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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 1/4/22

This week’s update notes that the World Junior Championship has been cancelled, the strong performances from the Devils NCAA prospects, and the continued success of Arseni Gritsyuk in the KHL.

New Jersey Devils Prospect Headshots
Cole Brady helped Arizona State to back-to-back victories over Cornell with a couple of 30+ save performances.
Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

The 12th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update is here! The big news of the past week was the cancellation of the World Junior Championship. This week was also highlighted by Patrick Moynihan and Cole Brady’s play in the NCAA, and Arseni Gritsyuk’s play in the KHL. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

World Junior Championship

Last Wednesday, the IIHF announced that the 2022 WJC was cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. There have been some rumors of trying to hold the tournament again in the summer but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

OHL

After 7 straight postponements dating back to December 1, Chase Stillman and the Sudbury Wolves finally resumed their season last Wednesday. In that game, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Stillman had an assist, -1, and a shot. Stillman then missed the New Year’s Eve game, an 8-2 loss to the Mississauga Steelheads. On Sunday, Stillman was a -3 with 3 shots and won 2/5 faceoffs in a 4-3 loss to the Soo Greyhounds. Stillman has kept his role as the top line right wing for the Wolves. Sudbury is scheduled to have a busy week ahead with 4 games on hand.

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan had a goal (EN), 3 assists (2 EV, 1 PP), +3, and a shot in Providence’s 6-2 victory over Bowling Green last Tuesday. The following day he had an even rating and 3 shots in a 2-2 tie against Wisconsin. Here you can see him make a strong play to set up a goal:

Moynihan has gone from just 2 goals and an assist over his first 12 games to 6 goals and 9 assists over his last 11 games.

Case McCarthy was a +1 with 3 shots in Boston University’s 5-1 victory over Brown on New Year’s Eve.

Artem Shlaine had a goal, -2, shot, and won 9/14 faceoffs (64.29%) in UConn’s 6-3 loss to Harvard last Sunday. This was UConn’s first game since November 27 due to various postponements. Shlaine started his season with no points over his first 5 games but since then has 2 goals and 6 assists over his last 10 games.

Cole Brady helped Arizona State to 2 victories over Cornell last weekend. On Saturday, Brady made 31 saves on 33 shots as Arizona State won 5-2. On Sunday, Brady made 31 saves on 33 shots as Arizona State won 3-2. He’s had a challenging season but over his last 3 games (2 starts, 1 relief appearance), Brady has put up a .952 SV%. ASU takes on Boston University this weekend so that should be a solid test for Brady.

Ethan Edwards had an even rating in Michigan’s 0-0 tie against Michigan Tech last Wednesday. Their game the following day against Western Michigan was cancelled. Edwards did draw some praise for his performance in this article from Paul Nasr for the Michigan Daily:

There’s a difference between older players taking up those missing minutes and up-and-coming contributors doing the job. Michigan relied on freshman defenseman Ethan Edwards, playing in just his 15th game, to lead the backcheck and swipe pucks away in do-or-die situations.

As a Michigan Tech skater streaked down the left wing with speed in the second period, Edwards managed to swing his stick around the skater’s body. He skillfully poked the puck away from behind without drawing a penalty.

He also earned praise from the MGoBlog:

I found myself saying “That’s a nice play from Edwards” about four or five times, tonight. Defensively, I would guess he had the best game of his career. Unfortunately, in overtime, he made one horrendous turnover in the offensive zone that lead to a kinda breakaway, Lambert penalty, and penalty shot. Still, I would say this was a very encouraging game from Ethan Edwards. I look for him to have a good second half.

Russia

KHL & VHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an assist, +1, 4 PIM, 3 shots, and averaged 17:21 across 3 games last week.

Daniil Misyul was a -1 with a shot and averaged 15:04 across 2 games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk had a goal, 2 PP assists, +1, 12 shots, and averaged 19:12 across 3 games last week. Check out his latest goal below:

Gritsyuk continues to lead all U21 players in the KHL in goals (15), points (26), and points per game (0.70).

Zakhar Bardakov had an even rating, shot, won 7/13 faceoffs (53.85%), and played 16:32 in SKA’s only game last week.

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila was a -1 with 6 shots and averaged 11:18 across 2 games last week. He’s spent his last 7 games in a fourth line left wing role for Ilves who are one of the best teams in Liiga.

Topias Vilen had an even rating, 6 shots, and averaged 20:41 across 2 games last week. His role with Pelicans has grown recently, as his average ice time went from 12:32 over his first 20 games as a 3rd pairing defenseman to 19:05 over his last 12 games as he’s moved into the top 4. Pelicans are currently on track to be a playoff team.

Samu Salminen and Jokerit U20 are set to resume their season on January 14 against HPK U20.

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic was a -1 with 5 shots across 2 games last week. Södertälje’s game yesterday was postponed as well as their game on Friday. They are set to resume their season on January 12 now.

Viktor Hurtig and Mora J20 are set to resume their season on Friday against Växjö J20. This will be the start of the 2nd half of the J20 regular season with Mora J20 competing against other fellow top 10 teams from both the North and the South.

The Rest of Europe

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

Lausanne’s game on Sunday was postponed as well as their game today. Hopefully Benjamin Baumgartner will be back on the ice soon as Lausanne is scheduled to play on Friday.

Jaromir Pytlik had an even rating, 2 shots, and averaged 13:21 across 2 games last week. He averaged 2:32 on the PP across those games and also got to play one of those games on the same line as Jaromir Jagr. Unfortunately, Kladno lost both of those games and remains in 2nd to last place in the league.

AHL

The Utica Comets were scheduled to play three games last week but ended up only playing one as their games against Rochester and Springfield were postponed. Utica is currently the top team in the AHL with a .886 Winning Percentage. The Comets 19.4 PP% ranks 13th in the league while their 86.5 PK% is tied for 4th.

Friday 12/31: The Utica Comets suffered a 3rd period collapse and lost in overtime to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6-5. The game started well for Utica as they quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period. Chase De Leo had the opening goal after Brian Flynn managed to chip a puck through the defense to spring De Leo for a breakaway just under 3 minutes into the game. A few minutes later, Colton White would extend the lead when he beat Phantoms goaltender Pat Nagle with a wrist shot after some fine puck movement from Michael Vukojevic and Tyler Irvine. Later in the period, De Leo would get his 2nd goal of the game after some more nice puck movement from Utica with Robbie Russo and Jeremy Groleau earning the assists.

The 2nd period would see the Comets and Phantoms exchange goals. Colton White scored his 2nd of the game on a well placed wrist shot with Fabian Zetterlund picking up the assist just under 5 minutes into the period. The Phantoms would respond just after that when defenseman Logan Day would skate into space unattended to beat Comets goaltender Mareks Mitens clean. Utica quickly responded when Frederik Gauthier, set up on a nice pass zone entry by Graeme Clarke, would score to make it 5-1. Shortly after this, Irvine had a breakaway but was unable to find the back of the net. The Phantoms would pull a goal back with under 4 minutes left in the period when Isaac Ratcliffe tipped a puck past Mitens.

It seemed inevitable that Utica would win this game with a 5-2 lead to open the 3rd period. Credit to the Phantoms for pulling off a solid comeback with a trio of 3rd period goals to force overtime. The Phantoms made it a 5-3 game just 39 seconds into the period when Reilly Walsh had a terrible turnover in front of goal that allowed Cal O’Reilly to set up Hayden Hodgson for a goal. A few minutes later the Phantoms were able to tip another puck past Mitens with Garrett Wilson earning the goal to make it 5-4. Utica nearly pulled a goal back after this when Zetterlund and Aarne Talvitie combined on an nice passing play but the shot wasn’t on target. Samuel Laberge also had a breakaway but was unable to score. De Leo and A.J. Greer also would combine on a 2v1 but were unable to find the net. These missed opportunities would prove costly as the Phantoms would tie the game with just 36 seconds left with the extra attacker. It was Hodgson once again for the Phantoms with the goal.

The overtime period would see Zetterlund nearly winning it for Utica on a great individual effort. However, with about a minute left in the period, Mitens would try to play the puck out of pressure behind his net but instead turned it over to create a 2v1 chance for the Phantoms. Hodgson would send the puck over to O’Reilly who would win the game for the Phantoms. Utica outshot Lehigh Valley 34-30. Utica went 0/2 on the PP and 3/3 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and line up:

Lineup:

7 De Leo - 16 Schnarr - 10 Flynn

25 Foote - 77 Talvitie - 20 Zetterlund

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 92 Clarke

39 Laberge - 14 Irvine - 13 McGrath

82 Okhotiuk - 22 Walsh

38 Groleau - 5 Russo

2 Vukojevic - 6 White

34 Mitens

31 Tomeo

PP1: Flynn, Schnarr, De Leo, Walsh, White

PP2: Greer, Clarke, Foote, Zetterlund, Russo

PK1: Greer, Gauthier, Groleau, Russo

PK2: Foote, Talvitie, Okhotiuk, White (De Leo, Zetterlund, Flynn, and Clarke also saw time)

Scratches: Gambardella, Wotherspoon, Schmelzer, Daws

Transactions: On 12/30, the Comets signed goatlender David Tomeo to amateur tryout and recalled forwards Samuel Laberge and Tyler Irvine from Adirondack. On 1/1, Laberge and Irvine were returned to Adirondack and forwards Nolan Foote and Alexander Holtz were recalled by New Jersey for the taxi squad. On 1/3, forwards Patrick Grasso, Tyler Irvine, Jordan Kaplan, and Samuel Laberge were recalled from Adirondack.

Coming Up: Utica is scheduled to have a busy week with four games. They are supposed to travel to Toronto for tomorrow’s game, then they are supposed to be at home for Friday’s game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Saturday’s game against Hartford, then finally they are supposed to visit Providence on Monday.

ECHL

Adirondack was able to play three of their four scheduled games last week. They lost 5-4 to Reading on Wednesday, defeated Newfoundland 4-3 in overtime on Friday, and lost 3-2 to Maine in overtime on Saturday. Unfortunately, their game on Sunday against Trois-Rivieres on Sunday was postponed. Adirondack is currently tied for 3rd place in the North Division with 26 points through 23 games.

Adirondack is scheduled to play three games against Maine this weekend. They will host the Mariners on Friday and then travel to Maine for the other two games.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you last week? How do you feel about the recent production from Patrick Moynihan? What about Cole Brady’s strong play? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!