Welcome to the 13th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! The past week saw Chase Stillman change OHL teams, Luke Hughes move over to the left side of defense for Michigan, and Arseni Gritsyuk continue to lead U21 players in the KHL. Let’s check in on each prospect now.
It was an eventful week for Chase Stillman. Yesterday, he was traded from the Sudbury Wolves to his hometown Peterborough Petes for Alex Pharand and five OHL Priority Selection picks. This move came a day after the team had traded highly rated Anaheim Ducks prospect Mason McTavish to the Hamilton Bulldogs. It’s an interesting move for the Petes as they will count on Stillman to provide offense in McTavish’s absence. It was likely that they made this move with an eye towards next season as well since McTavish is expected to be in the NHL next year but Stillman is likely to spend another season in the OHL. In terms of this season, this sees Stillman move from the last placed team in the Eastern Conference to the 8th placed team in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully this will help his development and he will be able to help push Peterborough to the playoffs.
Mike Davies has this article for The Peterborough Examiner on the trade which notes that Stillman almost went to the London Knights. The article also mentions that Stillman’s season “has been hampered by a broken finger and concussion early in the season and he had a tough battle with COVID-19.” It also has plenty of quotes from the Petes GM Mike Oke, coach Rob Wilson, and Stillman himself. I thought these quotes stood out:
From the coach:
“Chase really brings a dynamic to our team we need. I don’t think we’re as physical up front as I like my teams to be. Chase also adds goal scoring ability. He’s a guy who goes to the net hard. He’s a guy who is going to play pro hockey at the highest level because he’s a guy who does a lot of the right things. He’s still only 18 and he needs to be coached and I think coming here will be really good for him and for the Petes.”
“I’ve heard great things about Rob Wilson. I know him a little bit personally and Patrick Rismiller, my player development coach (with New Jersey), was coached by him in Europe and spoke very highly of him. I’m excited to learn from him and be pushed and be held accountable.”
In terms of on-ice play last week, Stillman had 3 assists (1 EV, 2 PP), -3, 4 PIM, 12 shots, and won 3/11 faceoffs (27.27%) in his final 3 games for the Sudbury Wolves.
Patrick Moynihan and Providence had last week off. They will be back in action on Friday and Saturday against Merrimack.
Case McCarthy had an EN assist, +2, and 2 shots in Boston University’s 7-1 victory over Arizona State last Friday. He didn’t play in Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Arizona State.
Artem Shlaine had a goal, +1, 2 shots, and won 7/15 faceoffs (46.67%) in UConn’s 5-4 victory over Boston College last Saturday. Shlaine is now has 3 goals and 2 assists over his last 3 games. Going back further, he has 3 goals and 6 assists over his last 11 games.
Cole Brady made 31 saves on 37 shots in Arizona State’s loss to Boston University last Friday.
Ethan Edwards was a -1 with 2 PIM and 2 shots across both of Michigan’s victories over UMass last weekend.
Luke Hughes had an assist, +1, and 3 shots across both of those games for Michigan. Hughes had been playing on the right side of the 2nd pairing for Michigan this season but over the past 2 games moved to the left side of that pairing. He’s continued to feature on their 2nd PP unit.
KHL & VHL
Yegor Zaitsev had an even rating, 2 PIM, 4 shots, and averaged 17:02 across 2 games last week.
Daniil Misyul had an even rating and a shot in 12:52 of Lokomotiv’s 4-3 overtime loss to Traktor last Wednesday. He didn’t play in Lokomotiv’s 3-1 loss to Metallurg Mg last Friday.
Arseni Gritsyuk had a PP goal, PP assist, +2, 8 shots, and averaged 17:44 across 2 games last week. Both of his points came in Avangard’s 4-1 victory over Vityaz on Sunday. You can check out that goal below:
Gritsyuk’s 0.72 points per game rate currently ranks 9th all-time among U21 players in the KHL (minimum 30 games played).
Last Saturday, the league announced that Salavat Yulaev was one of three teams with a large amount of positive tests for Covid, thus cancelling their immediate games. That means we’ll have to wait a bit to see Shakir Mukhamadullin resume his season.
Zakhar Bardakov was a +1 with 4 shots, won 15/24 faceoffs (62.5%), and averaged 14:00 across 2 games last week.
Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja
Eetu Pakkila had a goal, -1, 3 shots, and averaged 11:51 across 3 games last week. Check out his goal below:
Topias Vilen and Pelicans spent the last week under quarantine due to Covid infections on the team. They are scheduled to resume their season tomorrow against TPS. They are also set to face KalPa on Friday and Ilves on Saturday.
Jokerit U20 saw their return from the winter break delayed. They are now set to resume their season on January 26. That means that due to the scheduled break and cancellations, Samu Salminen will go over a month since his last game (12/18).
SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell
Nikola Pasic and Sodertalje didn’t play last week as all of their games were postponed. They are scheduled to resume their season tomorrow against Vita Hasten.
Viktor Hurtig was a +1 with 2 PIM and 4 shots across 2 games last week. He hasn’t produced any points through 10 games with Mora IK J20 after posting 11 points in 22 games with Vaxjo Lakers HC J20 earlier this season.
The Rest of Europe
Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, & Czech 1.liga
Lausanne HC had 2 of their 3 games postponed last week. Benjamin Baumgartner did not play in Saturday’s game against Geneve-Servette HC. Hopefully he’ll be back in action for Friday’s game against SC Bern.
Jaromir Pytlik was a -1 with 3 shots and averaged 12:43 across 2 games last week. He didn’t see much PP time this past week.
Jakub Malek didn’t play in VHK Vsetin’s 4-1 loss last Wednesday. They won their next game by forfeit last Saturday. They have 2 games scheduled this week so he should be back in action soon. His 19.59 Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) currently leads the Czech 2nd division. His GSAA per 60 minutes (0.85) and GSAA per 30 shots (0.87) also lead the league.
The Utica Comets won 1 of their 3 games last week. They continue to lead the league with a .820 Winning Percentage. Their 21.3 PP% ranks 7th and their 85.7 PK% ranks 5th.
Wednesday 1/5: The Utica Comets lost to the Toronto Marlies 6-4. Fabian Zetterlund, Chase De Leo, Colton White, and Brian Flynn had the goals for the Comets. Reilly Walsh, Aarne Talvitie, A.J. Greer, Nate Schnarr, Ryan Schmelzer, Nikita Okhotiuk, and De Leo had an assist each. White led the Comets with 7 shots followed by De Leo and Schnarr with 4 shots each. Former members of the Devils organization had big performances for the Marlies in this game. Joey Anderson had 2 goals and an assist, Brett Seney had a goal and 2 assists, Matthew Hellickson had a goal and 2 assists, and Joseph Blandisi had an assist. Mareks Mitens made 25 saves on 30 shots in 57:43. Utica outshot Toronto 36-31. Utica went 1/3 on the PP and didn’t commit any penalties. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:
Friday 1/7: The Utica Comets defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-5 (shootout) in a wild game. The Comets got into penalty trouble early in this one as Tyler Irvine and Kevin Bahl committed minor infractions just a few minutes into the game. The Comets were able to kill off the 5v3 but just after it expired, Valtteri Puustinen was able to convert before Utica could get set to defend the 5v4 PP. However, about a minute and a half later, Alexander Holtz would score to level it after his line would create some chaos in the offensive zone. Aarne Talvitie and Kevin Bahl would earn the assists on that goal. About 2 minutes later, Chase De Leo would work the puck to Jeremy Groleau whose shot would deflect off of Brian Flynn to give Utica a 2-1 lead. A few minutes later, De Leo would take a tripping penalty while Utica was on the PP to create a 4v4 situation. The Penguins won the ensuing draw and quickly set up Jordy Bellerive for the tying goal to make it 2-2. Utica nearly got a 3rd goal on a few occasions. Samue Laberge had an impressive kick pass to spring Ryan Schmezler for a breakaway but he was unable to convert. Bahl also set up Holtz with a quality one timer opportunity on the PP but he was unable to find the back of the net. The teams finished the period tied with 11 shots on goal each.
Utica would dominate the 2nd period with 2 goals and 12-6 shots on goal advantage. Nate Schnarr would convert on the PP after being set up by De Leo and Holtz. Shortly after the Penguins killed off another PP, Schmezler would make it 4-2 Utica with a nice wrist shot following a turnover.
For as dominant and comfortable the Comets were in the 2nd period, the roles were reversed in the 3rd period. Just under 4 minutes into the period, Mareks Mitens gave up a juicy rebound that Jan Drozg pounced on to cut the lead to 4-3. A few minutes later, Puustinen got his 2nd goal of the game off of a one timer in the slot to tie it at 4-4. A couple of minutes after that, Taylor Fedun would give the Penguins a 5-4 lead with 11:27 left. Fortunately for Utica, Fedun would take an interference penalty and the Comets would convert on the PP as Holtz and De Leo set up Frederik Gauthier for the equalizer. Overall, the Penguins outshot the Comets 17-7 in the 3rd period.
Each team would put up 2 shots in the overtime period before moving on to the shootout. Holtz scored on a great move to beat Tommy Nappier. Fabian Zetterlund also scored for the Comets in the shootout with a confident slapshot. Mitens stopped 2/3 shooters to help give the Comets the win. Overall, Holtz led the Comets with 5 shots on goal as they were outshot 36-33 in the game. Mitens made 31 saves on 36 shots in 64:28. Utica went 2/6 on the PP and 4/5 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
20 Zetterlund - 77 Talvitie - 9 Holtz
7 De Leo - 16 Schnarr - 10 Flynn
15 Gambardella - 33 Gauthier - 26 Schmelzer
39 Laberge - 14 Irvine
23 Wotherspoon - 22 Walsh
88 Bahl - 5 Russo
82 Okhotiuk - 38 Groleau
2 Vukojevic (Pairs started out like this but there was a lot of rotation)
PP1: Holtz, Gauthier, Schnarr, Walsh, De Leo
PP2: Zetterlund, Talvitie, Schmelzer, Bahl, Flynn
PK1: Gauthier, Schmelzer, Bahl, Russo
PK2: Zetterlund , Talvitie, Okhotiuk, Wotherspoon
Scratches: White, McGrath, Clarke (Hand Injury), Daws (Injury)
Saturday 1/8: The Utica Comets lost to the Hartford Wolf Pack 2-1. Justin Richards and Alex Whelan had the goals for the Wolf Pack in the 1st and 2nd periods respectively. Frederik Gauthier had a PP goal in the 3rd period for Utica with Chase De Leo and Fabian Zetterlund earning the assists. Zetterlund led the Comets with 4 shots followed by De Leo and Samuel Laberge with 3 shots each. Mareks Mitens made 23 saves on 25 shots in 58:55. Hartford outshot Utica 25-22. Utica went 1/4 on the PP and 4/5 on the PK. Unfortunately for Utica, Alexander Holtz and Kevin Bahl missed this game due to Covid protocols. Here is the gamesheet and Gauthier’s goal:
COMETS ARE ON THE BOARD!— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) January 9, 2022
Utica 1 | Hartford 2 pic.twitter.com/luBEhzDKYJ
Transactions: On 1/6, Colton White, Alexander Holtz, and Kevin Bahl were returned on loan from New Jersey. A.J. Greer was recalled from loan by New Jersey. Patrick Grasso and Jordan Kaplan were returned on loan to Adirondack.
News and Notes:
- G Nico Daws remains sidelined with an injury. This tweet by Ben Birnell of the Observer-Dispatch back on 12/30/21 mentioned that Kevin Dineen didn’t expect Daws back for “two weeks” and “he’s not completely sure on the timeline”. This Thursday will mark two weeks so hopefully we get an update soon.
- RW Graeme Clarke will be out “at least a month” due to a hand injury according to this tweet from Ben Birnell.
- W Fabian Zetterlund added another goal and assist this past week. His points per game rate has gone from 0.41 in 2019-20 to 0.56 in 2020-21 to 0.86 this season. He currently ranks 9th among all U23 players in points per game (minimum 20 games played).
- C Nate Schnarr had a goal and an assist last week. He’s another player that has taken a step in his development this season, going from a healthy scratch to start the year to an important player for the Comets. In his 3 career AHL seasons, his points per game rate has gone from 0.40 in 2019-20 to 0.45 in 2020-21 to 0.73.
Coming Up: Utica is scheduled to visit Rochester on Wednesday, host Syracuse on Friday, and visit Syracuse on Saturday.
Adirondack lost to Maine 3-2 last Friday, defeated Maine 5-2 last Saturday, and lost to Maine 4-1 last Sunday. Jeremy Brodeur played in both of the victories for Maine, making 33 saves on 35 shots in Friday’s game and 36 saves on 37 shots in Sunday’s game.
Adirondack has a light schedule this week, taking on Reading tomorrow night.
Which prospects stood out to you last week? What do you think about the Chase Stillman trade? What about the seasons Fabian Zetterlund and Nate Schnarr are having for Utica? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!