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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 12/28/21

This week’s update notes the start of the 2022 World Junior Championship which features 4 Devils prospects in Shakir Mukhamadullin, Alexander Holtz, Luke Hughes, and Jakub Malek. It is also highlighted by Arseni Gritsyuk adding a couple of goals and an assist to his season totals in the KHL.

Sweden v Czech Republic: Preliminary Round Group B - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship
Alexander Holtz is the top line RW for Sweden at the 2022 WJC. He already has a goal and an assist in the tournament.
Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Welcome to the 11th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week saw the 2022 World Junior Championship begin with 4 Devils prospects in the tournament. Shakir Mukhamadullin is representing Russia, Alexander Holtz is on Sweden, Luke Hughes is representing the USA, and Jakub Malek is in goal for Czechia. This week also saw Arseni Gritsyuk continue to score goals and put up points in the KHL. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

World Junior Championship

Russia has split their first two games of the WJC. In Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Sweden, Shakir Mukhamadullin was a -1 with 3 shots in 18:17. In yesterday’s 4-2 victory over Switzerland, Mukhamadullin had an even rating in 19:40. He’s been playing on the right side of the top pair alongside Nikita Smirnov. Russia will take on Slovakia on Wednesday at 4:30 PM ET and the United States on Friday at 9:30 PM ET.

Sweden opened their tournament on Sunday with a 6-3 victory over Russia. Alexander Holtz had a PP goal, PP assist, -2, and 3 shots in 19:46 in that win. Check out that assist and goal below:

Last night, Sweden defeated Slovakia 3-0. Holtz had an even rating and 6 shots in 15:21. He’s been the top line right wing for Sweden, skating alongside Oskar Olausson and William Eklund. Sweden will take on the United States on Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET and Switzerland on Friday at 4:30 PM ET.

The United States defeated Slovakia 3-2 last Sunday. Luke Hughes was a -1 in 16:36 as he skated on the right side of the 3rd pair alongside Tyler Kleven. Hughes didn’t feature on the PP for the US which is understandable given this is his first U20 WJC tournament and he’s the youngest defenseman on the team. The most notable moment of the game for Hughes came when he was unable to prevent the pass to Martin Chromiak who ended up scoring his 2nd goal for Slovakia:

The United States will play Switzerland today at 4:30 PM ET, Sweden on Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET, and Russia on Friday at 9:30 PM ET.

Jakub Malek made 30 saves on 36 shots in Czechia’s 6-3 loss to Canada last Sunday. 3 of the goals he gave up came at even strength while 3 of them came while his team was on the penalty kill. 2 of those goals actually came in a 3v5 situation for Czechia so Malek didn’t really receive much help from his team. Malek didn’t play in Czechia’s 2-1 overtime loss to Germany yesterday. Czechia will play against Finland on Wednesday at 2 PM ET and against Austria on Thursday at 4:30 PM ET.

The Quarterfinals of the tournament will take place on Sunday, the Semifinals will take place a week from today, and the Bronze Medal and Gold Medal games will take place the day after that. Here is the full schedule.

OHL

As of this writing, Chase Stillman and Sudbury are scheduled to resume their season tomorrow against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Then they are scheduled to play the Mississauga Steelheads on Friday and Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday.

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan and Providence are scheduled to play 2 games in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week. They will take on Bowling Green today and then either Wisconsin or Yale tomorrow.

Case McCarthy and Boston University are scheduled to resume their season on Friday against Brown.

Artem Shlaine and UConn are scheduled to resume their season on Sunday against Harvard.

Arizona State is scheduled to play 2 games against Cornell this weekend so hopefully Cole Brady will get one of the starts.

Ethan Edwards and Michigan are scheduled to play against Michigan Tech tomorrow and Western Michigan on Thursday.

Russia

KHL & VHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a +1 with 2 PIM, 5 shots, and average ice time of 17:33 across 3 games last week.

Daniil Misyul had an even rating, a shot, and average ice time of 15:30 across 3 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 EN), a PP assist, +2, 8 shots, and average ice time of 16:00 across 3 games last week. Check out his game winning goal against Torpedo from last Tuesday:

Zakhar Bardakov had an even rating, 2 PIM, 3 shots, won 14/37 faceoffs (37.84%), and average ice time of 13:10 across 3 games last week. It’s worth noting that his ice time went up each game starting with 8:42 against CSKA last Wednesday to 12:01 against Sibir last Saturday to 18:47 against Amur yesterday.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila and Ilves will resume their season today against TPS. They are also scheduled to take on Lukko on Thursday.

Topias Vilen had an even rating and 5 shots in 18:45 of Pelicans 2-1 loss to HIFK last Sunday.

Samu Salminen and Jokerit U20 are off until January 14 when they will take on HPK U20.

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic had an assist, -1, and a shot in Södertälje’s 3-2 overtime loss to Troja-Ljungby yesterday.

Viktor Hurtig and Mora IK J20 are on a midseason break.

The Rest of Europe

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

Benjamin Baumgartner was a -1 with a shot, won 9/21 faceoffs (42.86%), and averaged 13:16 across 2 games.

Jaromir Pytlik was a -5 with 6 shots, won 3/6 faceoffs, and averaged 12:50 across 3 games last week. He did start to see some special teams play, averaging 1:02 on the PP and 1:01 on the PK across those games. It’s worth noting that the team he is on, Rytiri Kladno, is really struggling with just 9 wins in 32 games this season. They are currently in 14th place out of the 15 team league.

AHL

Utica’s games against Belleveille and Rochester were postponed. They are scheduled to resume their season tomorrow against Springfield. They are also expected to face Lehigh Valley on Friday.

I finally got a chance to tabulate the Goals Saved Above Average Stats for the AHL goaltenders. A quick reminder that GA%- measures how a goaltender has performed relative the league average with 100 being average, below 100 above average, and above 100 below average. GSAA is how many goals they have performed above average. GSAA/60 is just GSAA per 60 minutes and GSAA/30 is just GSAA per 30 shots. WL stands for Workload and is how many shots the goaltender faces per 60 minutes.

Obviously, Utica has received some exceptional goaltending so it’s no surprise to see Akira Schmid, Nico Daws, and in limited action, Mareks Mitens rate well. Schmid has been 42 percent above the league average while Daws has been 23 percent above the league average. In terms of GSAA, Schmid ranks 4th and Daws ranks 8th among all AHL goaltenders. Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf’s 17.62 GSAA currently leads the league. If you adjust for playing time using GSAA/60 and use the 10 games played mark as a cutoff, Schmid leads the league with a 1.17 GSAA/60 and Daws is 5th with a 0.65 GSAA/60. Of course this all a pretty small sample size but it will be interesting to see where they rank when the season is over.

ECHL

Adirondack defeated Worcester 5-0 last Sunday in their only game of the week. They are scheduled to have a busy week ahead with 4 games. If all goes according to plan, they will take on Reading tomorrow, Newfoundland on Friday, Maine on Saturday, and Trois-Rivieres on Sunday.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this past week? What are your thoughts on the World Junior Championship and the Devils prospects participating in the tournament so far? What are your thoughts on Arseni Gritsyuk’s continued success in the KHL? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!