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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 12/14/21

This week’s update features news about Devils prospects in the upcoming World Junior Championship, Arseni Gritsyuk continuing to produce in Russia, and the Utica Comets continuing to stack up points in the AHL.

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship
Alexander Holtz will once again be representing Sweden at the World Junior Championship.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Welcome to the 9th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week’s update is highlighted by Patrick Moynihan playing well for Providence, Arseni Gritsyuk continuing to be one of the top young players in the KHL, and the Utica Comets continuing to play well. It also features plenty of news for the upcoming World Junior Championship. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

OHL

The Sudbury Wolves had both of their games scheduled for last weekend postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. As of this writing they are scheduled to play this Thursday and Friday but of course that could change. The OHL did announce dates for the postponed games to be made up in January, February, and March.

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan had a productive weekend for Providence as they swept Princeton. In Friday’s 7-0 victory, Moynihan had a goal, assist, +1, and 4 shots. In Saturday’s 3-2 win, Moynihan had 2 PP assists, -1, 2 PIM, and 2 shots. Since starting his season with 2 goals and an assist in 12 games, he now has 5 goals and 6 assists over his last 9 games. He’s been consistently the top line right wing for Providence with Parker Ford as his centerman and a rotation of Cody Monds and Jamie Engelbert on the other wing. Here’s his latest goal and assist:

Case McCarthy was a -1 with a shot in Boston University’s 3-3 tie with Boston College (BC won the shootout) last Friday. McCarthy had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), -1, and 6 shots in BU’s 4-3 exhibition loss to the USNTDP U-18 team on Saturday.

UConn had both of their games last week postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. We can look forward to Artem Shlaine returning to the ice when UConn takes on Harvard on January 2.

Arizona State defeated Clarkson twice last weekend to even up their record at 9-9. However, Cole Brady didn’t play in either game as Ben Kraws stopped 69 of 73 shots across both games for a .945 SV%. The transfer from Miami University is 6-4 with a 3.38 GAA and .899 SV% on the season. Hopefully Brady will get a chance to in one of the games against Colorado College this weekend.

Ethan Edwards was a -1 with 2 PIM and a shot as Michigan split a series with Ohio State last weekend.

Luke Hughes had an assist (EN), +3, and 2 shots in Michigan’s 5-2 victory over Ohio State last Friday. He had an assist (PP), -3, 2 PIM, and a shot in Michigan’s 6-1 loss to Ohio State last Saturday. Mike. G. Morreale has this article over at NHL.com from Sunday which features Hughes as he is about to join the USA Hockey selection camp for the upcoming World Junior Championship. The camp is already underway as of this post. The WJC is scheduled to be held in Red Deer and Edmonton from December 26 through January 5. Here’s what Hughes had to say prior to the camp:

“I’m really hopeful to make the team and to try and win [the tournament],” the 18-year-old defenseman said. “I think a lot of you guys have seen me play a lot lately and I think we all know what I bring to the table. I can defend the rush to cycle, have a pretty good stick and in the neutral zone and I bring exits out of my own zone and entries into the offensive zone. I can run power play too.

“That’s some of the stuff that I bring and I’m really hopeful to make that team and really excited.”

Byron Bader, the creator of Hockey Prospecting, tweeted this update on Luke Hughes’ development in comparison to his brother Quinn Hughes:

Russia

KHL & VHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an even rating, 4 PIM, and a shot while averaging 15:30 across 2 games last week.

Daniil Misyul had an even rating, 2 PIM, and 2 shots while averaging 11:57 across 3 games last week. Over his 3 full seasons he’s seen his average ice time go from 8:49 in 2019-20 to 10:16 in 2020-21 to 13:18 this season.

Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 assists, an even rating, 4 PIM, and 7 shots while averaging 15:54 across 3 games last week. Check out his assists below:

Gritsyuk will be representing Russia at the Channel One Cup this week. They take on Canada on Wednesday, Sweden on Thursday, the Czech Republic on Saturday, and Finland on Sunday.

Shakir Mukhamadullin spent the week at Russia’s WJC camp as they prepare for the tournament. They will have pre-tournament games against Germany on Sunday and Canada the following Wednesday.

Zakhar Bardakov had an even rating, 2 shots, and won 4/15 faceoffs (26.66%) while averaging 14:47 across 2 games last week. He didn’t play in SKA’s 2-1 shooutout victory over Dynamo Moscow on Sunday.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila had a goal, -1, 8 shots, and averaged 12:09 across 3 games last week.

Topias Vilen had an even rating, 5 shots, and averaged 19:41 across 2 games last week.

Samu Salminen had a PP assist, even rating, 7 shots, won 21/44 faceoffs (47.73%), and averaged 20:24 across 2 games last week.

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic had an assist, +1, 3 shots, and averaged 15:00 across 2 games in his return to the Allsvenskan (2nd division). He was used in a 3rd line left wing role for Södertälje SK.

Viktor Hurtig was a +2 with 7 shots across 2 games last week. This concludes the first part of the J20 Nationell schedule where teams compete in a North/South format. Mora IK J20 finished in 2nd place in the North and earned a qualification to the playoffs later this year. The top 5 teams in the North and South will now compete against each other while the other teams on the outside will play each other as they attempt to make the playoffs and avoid relegation.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, & Czech 1.liga

Benjamin Baumgartner had an assist, +3, won 1/8 faceoffs, and played 12:49 in his only game last week. He now has 5 goals and 3 assists over his last 13 games.

Jaromir Pytlik had a goal, -1, 4 shots, won 3/8 faceoffs, and averaged 9:57 across 2 games last week. Check out his goal below:

Jakub Malek made 35 saves on 36 shots in a victory over HC Banik Sokolov last Wednesday. He made 20 saves on 23 shots in a victory over LHK Jestrabi Prostejov last Saturday. As expected, Malek was named to the Czech Republic preliminary roster for the WJC.

AHL

The Utica Comets picked up 3 out of 4 points last week to improve to a league best 17-1-2. They the 16th best PP in the league at 19.3% and 5th best PK in the league at 85.1%.

Transactions: G Mareks Mitens recalled from loan to Adirondack (ECHL) on 12/9; D Michael Vukojevic reassigned by New Jersey (NHL) to Adirondack (ECHL) on 12/10; G Akira Schmid recalled from loan by New Jersey (NHL) on 12/10; G Corbin Kaczperski released from PTO on 12/10; D Kevin Bahl and F Marian Studenic recalled from loan by New Jersey (NHL) on 12/13.

Wednesday 12/8: The Utica Comets lost to the Rochester Americans 4-3 in overtime. Marian Studenic, Chase De Leo, and Fabian Zetterlund had the goals for the Comets. Reilly Walsh had 2 assists followed by Alexander Holtz, Nate Schnarr, A.J. Greer, and Aarne Talvitie with one each. De Leo led the team with 7 shots followed by Studenic with 4. Nico Daws started and made 17 saves on 19 shots in 46:57 before exiting the game due to injury. Akira Schmid came in and stopped 7 of 9 shots in 17:20, though both goals he surrendered came with the Comets down a man. Utica outshot Rochester 35-28. Utica went 0/2 on the PP and 0/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Friday 12/10: The Utica Comets defeated the Cleveland Monsters 3-1. Fabian Zetterlund, Nate Schnarr, and Graeme Clarke had the goals for the Comets. Robbie Russo had 2 assists followed by Nolan Foote, Tyler Wotherspoon, Marian Studenic, and A.J. Greer with one each. Schnarr led the team with 4 shots. With Nico Daws injured and Akira Schmid called up to New Jersey, Mareks Mitens made his first start of the season. He made 23 saves on 24 shots, only surrending a goal with 1:34 left in the game. Utica outshot Cleveland 32-24. The Comets went 1/3 on the PP and 1/1 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, lineup, and highlights:

Lineup:

25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer- 20 Zetterlund

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 92 Clarke

7 De Leo - 77 Talvitie - 9 Holtz

27 Studenic - 16 Schnarr - 10 Flynn

23 Wotherspoon - 22 Walsh

88 Bahl - 5 Russo

82 Okhotiuk - 6 White

34 Mitens

41 Kaczperski

Notes:

  • Alexander Holtz has been permitted to join Sweden for the upcoming World Junior Championship.
  • Graeme Clarke’s 0.78 points per game rate ranks t-9th among U21 players in the AHL (min. 15 GP).
  • Nolan Foote started the season with just a goal in over his first 8 games. He now has 3 goals and 5 assists over his last 12 games.
  • Fabian Zetterlund has 3 goals and an assist in 6 games since being sent down. He’s improved his AHL points per game rate from 0.41 in 2019-20 to 0.56 in 2020-21 to 0.81 this season.
  • Reilly Walsh is t-2nd in scoring among U23 defensemen with 15 points so far this season.
  • Nate Schnarr has improved his AHL points per game rate from 0.40 in 2019-20 to 0.45 in 2020-21 to 0.78 this season.
  • Marian Studenic has 5 goals and 5 assists in 13 games since being sent down.

Coming Up: Utica will take on Cleveland on Thursday and Friday.

ECHL

Michael Vukojevic was a +2 with 3 shots in Adirondack’s 4-1 victory over Reading last Friday. The ECHL had to postpone their games against Reading and Maine on Saturday and Sunday due to health and safety protocols.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this week? How excited are you for the upcoming WJC? What do you think about the season that a lot of the Utica Comets are having? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!