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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 4/27/21

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Last week saw Dawson Mercer dominate in the QMJHL playoffs, Aarne Talvitie score his first pro goal, and Akira Schmid finish the USHL season as the top goaltender in the league.

2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game
Dawson Mercer is off to a strong start in the playoffs for Chicoutimi with 3 goals and 4 assists as his team swept their First Round series.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Welcome to the 29th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week was highlighted by Dawson Mercer’s hot start in the QMJHL playoffs, Aarne Talvitie scoring his first pro goal for Binghamton, Alexander Holtz making his debut for Binghamton, and Akira Schmid finishing the season on a 12 game winning streak as the league’s top goaltender in the USHL. Over in Russia, Arseni Gritsyuk got some limited action in the Gagarin Cup Finals as his team is one game away from clinching the title while Daniil Misyul saw his efforts come up short in the Kharlamov Cup Finals. Let’s take a look at what the week held for each prospect.

QMJHL

Dawson Mercer had 3 goals (2 EV, 1 EN), 4 assists (1 EV, 3 PP), +4, 2 PIM, 9 shots, and won 66.23% of his faceoffs across Chicoutimi’s first 3 playoff games as #2 Chicoutimi swept #11 Sherbrooke in the First Round of the playoffs. Check out one of his latest goals:

Playoff Stats: 3 GP 3-4-7, +4, 2 PIM, 33.33 SH%, 3.00 SH/GP, 2.33 Pts/GP

NCAA

Matt Hellickson didn’t play in any of Binghamton’s 4 games last week. He hasn’t played since making his pro debut on 4/16.

Aarne Talvitie had a goal, even rating, and 5 shots across 4 games last week for Binghamton. In 10 games he has a goal, 2 assists, +1, 0 PIM, and 9 shots. Check out his first pro goal below:

Tyce Thompson had no points, -3, 9 PIM, and 9 shots across 4 games last week for Binghamton. Check out his first pro fight below:

USHL

Ethan Edwards had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), +3, 6 PIM, and 6 shots across 3 games last week. He ended up finishing 4th among U19 defensemen in scoring.

Schmid won 12 straight games to finish the season posting a .952 SV% and 11 Quality Starts during that stretch. After a rough 4 game stretch to start the season, Schmid went 21-10-1-0 in 32 games with a .927 SV% and 27 Quality Starts (84.38%). He led the league in numerous categories including GAA (2.01), SV% (.921), SO (3 - tied with 2 others), Goals Allowed % Minus (67 GA%-), Goals Saved Above Average (35.85 GSAA), GSAA per 60 minutes (1.00 GSAA/60), and GSAA per 30 shots (1.18 GSAA/30). I don’t have Quality Start stats for other USHL goaltenders but I’d be shocked if his 29 Quality Starts and 80.56 QS% didn’t also lead the league. I should note that I had to credit him with a few more Quality Starts since my last update after running the final USHL numbers for goaltenders.

It is important to note that Schmid was old for this level with this being his age 20 season. Still, considering the hip surgery he was coming back from and playing in a highly offensive league, I am encouraged by the season that he put together. Hopefully he can carry this over to the playoffs.

Sioux City enters the Clark Cup Playoffs as the #3 seed in the Western Conference and will take on #2 Omaha in a best-of-three Conference Semifinal series. Game 1 is on Saturday, Game 2 is on Sunday, and a potential Game 3 is on Monday.

Russia

KHL

VHL & MHL

Last Friday, Dynamo Moscow announced that they have reached a contract extension with Yegor Zaitsev for two more seasons. The Devils hold his rights indefinetly so they can afford to be patient with the young defender. He will be a few days shy of his 25th birthday when that contract ends on 4/30/23.

Daniil Misyul had a PP assist, -3, 4 PIM, and 4 shots while averaging 16:53 over the last 2 games of the Kharlamov Cup Finals as Loko Yaroslavl lost the series 4-1 to JHC Dynamo Moscow. In the clip below you can see him show off his physical edge when he picks up a double minor for roughing in this skirmish:

Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst had this scouting report on various prospects from the final series. A couple of parts that stand out from his report on Misyul:

Misyul arguably is Loko’s No. 1 defender and he played over 20 minutes a game in three of the five games against MSK. He was used in every situation conceivable and technically quarterbacked the second power-play unit...For starters, the kid is a graceful, agile skater and puck handler who can break out on his own and take the puck coast to coast, albeit without much creativity.

The issues with Misyul center on puck management and slot positioning, as he was trapped a handful of times because of ill-timed pinches with MSK’s dangerous forwards lurking nearby. He also ignored the backdoor danger on at least two MSK goals from either chasing a covered man behind the net or into the corner.

MHL Playoff Stats: 9 GP 0-1-1, -7, 14 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 1.00 SH/GP, 0.11 Pts/GP, 18:21 ATOI

Arseni Gritsyuk played for the first time since 3/6 this past week. In Game 4 of the Gagarin Cup Finals he had an even rating in 3:54 as Avangard Omsk defeated CSKA Moscow 4-3 in OT. In Game 5 he had an even rating and a shot in 0:36 as Avangard Omsk defeated CSKA Moscow 2-0 to take a 3-2 series lead. Avangard could potentially win the title tomorrow in Game 6.

KHL Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 0.67 SH/GP, 0.00 Pts/GP, 3:45 ATOI

Finland

Liiga

Eetu Pakkila had an assist, -1, and 4 shots while averaging 14:11 across 2 games last week as Ilves was eliminated from the playoffs. The Devils hold his rights until 6/1/22. Hopefully he takes a step next season in Liiga and is able to earn a contract with New Jersey.

Playoff Stats: 5 GP 2-2-4, +1, 0 PIM, 20.00 SH%, 2.00 SH/GP, 0.80 Pts/GP, 14:09 ATOI

Sweden

SHL

Alexander Holtz made his AHL debut for Binghamton last Saturday. In 2 games so far he has no points, a -2, 0 PIM, and 6 shots.

Switzerland & Germany

Swiss National League, Deutsche Eishockey Liga

It appears that Benjamin Baumgartner has been playing in exhibition games for Austria. In a game against the Czech Republic he picked up 2 goals.

According to Teemu Koivisto on twitter, Jaromir Pytlik has started following KalPa of Liiga on various social media platforms. We’ll have to wait and see if he makes a move to Finland for next season.

Nico Daws hasn’t played yet for ERC Ingolstadt in the playoffs. They swept EHC Red Bull München 2-0 in the Quarterfinals. They are up 1-0 over Eisbären Berlin in the Semifinals.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this past week? What do you think of Akira Schmid’s season? What about Eetu Pakkila’s season and strong playoffs? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!