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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/31/22

This week’s update features Ethan Edwards producing for Michigan, Jakub Malek continue to lead goaltenders in the Czech 2nd division, and the Utica Comets win 3 out of their 4 games.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: JAN 29 Michigan at Wisconsin
Ethan Edwards has seen an increased role for Michigan lately as a top four defensemen. He’s rewarded them with solid two-way play and now has a 3 game scoring streak with a goal and 3 assists.
Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the 16th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week saw Ethan Edwards showcase his skills for Michigan, Jakub Malek continue to be a top goaltender in the Czech 2nd division, and the Utica Comets continue to be the top team in the AHL thanks to impressive performances from Fabian Zetterlund and Nico Daws. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

OHL

Chase Stillman has 2 PP goals, an EN assist, -1, 2 PIM, 13 shots, and won 3/5 faceoffs across 4 games last week. Check out one of his recent goals below:

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan had a goal, -1, and 5 shots across 2 games last week. Check out his goal below:

Case McCarthy missed both of Boston University’s games last week. He has now missed 6 games in a row.

Artem Shlaine was a -1 with 3 shots and won 18/31 faceoffs across 2 games last weekend.

Cole Brady didn’t play in either of Arizona States defeats to Minnesota State last weekend. Hopefully he will play in either of their games against Alaska this upcoming weekend.

Ethan Edwards had a goal, 2 assists, +5, 2 PIM, and 7 shots as Michigan beat Wisconsin twice last weekend. Edwards now has a 3 game scoring streak with a goal and 3 assists during that stretch. Check out the nice individual effort for his goal below:

Luke Hughes had a goal, +2, and 4 shots in 2 games for Michigan. Check out his goal below:

Russia

KHL & VHL

The KHL is currently on a break for the Olympics. The league did tweet out a highlights package of Arseni Gritsyuk to celebrate his accomplishment of making the Russian team. Russia is in Group B and will take on Switzerland on February 9, Denmark on February 11, and Czechia on February 12.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila did not play in Ilves 5-3 victory over Sport last Wednesday. They have a busier week coming up with 3 games on the schedule.

Topias Vilen did not play in either of Pelicans’ games last week. He had missed 3 games in a row to start January, came back and played 5:09 on January 20, and now has missed these 2 games.

Samu Salminen and Jokerit U20 are set to finally resume their season on Wednesday against Assat U20. He hasn’t had a game since December 18.

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic had a PP goal, even rating, 5 shots, and won 2/5 faceoffs across 2 games last week. The goal came in last Wednesday’s game and snapped a 6 game streak without a point. He’s continued to be the 2nd line left wing for Sodertalje SK so he’s certainly being given a chance to contribute offensively. Hopefully he’ll start to produce more down the stretch.

Viktor Hurtig was a -4 with a shot in Mora IK J20’s only game last week.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, & Czech 1.liga

Benjamin Baumgartner was a -1 with 2 shots and won 7/9 faceoffs in 12:30 in Lausanne HC’s 5-1 loss to ZSC Lions last Thursday. The National League is now going on an Olympic break until February 22.

Jaromir Pytlik was a -1 with 2 PIM, 7 shots, and averaged 15:28 across 3 games last week.

Jakub Malek made 15 saves on 16 shots in a victory over HC Stadion Litomerice last Wednesday. He then made 33 saves on 35 shots in a victory over HC Slavia Praha last Saturday. He continues to lead the Czech 2nd division in SV% and Goals Saved Above Average.

AHL

The Utica Comets won 3 out of their 4 games last week. They remain the top team in the AHL with a 0.786 winning percentage. Their 23.9 PP% ranks 3rd and their 81.2 PK% ranks 18th.

Tuesday 1/25: The Utica Comets shutout the Providence Bruins 4-0. Ryan Schmelzer led the way with 2 goals and an assist. Fabian Zetterlund and Chase De Leo had a goal and an assist each. Michael Vukojevic, Alexander Holtz, Reilly Walsh, Nolan Foote, and Jeremy Groleau each had an assist. Schmelzer led the team with 5 shots as the Bruins outshot the Comets 28-21. Nico Daws was perfect as he stopped all 28 shots he faced. Utica went 1/4 on the PP and 2/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:

Friday 1/28: The Utica Comets lost 4-3 to the Charlotte Checkers in overtime. Chase De Leo got the Comets on the board just over a minute into the game after being set up with a nice backhand pass across the zone by Alexander Holtz. Michael Vukojevic also earned an assist on the play. Tyler Irvine nearly made it 2-0 Comets but couldn’t finish off a nice passing play by Joe Gambardella and A.J. Greer. Moments later, Charlotte would even the game when a puck would bounce of the endwall behind the Comets goal and Henry Bowlby set up Cole Schwindt for the tying goal. With just under 5 minutes left in the 1st period, Holtz set up Greer for a quality chance but the puck rang off the post. Fabian Zetterlund also hit a post with just under 2 and a half minutes left. De Leo would score his 2nd goal of the game with 50 seconds left in the period after Greer created a turnover and set him up to give the Comets a 2-1 lead.

Charlotte wasted no time in the 2nd period as Kole Lind tied the game on the PP after Utica was under sustained pressure in their zone. Shortly after that, the Comets would have a PP but were unable to convert despite Holtz looking dangerous for the top unit. After the PP, Nico Daws made a good stop on a 2v1 chance for Charlotte and then Gauthier would be stopped on the Comets own 2v1 chance. Unfortunately for the Comets, Reilly Walsh would get outworked by Schwindt for Charlotte’s 3rd goal. Aarne Talvitie did manage to get that goal back almost immediately when he gathered a loose puck in front of the net and beat the goaltender. Samuel Laberge and Brian Flynn earned the assists on that goal.

Neither team had any great chances on goal in the 3rd period with the exception of Charlotte hitting the cross back just over 5 minutes into the period. It did feature Kevin Bahl throwing 2 huge hits back-to-back late in regulation. The game would go to overtime where De Leo nearly won it for Utica. The Comets nearly won it again in overtime when De Leo and Holtz combined for a nice high to low play but Charlotte would immediately take the puck following that chance and score on a 3v1 with Zac Dalpe netting the winner. Greer led the Comets with 4 shots as they were outshot 32-27. Daws made 28 saves on 32 shots. Utica went 0/3 on the PP and 1/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, lineup, and highlights:

Lineup:

25 Foote - 26 Schmezler - 20 Zetterlund

7 De Leo - 77 Talvitie - 9 Holtz

39 Laberge - 33 Gauthier - 10 Flynn

17 Greer - 14 Irvine - 15 Gambardella

88 Bahl - 38 Groleau

82 Okhotiuk - 22 Walsh

2 Vukojevic - 5 Russo

35 Daws

34 Mitens

Lines changed to this midway through:

Foote - Schmelzer - Zetterlund

Greer - De Leo - Holtz

Laberge - Talvitie - Flynn

Irvine - Gauthier - Gambardella

PP1: Foote, Schmelzer, De Leo, Holtz, Walsh

PP2: Zetterlund, Flynn, Greer, Vukojevic, Russo

PK1: Gauthier, Greer, Okhotiuk, Russo

PK2: Foote, Schmelzer, Bahl, Groleau (Zetterlund also saw time)

Scratches: McGrath, Schnarr (inj.), Rivera (inj.), Clarke (inj.), Masonius, Wotherspoon (Olympics)

Saturday 1/29: The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans 4-2. Fabian Zetterlund (2 PP, 1 EN) had a hat trick while Aarne Talvitie had the other goal. Robbie Russo, A.J. Greer, and Kevin Bahl each had 2 assists while Joe Gambardella picked up 1 for himself. Zetterlund also led the way with 8 shots as Utica was outshot 30-27. Nico Daws made 28 saves on 30 shots to pick up the win. Utica went 2/6 on the PP and 1/1 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and lineup:

Lineup:

25 Foote - 26 Schmelzer - 20 Zetterlund

15 Gambardella - 7 De Leo - 9 Holtz

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 10 Flynn

39 Laberge - 77 Talvitie - 14 Irvine

88 Bahl - 5 Russo

82 Okhotiuk - 22 Walsh

2 Vukojevic - 38 Groleau

35 Daws

34 Mitens

PP1: Foote, Schmelzer, De Leo, Holtz, Walsh

PP2: Gambardella, Greer, Flynn, Zetterlund, Russo

- I only saw the 1st period so I don’t know what the PK looked like for this game.

Scratches: McGrath, Schnarr (inj.), Rivera (inj.), Clarke (inj.), Masonius, Wotherspoon (Olympics)

Sunday 1/30: The Utica Comets defeated the Cleveland Monsters 3-2. A.J. Greer, Kevin Bahl, and Joe Gambardella had the goals for Utica. Gambardella had 2 assists while Robbie Russo and Alexander Holtz each had an assist. Greer led the way with 3 shots as Utica was outshot 39-16. Mareks Mitens made 37 saves on 39 shots to earn the win. Utica went 1/4 on the PP and 5/6 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet.

Notes:

  • RW Alexander Holtz had 3 assists in 4 games last week, with all of them being at even strength and primary.
  • D Michael Vukojevic had just one point over his first 7 games. He now has 7 points over his last 14 games. Being able to play regularly in the lineup has really seemed to help him find his offensive game.
  • W Fabian Zetterlund continued his breakout season by adding 4 goals and an assist in 4 games last week. His goal breakdown came to 1 EV, 2 PP, 1 EN with the assist being a primary one at even strength. He’s shown the ability to score dirty goals in front of the net and a nice slapshot that he can utilize on the PP.
  • G Nico Daws had an encouraging week, leading the team to 2 wins and a point in an overtime loss. He added a shutout and 2 Quality Starts to his season totals. He had a .933 SV% across those 3 starts last week.

Coming Up: Utica will take on Laval on Wednesday and Friday as well as Springfield on Saturday.

ECHL

Adirondack beat Trois-Rivieres 5-3 on Thursday, lost 5-2 to Reading on Friday, and lost 6-3 to Trois-Rivieres on Saturday. This week, they will take on the Fort Wayne Komets on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this past week? What do you think of the recent production from Ethan Edwards? What about the season that Fabian Zetterlund is having for Utica? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!