Welcome to the 30th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update! It was highlighted by Arseni Gritsyuk becoming a Gagarin Cup Champion when Avangard Omsk won the KHL title. The club rewarded him with a 2 year contract extension. Also, Akira Schmid stopped all but one shot in the opening round of the USHL playoffs as he remains on fire. Over in Europe, Benjamin Baumgartner’s move to Lausanne HC was confirmed and Nico Daws saw his season come to an end in Germany.
I’ll also quickly touch on Binghamton and some of the players there until the end of their season. I had a bit of a late start this week so I’ll try to have something more substantial in the following weeks. Now on to the updates!
Binghamton lost 4-3 (SO) last Wednesday to Hershey, fell 3-1 to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday, and defeated Lehigh Valley 4-2 on Saturday. They have 6 games left in their season.
Matt Hellickson hasn’t played since his debut on 4/16.
Aarne Talvitie was a -1 with 3 shots across 3 games last week. He has a goal and 2 assists in 13 games with Binghamton.
Tyce Thompson had an assist, -3, and 4 shots across 3 games last week. He has no goals and an assist in 7 games with Binghamton.
Alexander Holtz had a goal, -1, and 10 shots across 3 games last week. The goal was his first AHL goal and can be seen below:
Alexander Holtz, ladies and gentlemen— Binghamton Devils (@BingDevils) April 28, 2021
Devils take the lead, 1-0. pic.twitter.com/MSM1JIBhcB
Both of the Devils OHL prospects that have been playing with Binghamton seem to be turning in solid seasons. Graeme Clarke is up to 6 goals and 9 assists in 25 games, good for 7th among U20 forwards in scoring. Michael Vukojevic has a goal and 8 assists in 21 games, which ranks 5th among U20 defensemen in scoring.
Dawson Mercer and Chicoutimi were off last week after sweeping their First Round series. Mitch Brown of EP Rinkside and the CHL Tracking Project shared this Offensive Involvement leaderboard which shows that Mercer is one of the most active players in his team’s offense across the CHL and USHL in 2020-21.
Tracked ~40 games since the last time I shared this: CHL/USHL leaders in Offensive Involvement, the % of their team's xG that the player shot or set up. Bourque (DAL) & L'Heureux (2021) are a step above everyone else. Lots of notable 2021s, including Dean, Bolduc, Malatesta. pic.twitter.com/SQ83oZkIKz— Mitch Brown (@MitchLBrown) April 27, 2021
Playoff Stats: 3 GP 3-4-7, +4, 2 PIM, 33.33 SH%, 3.00 SH/GP, 2.33 Pts/GP
#3 Sioux City swept #2 Omaha 2-0 in their Western Conference Semifinals series last weekend. They will now take on #4 Fargo in the Western Conference Finals. That series is also a best-of-three. Game 1 is on Friday, Game 2 is on Saturday, and a potential Game 3 would be on Monday.
Ethan Edwards was a +2 with 4 PIM and 7 shots across both games against Omaha.
Playoff Stats: 2 GP 0-0-0, +2, 4 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 3.50 SH/GP, 0.00 Pts/GP
Akira Schmid enjoyed facing his former team last weekend. In Game 1 on Saturday he posted a 25 save shutout victory. In Game 2 on Sunday he was nearly perfect again, making 29 saves on 30 shots to clinch the series.
Playoff Stats: 2 GP 2-0, 0.50 GAA, .982 SV%, 1 SO, 2 QS
VHL & MHL
Arseni Gritsyuk and Avangard Omsk won the Gagarin Cup last Wednesday when they won Game 6 against CSKA Moscow. Gritsyuk didn’t play in the clinching game. Last Friday, the team extended his contract for another 2 seasons taking him through the end of the 2022-23 season.
Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 0.67 SH/GP, 0.00 Pts/GP, 3:45 ATOI
Switzerland & Germany
Swiss National League, Deutsche Eishockey Liga
Sport.ch has confirmed with Lausanne HC that the club has signed Benjamin Baumgartner to a 4 year contract. The Devils hold his rights until June 1, 2022 so they’ll certainly look to find a way to bring him over after next season should he impress in the NLA with Lausanne. Baumgartner has been playing with Austria recently and has 2 goals in 4 games.
Nico Daws didn’t make any appearances for ERC Ingolstadt as they fell 2-1 in their Semifinals series against Eisbären Berlin. Overall, Daws only got into 10 games while spending the season in Germany, though hopefully the experience of being with a pro team helps him take the next step when he returns to North America. He turns 21 in December and should spend next season in either the AHL or ECHL. He hasn’t been signed yet but I have to imagine that it will happen sooner than later.
Which prospects stood out to you this week? What do you think about the seasons that Arseni Gritsyuk and Nico Daws had? How about how Graeme Clarke and Michael Vukojevic have adjusted to the AHL? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!