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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 11/23/21

This week’s update features the Utica Comets setting an AHL record for the best start to a season, Patrick Moynihan get his goal scoring touch back, and Zakhar Bardakov finally make his move to the VHL.

New Jersey Devils Headshots
Nate Schnarr has become a key part of the Utica Comets early season success with 4 goals and 7 assists in 11 games.
Photo by Andrew Maclean/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the 6th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week’s action saw the Utica Comets set an AHL record for the longest winning streak to begin a season. It also saw Patrick Moynihan get back on track for Providence, Arseni Gritsyuk continue to be one of the best young players in the KHL, and Zakhar Bardakov finally get game time with SKA-Neva in the VHL. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

OHL

Chase Stillman seems to have hit a bit of a rough patch lately. In 3 games last week, he had no points, was a -5, had 7 shots, and won 2/12 faceoffs (16.66%). He now has gone 5 games without a point following a strong start to the season where he had 13 points in 11 games. Sudbury is currently 8th in the 10 team Eastern Conference with a 7-11-1-0 record.

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan seems to be finding his game now. Last weekend he had 3 goals (all PP), was a +1, with 4 PIM, and 6 shots as Providence beat Vermont twice. Moynihan now has 3 goals and an assist over his last 3 games played with all of the points coming on the PP. Check out his recent PP goals below:

Case McCarthy had an even rating and 4 shots as Boston University lost one game and tied another one last weekend against Northeastern.

Artem Shlaine had an even rating, 2 shots, and won 16/30 faceoffs (53.33%) as UConn split a series with UMass Lowell last weekend.

Cole Brady and Arizona State had last week off. They resume their season this week with a pair of games against Bemidji State.

Ethan Edwards was a -1 in Michigan’s 3-2 overtime loss to Notre Dame last Friday.

Luke Hughes was a -4 with 4 shots across both of Michigan’s losses to Notre Dame last weekend. Though he didn’t have any points, you can check out a nice highlight of him moving the puck through the center of the ice and a big hit he had on Ryder Rolston (Brian’s son) below:

Russia

KHL & VHL

Yegor Zaitsev had a +1, 6 PIM, 4 shots, and averaged 16:53 across 3 games last week.

Daniil Misyul had a +1, a shot, and averaged 10:35 across 3 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk had a goal (EN), assist, +1, 8 shots, and averaged 17:35 across 3 games last week. Gritsyuk recently earned honors for being one of the KHL Best Players of Week 11, winning the rookie category. He continues to lead U21 players in the KHL in points per game (0.65). Here’s his empty net goal from this past week:

Shakir Mukhamadullin had a -1, 2 shots, and averaged 15:55 across 3 games last week. KHL Talk on twitter noted that HC Salavat Sport Director Vasily Chizhov has been negotiating an extension with Mukhamadullin. KHL Talk also notes that it would have to be at least a 2 year extension due to KHL rules and Mukhamadullin being a RFA. Corey Masisak of The Athletic had this perspective through a source in the organization:

Mukhamadullin turns 20 years old on January 10, 2022 so there is plenty of time to let him continue his development in Russia for a few more seasons.

Zakhar Bardakov is finally playing for SKA-Neva in the VHL (Russian 2nd divsion). He had a goal, assist, even rating, 2 PIM, 3 shots, and averaged 16:46 across 2 games last week. You can check out his goal below:

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila had a goal, assist, +3, 9 shots, and averaged 14:32 across 2 games last week. Both of his points came against JYP last Saturday.

Jaromir Pytlik had an even rating, a shot, and played 9:08 in KalPa’s game against Pelicans last Saturday.

Topias Vilen had an assist, +1, 4 shots, and averaged 11:46 across 2 games last week.

Samu Salminen had an assist, +2, 4 PIM, 3 shots, won 24/39 faceoffs (61.54%), and averaged 19:19 across 2 games against HIFK last week.

Sweden

SHL & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic didn’t play in either of Linköping’s games last week. I haven’t found a reason for his absence from the line up.

Viktor Hurtig was a -3 across 2 games last week. This is his 2nd season in the J20 Nationell and so far his points per game rate of 0.50 is down from last year’s 0.73. Most of that seems to come from his goals per game rate dropping from 0.45 last year to 0.18 this year. His assists per game rate is up from 0.27 last year to 0.32 this year. Of course, he did move from Västerås IK J20 to Växjö Lakers HC J20 during the offseason so it is a different situation to be in.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League & Czech 1.liga

Benjamin Baumgartner had 2 goals, an even rating, 9 shots, won 4/8 faceoffs (50%), and averaged 12:38 across 2 games last week. After having just one assist over his first 13 games, he now has 3 goals and 2 assists over his last 7 games. This recent surge has seen Baumgartner moved to tied 7th in U22 scoring in the National League.

Jakub Malek made 27 saves on 28 shots in a loss last Wednesday. Last Saturday he made 28 saves on 31 shots in a victory. His 1.83 GAA and .938 SV% continue to lead the Czech 2nd division.

AHL

Utica picked up 3 more wins last week to move to 13-0 which set a new AHL record for the longest winning streak to start a season. They entered yesterday tied for the 2nd most goals in the league (54) and 1st in fewest goals allowed (24). Their 22.2 PP% ranks 6th and their 86.4 PK% ranks 5th.

Wednesday 11/17: The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans 3-2. Aarne Talvitie gave the Comets an early lead after beating the Rochester goaltender with a nice wrist shot. Samuel Laberge picked up a well deserved assist on the play after executing a clean zone entry. Graeme Clarke nearly gave the Comets a 2-0 lead shortly after Talvitie’s goal but was stopped by the post. Just after that, Akira Schmid would make his presence known when he would stop John-Jason Peterka on a quality chance during the PK. Schmid would make a few more nice saves on the PK during the rest of the period as Utica had trouble staying out of the box.

Rochester would come out strong in the 2nd period as Ethan Prow would tie the game on a deflection from a Linus Weissbach point shot just over 7 minutes into the period. A couple of minutes after that, both Reilly Walsh and Tyler Wotherspoon took minor penalties on the same play to give Rochester a full 2 minute 5v3 PP. However, that 2 man advantage would last just 5 seconds before Jack Quinn would take an interference penalty, downgrading the advantage to 4v3 for Rochester. Brett Murray would score on that advantage when he tipped a puck in front and past Schmid. Walsh would quickly equalize the game on an Utica PP when he shot a puck through traffic for the goal. Nolan Foote and Marian Studenic earned the assists on this goal. With just 47 seconds left in the period, Robbie Russo would pick up his first goal as a Comet when he caught everyone by surprise to score from below the goal line. Joe Gambardella and Foote earned the assists on this goal.

The third period was pretty tame with the teams combining for just 7 shots on goal. The biggest chance came from Peterka with about 8 minutes left when he shot wide of the net on a breakaway. Schmid made 25 saves on 27 shots to pick up the win. Ryan Schmezler led the Comets with 3 shots on goal. Overall, Rochester outshot Utica 27-12. Utica went 1/4 and 5/6 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Lineup:

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 92 Clarke

25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer - 15 Gambardella

39 Laberge - 77 Talvitie - 27 Studenic

16 Schnarr - 44 Stevens

23 Wotherspoon - 22 Walsh

88 Bahl - 5 Russo

82 Okhotiuk - 38 Groleau

2 Vukojevic

93 Schmid

35 Daws

PP1: Studenic, Schnarr, Foote, Clarke, Walsh

PP2: Schmelzer ,Gauthier, Gambardella, Bahl, Russo

PK1: Gambardella, Schmelzer, Bahl, Russo

PK2: Studenic, Talvitie, Groleau, Okhotiuk

Scratches: De Leo (COVID Protocol), Flynn (Upper Body Injury), McGrath

Friday 11/19: The Utica Comets defeated the Charlotte Checkers 4-1. Max McCormick opened the scoring just over a minute into the game when he tipped a puck past Nico Daws. The Comets responded in a big way in the 2nd period as Nolan Foote scored and Nate Schnarr had 2 goals of his own. Graeme Clarke had 2 assists, both coming on Schnarr’s goals. Ryan Schmezler, Robbie Russo, Frederik Gauthier, and Reilly Walsh had an assist each in the period. Aarne Talvitie sealed the game with an empty net goal late in the 3rd. Daws made 23 saves on 24 shots to earn the victory. The teams each had 24 shots on goal though Charlotte outshot Utica 12-4 in the 3rd. Utica went 0/2 on the PP and 1/1 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Lineup:

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 92 Clarke

25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer - 15 Gambardella

27 Studenic - 77 Talvitie - 10 Flynn

39 Laberge - 16 Schnarr - 13 McGrath

23 Wotherspoon - 22 Walsh

88 Bahl - 5 Russo

82 Okhotiuk - 38 Groleau

35 Daws

93 Schmid

PP1: Studenic, Schnarr, Flynn, Clarke, Walsh

PP2: Schmelzer, Gauthier, Gambardella, Foote, Russo

PK1: Gambardella, Schmelzer, Bahl, Russo

PK2: Greer, Talvitie, Okhotiuk, Groleau - (Studenic also saw time)

Scratches: De Leo (COVID Protocol), Stevens, Vukojevic

Saturday 11/20: The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans 5-3. Nolan Foote, Marian Studenic, Chase De Leo, Graeme Clarke, and Brian Flynn had the goals for Utica. Ryan Schmezler had 2 assists while Robbie Russo, De Leo, Nate Schnarr, A.J. Greer, Reilly Walsh, and Frederik Gauthier had an assist each. Studenic led the way with 4 shots on goal. Akira Schmid made 34 saves on 37 shots to pick up another victory. Rochester outshot Utica 37-29, including 15-3 in the 3rd period. Rochester scored all of their goals in the latter half of the game with 2 late goals in the 2nd period and a goal in the 3rd period. Utica went 2/4 on the PP and 4/5 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Lineup:

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 92 Clarke

25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer - 15 Gambardella

27 Studenic - 77 Talvitie - 10 Flynn

39 Laberge - 16 Schnarr - 7 De Leo

23 Wotherspoon - 22 Walsh

88 Bahl - 5 Russo

82 Okhotiuk - 38 Groleau

93 Schmid

35 Daws

Coming Up: Utica will take on Rochester on Wednesday and then Charlotte on Saturday and Sunday this week.

ECHL

Mareks Mitens made 35 saves on 38 shots in a loss to Idaho last Wednesday. He then made 32 saves on 37 shots in a loss to Idaho last Friday.

Adirondack will take on Newfoundland on Wednesday, Worcester on Friday, and Maine on Saturday.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you last week? What are your thoughts on the Utica Comets? Do you think Shakir Mukhamadullin would be best served spending at least 2 more seasons in the KHL? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!