Welcome to the 8th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week featured plenty of news such as the Devils signing of Shakir Mukhamadullin, Jaromir Pytlik and Nikola Pasic transferring to new teams, Luke Hughes officially being named to the USA Junior Evaluation Camp roster, and Arseni Gritsyuk continue to lead U21 players in the KHL. Akira Schmid also picked up another shutout for Utica as he continues to be the best goaltender in the AHL. Let’s check in on each prospect now.
Last Tuesday, the OHL announced a suspension of team activities for the Sudbury Wolves in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. That means that Chase Stillman had no games last week and it’s possible that Sudbury’s upcoming games this week could be postponed. As I write this, they are scheduled to play Friday and Sunday against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. It’s worth noting that Stillman wasn’t named to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp roster which was released a few days ago, likely due to the protocols.
Patrick Moynihan was a -4 with 2 PIM and 4 shots as Providence lost both of their games to Northeastern last weekend.
Case McCarthy has continued to be a key player for Boston University. Across 2 victories over New Hampshire last weekend, McCarthy had 3 assists (1 EV, 2 PP), an even rating, and 9 shots. Last Thursday, he was named Hockey East Defender of the Month for November. Check out his most recent assist:
Good for Max Kaufman, who’s really established himself as a leader at BU after transferring from UVM before last season.— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) December 5, 2021
Good job forcing a turnover by Case McCarthy, and a nice move and finish by Kaufman. Big two wins for BU this weekend. pic.twitter.com/sUvBZdXgDu
UConn had both of their games against Merrimack postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Yesterday, their scheduled games against American International this week were postponed. Due to the upcoming holiday break, they aren’t scheduled to play again until January 2 against Harvard, so it’s going to be a bit before Artem Shlaine plays again.
Cole Brady made 34 saves on 41 shots in a 7-1 loss to Denver last Saturday. He gave up 3 goals at even strength and 4 goals while Arizona State was on the penalty kill. This was his first game action since November 12.
Ethan Edwards had an assist and +2 rating as Michigan split a series against Minnesota last weekend. Check out his assist below:
Bordeleau redirects a drive from Ethan Edwards pic.twitter.com/bigRj2Lgbu— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) December 4, 2021
Luke Hughes had a tough weekend for Michigan. In Friday’s 5-1 loss to Minnesota, he was a -3 with a shot. In the clip below, Matthew Knies dangled past Hughes to set up a Chaz Lucius goal:
just a lil flick of the wrist pic.twitter.com/EWCOfQsRZD— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) December 3, 2021
In Saturday’s 6-2 victory over Minnesota, he had an assist, +2, and 4 shots. Even the victory had some tough moments including this play where Bryce Brodzinski of Minnesota beats Hughes for the opening goal:
You can't take that @bbrodzyy magic away ✨ pic.twitter.com/5lHCxpqles— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) December 5, 2021
As impressive as Hughes has been this season, especially from an offensive perspective, it’s important to remember that patience is required for the defensive part of his game to catch up. He did just turn 18 in September and he’s one of the youngest players in the NCAA. There was some good news for Hughes when, as expected, he was named to the USA World Junior Championship Evaluation Camp Roster.
Yegor Zaitsev was a -1 with 6 shots and averaged 16:42 across 4 games last week.
Daniil Misyul was a +1 with 4 PIM, a shot, and averaged 9:45 across 2 games last week.
Arseni Gritsyuk had 2 goals, +2, 9 shots, and averaged 17:51 across 3 games last week. Both goals came in Avangard’s 4-1 victory over Dinamo Riga yesterday and can be seen below:
THAT SHOT!! TIE GAME— This is the KHL (@KHLreplays) December 6, 2021
Arseni Gritsyuk #AVG
1-1 #KHL #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/fxEvAzhSkB
Arseni Gritsyuk - 2nd of the game— This is the KHL (@KHLreplays) December 6, 2021
2-1 Avangard #KHL #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/RBTmf6GK0F
Gritsyuk now has 12 goals on the season which is 3rd on Avangard, one behind the leaders Corban Knight and Peter Cehlarik. His 12 goals, 18 points, and 0.64 points per game rate leads all U21 players in the KHL. He was recently named to the Russian roster for the Channel One Cup which takes place from December 15-19 at the CSKA Arena.
Last Wednesday, the Devils announced that they signed Shakir Mukhamadullin to a three-year entry level contract and loaned him back to Salavat Yulaev Ufa in the KHL for the remainder of the season. This tweet from Salavat Yulaev Ufa notes that he will also be on loan with them for the 2022-23 KHL season. I’m really happy to see the Devils get him signed and that he will spend another season in the KHL after this one. He turns 20 years old in January so they can afford to be patient with him and allow him to develop at a high level in the KHL.
On the ice, Mukhamadullin had one game last week where he had an even rating and played just 3:33 against Admiral.
Zakhar Bardakov had an even rating, 4 PIM, 3 shots, won 7/16 faceoffs (43.75%), and averaged 12:28 across 3 KHL games last week.
Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja
Eetu Pakkila was a -2 with 2 shots in 13:11 in his only game last week.
Jaromir Pytlik has left KalPa and transferred to Rytiri Kladno in the Czech Extraliga (top division). If that teams sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the team that Jaromir Jagr owns and currently plays for. The 49 year old Jagr who turns 50 in February currently has 7 goals and 11 assists through 25 games which is 2nd on the team in scoring.
Topias Vilen was a +2 with 4 shots and averaged 18:19 across 2 games last week.
Samu Salminen had 2 assists, +2, 4 shots, and won 15/24 faceoffs (62.50%) in his only game last week.
SHL & J20 Nationell
Nikola Pasic was credited with 3 games played in the SHL last week but just played 20 seconds in the last of those games. He’s been the dressing as the 13th forward for a bit now. He didn’t play in yesterday’s game as his contract was terminated. He has now joined Södertälje SK in the Allsvenskan (2nd division). I really like this move for him since he needs to play more often and the Allsvenskan is still a solid league to develop in. The last time he was in the Allsvenskan was with BIK Karlskoga in 2019-20 when he had 8 goals and 27 assists in 45 games. Hopefully this can get his season back on track.
Viktor Hurtig was a -1 with 6 shots across 3 games last week.
The Rest of Europe
Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, & Czech 1.liga
Benjamin Baumgartner had a goal, +1, 2 PIM, 6 shots, won 13/20 faceoffs (65%), and averaged 11:32 across 3 games. He now has 5 goals and 2 assists over his last 12 games.
Jaromir Pytlik had an even rating and 3 shots in 11:08 in his first game with Rytiri Kladno last Sunday. He was used in a 4th line right wing role so it will be interesting to see if he can play his way up the line up soon.
Jakub Malek made 25 saves on 26 shots in a 2-1 victory over HC Slavia Praha last Wednesday. He then made 21 saves on 22 shots in a 4-1 victory over SK Horacka Slavia Trebic last Saturday. He continues to lead the Czech 2nd division with a .936 SV%.
Utica split their games last week but did see a slight schedule change. They were originally supposed to play Hartford on Saturday but COVID-19 protocols postponed that game so they instead played Bridgeport. Utica continues to lead the league with a 16-1-1-0 record. Utica’s PP ranks 15th at 19.2% while their PK ranks 4th at 87.5%.
Wednesday 12/1: The Utica Comets defeated the Belleville Senators 2-0. Reilly Walsh had the games opening goal just under 2 minutes into the game with a great shot from the point. Jeremy Groleau and Graeme Clarke earned the assists. Brian Flynn scored late in the 1st period with a nice snipe on the PP. Robbie Russo and A.J. Greer earned the assists on that goal. Walsh led the way with 6 shots on goal. Akira Schmid stopped all 23 shots he faced for his 2nd shutout in a row. Utica outshot Belleville 26-23. The Comets went 1/4 on the PP and 5/5 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Couple-a tucks and a couple-a saves— Utica Comets - ❤️ (@UticaComets) December 2, 2021
Good night to keep winning pic.twitter.com/NzYS4tqC9W
27 Studenic - 7 De Leo - 9 Holtz
17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 20 Zetterlund
25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer- 92 Clarke
39 Laberge - 16 Schnarr - 10 Flynn
82 Okhotiuk - 23 Wotherspoon
88 Bahl - 5 Russo
38 Groleau - 22 Walsh
PP1: Studenic, Schnarr, Holtz, De Leo, Walsh
PP2: Zetterlund, Schmelzer, Greer, Flynn, Russo
PK1: Greer, Gauthier, Bahl, Russo
PK2: Studenic, Zetterlund, Okhotiuk, Wotherspoon
Scratches: McGrath, Gambardella, Stevens, Talvitie, Vukojevic
Saturday 12/4: The Utica Comets lost to the Bridgeport Islanders 3-2 in overtime. Nolan Foote had the Comets first goal with Graeme Clarke pick up the assist. Reilly Walsh tied it late to force overtime with Clarke and Foote earning the assists on that goal. Clarke led the team with 6 shots on goal. Akira Schmid made 29 saves on 32 shots. Cory Schneider had 29 saves on 31 shots for Bridgeport. Utica was outshot by Bridgeport 32-31. The Comets went 0/1 on the PP and 3/3 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and lineup:
7 De Leo - 16 Schnarr - 10 Flynn
27 Studenic - 77 Talvitie - 9 Holtz
25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer- 92 Clarke
17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 20 Zetterlund
88 Bahl - 5 Russo
82 Okhotiuk - 38 Groleau
2 Vukojevic - 22 Walsh
Utica will take on Rochester on Wednesday and Cleveland on Friday.
Adirondack won all 3 of their games last week. Mareks Mitens made 38 saves on 40 shots in a 3-2 victory over Worcester on Friday. He made 28 saves on 29 shots in a 4-1 victory over Maine on Saturday. Mitens made 30 saves on 31 shots in a 4-1 victory over Maine on Sunday. Jeremy Brodeur started for Maine on Sunday and made 29 saves on 32 shots. He is currently 5-4-2 with a 2.84 GAA and .916 SV% for Maine on the season.
Adirondack will take on Reading on Friday and Saturday and then Maine on Sunday.
Which prospects stood out to you this week? What are your thoughts on the Mukhamadullin signing? What about Pytlik and Pasic finding new teams? How do you feel about the season that Schmid is having for Utica? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!