Welcome to the 28th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week was highlighted by the Devils signing Alexander Holtz to his ELC. Akira Schmid continued his run as the best goaltender in the USHL while over in Russia Daniil Misyul is competing in the Kharlamov Cup Finals in the MHL. Eetu Pakkila also had a big week by being a point per game player so far in Ilves’ playoff run that has seen them already adavance out of the wildcard round. Let’s check in on what the week held for each prospect.
Dawson Mercer and Chicoutimi had last week off as they wait for the QMJHL Playoffs to start. The QMJHL regular season ended on Sunday and Mercer ranked 4th in points per game (1.57) out of all players that have played in at least 20 or more games. Chicoutimi is the #2 seed from Quebec and will take on #11 Sherbrooke in a best-of-five series starting on Friday. In other junior news, the CHL officially cancelled the 2021 Memorial Cup. Therefore, a President’s Cup title is the highest honor Chicoutimi can strive for in this unusual season.
Congrats to Matt Hellickson for making his pro debut for the Binghamton Devils in last Friday’s victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins! Hellickson finished a +2 with 4 PIM.
Aarne Talvitie played in 2 more games for Binghamton last week and earned his 2nd career assist. Through 6 games he has no goals, 2 assists, +1, 0 PIM, and 4 shots.
Tyce Thompson played twice for the New Jersey Devils last week in limited action before being moved to the taxi squad and then eventually down to Binghamton. So far through 6 games he has no goals, an assist, -3, 0 PIM, 3 shots, and is averaging 8:27 per game. Binghamton has 13 regular season games left so this should be a great opportunity for him to adjust to the pro game at a more manageable level.
Ethan Edwards had an even rating and 2 shots in Sioux City’s only game last week.
Akira Schmid had a 20 save shutout in a victory over Sioux Falls last Friday. His .919 SV% continues to lead the USHL. His remarkable turnaround after a tough 4 game start to his season now sees him with a 18-10-1-0 record, .925 SV%, and 21 Quality Starts (72.41%) over his last 29 games. Schmid also picked up his 4th USHL Goaltender of the Week award over the past 6 weeks.
VHL & MHL
Daniil Misyul had an even rating, 2 PIM, and a shot while averaging 20:25 across the opening 3 games of the Kharlamov Cup Finals. Loko Yaroslavl is down 2-1 to JHC Dynamo Moscow in the best-of-seven series.
MHL Playoff Stats: 7 GP 0-0-0, -4, 10 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 0.71 SH/GP, 0.00 Pts/GP, 18:46 ATOI
Arseni Gritsyuk continues to be on the sidelines for Avangard Omsk’s Gagarin Cup run. He didn’t play in the final 2 games of their Eastern Conference Finals series that they won 4-3 over Ak Bars Kazan. He wasn’t in the line up for their Game 1 victory over CSKA Moscow in the Gagarin Cup Finals on Sunday.
KHL Playoff Stats: 1 GP 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 1.00 SH/GP, 0.00 Pts/GP, 6:45 ATOI
Nikita Popugayev signed a one year contract extension with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk last Saturday. The Devils hold his rights indefinitely but with him about to turn 23 next season and struggling to produce at any level over the past few years, he’s certainly on the outside looking in of the Devils prospect pool.
Eetu Pakkila and Ilves finished 8th in Liiga by points per game and played the 9th placed KooKoo in a 2 game wildcard round to determine who would advance to the Quarterfinals. Due the pandemic, the wildcard round was based on the aggregate score across the 2 games. Also, all of the playoff rounds will be best-of-five series. Ilves won the first leg 4-1 and lost the second leg 3-2 but advanced 6-4 on the aggregate. Pakkila was clutch for Ilves in the first leg with a goal, SH assist, +2, and a shot in 13:47. He had an even rating and a shot in 11:55 in the second leg. Ilves is taking on top seeded Lukko in the Quarterfinals. In a Game 1 loss yesterday, Pakkila had a goal, even rating, and 4 shots in 16:40.
Playoff Stats: 3 GP 2-1-3, +2, 0 PIM, 33.33 SH%, 2.00 SH/GP, 1.00 Pts/GP, 14:07 ATOI
SHL & Allsvenskan
I’m sure everyone is aware of this by now, but yesterday, the Devils signed Alexander Holtz to a three-year, entry-level contract that starts with the 2021-22 season. He also signed an AHL contract with Binghamton for the remainder of this season which will help him transition to the North American game. Here is John’s post and reaction to the signing. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Holtz does the rest of the season with Binghamton.
Switzerland & Germany
Swiss National League & Deutsche Eishockey Liga
Benjamin Baumgartner’s season is well over but now the speculation on his future is heating up again. Back in January a rumor came out linking him with a move to another NL team, Lausanne HC. It looks like those rumors are returning as Hockey-News.info is reporting he is going to make that move this offseason.
Nico Daws made 34 saves on 37 shots in a loss to Iserlohn Roosters on Sunday. ERC Ingolstadt finished the regular season 3rd in the South Group and will take on 2nd seeded EHC Red Bull Munich in the Quarterfinals which begins today. All of the playoff series will be in a best-of-three format.
Daws was one of four U21 goaltenders to play in at least 10 games in the DEL this season. His .898 SV% ranked 2nd, behind Tobias Ancicka (13 GP, .917 SV%), and ahead of Hendrik Hane (19 GP, .893 SV%) and Nikita Quapp (11 GP, .871 SV%).
Which prospects stood out to you this past week? How do you feel about the regular season Dawson Mercer had? What about Tyce Thompson going down to the AHL? What are your thoughts on the Alexander Holtz signing? What about the season Nico Daws had in limited action? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!