway through the 2nd period to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The goal came after the Comets failed to clear the zone and no one covered Steen in front of the crease after Jeremy Groleau and Nikita Okhotiuk went behind the net to defend. Brian Flynn got the Comets on the board with a goal just 24 seconds into the 3rd period after deflecting a shot from Kevin Bahl past the Bruins goaltender. Utica nearly went ahead with 2:30 left in the game but a quick whistle took away a goal from Joe Gambardella. Jesper Boqvist also had a breakway with about 30 seconds left in the game but was unable to get the shot on goal. Aarne Talvitie picked up the game winning goal just over 4 minutes into an eventful overtime. Tyler Wotherspoon and Reilly Walsh earned assists on that goal. Akira Schmid earned the win in his AHL debut by making 25 saves on 26 shots in 64:01. The top line of Tyce Thompson (1 shot), Chase De Leo (4 shots), and Alexander Holtz (6 shots) were held off the scoresheet but made their presence known in Providence’s zone. I also thought the Fabian Zetterlund (1 shot), Talvitie (3 shots), and Flynn (2 shots) line was really active. Utica went 0/1 on the PP and 3/3 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Lineup:

Thompson-De Leo-Holtz

Foote-Boqvist-Clarke

Zetterlund-Talvitie-Flynn

Gambardella-Schmelzer-Greer

Bahl-Russo

Wotherspoon-Walsh

Groleau-Okhotiuk

Schmid

Mitens

PP1: Foote, Zetterlund, Clarke, Holtz, Walsh

PP2: Flynn, De Leo, Gambardella, Boqvist, Russo

PK1: Gambardella, Schmelzer, Bahl, Russo

PK2: Zetterlund, Talvitie, Okhotiuk, Groleau

Saturday 10/23: The Utica Comets kept their winning streak alive with a 2-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch. Gage Goncalves got Syracuse on the board early in the 1st period when he tipped a puck past Akira Schmid. Alexander Holtz equalized midway through the game with a great shot past the Crunch goaltender. The goal occured after Schmid made a great save and then Jesper Boqvist chased a loose puck down the ice to set up Holtz. With under a minute to go in the period, Nate Schnarr made his season debut count by intercepting a clearing attempt, getting the puck to Chase De Leo, and then driving the net to get his goal. He was in the line up in Graeme Clarke’s place. Schnarr and De Leo were very active with 5 shots each. Schmid made 32 saves on 33 shots. Utica went 0/2 on the PP and 4/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Lineup:

Foote-Boqvist-Holtz

Zetterlund-Talvitie-Flynn

Thompson-De Leo-Schnarr

Gambardella-Schmelzer-Greer

Bahl-Russo

Groleau-Okhotiuk

Wotherspoon-Walsh

Schmid

Mitens

Coming Up: Next week Utica only has one game on the schedule. They’ll host Lehigh Valley on Friday at 7:00 PM ET.

ECHL

Adirondack lost their opening game 3-2 to Newfoundland last Saturday. Defenseman Michael Vukojevic was sent down for this game and was a -1 with a shot in his season debut. He’s since been called back up to Utica. Adirondack has 2 games this week, on Wednesday against Worcester and on Saturday against Reading.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? What do you think of Gritsyuk’s season so far? How about Malek’s strong play and goal? What about how Holtz is playing for Utica? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!