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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 2/22/22

This week’s update features Luke Hughes scoring a highlight reel goal for Michigan, Arseni Gritsyuk winning a Silver Medal in the Olympics, and Alexander Holtz continuing to score for Utica.

Ice Hockey - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 14
Arseni Gritsyuk scored the winning goal in the shootout to send Russia to the Gold Medal game. They would fall to Finland in that match but Gritsyuk will be going home with a Silver Medal.
Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Welcome to the 19th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week saw Luke Hughes dominate for Michigan with three goals, one of which was an absolute highlight reel goal. It also saw Arseni Gritsyuk score a clutch shootout goal en route to helping his team capture a Silver Medal in the Olympics. Alexander Holtz also continued to score for Utica as the team picked up two more wins. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

OHL

Chase Stillman had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), -2, 4 PIM, and 6 shots across 3 games last week. He is currently on an 8 game point streak with 4 goals and 5 assists during that stretch. Check out his latest goals below:

NCAA

Patrick Moynihan had a PP assist, even rating, 2 PIM, and 6 shots across 2 games last weekend.

Case McCarthy and Boston University had last week off.

Artem Shlaine had an even rating, 4 shots, and won 14/24 faceoffs (58.33%) across 2 games last weekend.

Cole Brady and Arizona State have been off since February 5. They will resume their season this weekend with a pair of games against Alaska.

Ethan Edwards had an even rating, 2 PIM, and 7 shots across 2 games last weekend.

Luke Hughes put in more great performances for Michigan last weekend. In Friday’s 5-3 victory over Ohio State, Hughes had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 EN), +2, 2 PIM, and 6 shots. In Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Ohio State, Hughes had a goal, +1, 2 PIM, and 5 shots. His 16 goals and 32 points lead all NCAA defensemen. He leads all U19 skaters in goals and points too. According to Elite Prospects, he’s currently tied for 2nd in all-time goals/season by a U19 defensemen with Craig Redmond (16 goals in 1982-83), Ron Wilson (16 goals in 1973-74), and Gregory Olson (16 goals in 1979-80). Paul Hurley tops the list with 22 goals in 1964-65.

Nick Moen has this article about Hughes and his highlight reel goal from Saturday’s game for The Michigan Daily. I thought these quotes stood out:

“He just has so much speed and control in his edges,” sophomore forward Philippe Lapointe said, praising Hughes. “He makes it look so easy. It was effortless. He undressed the goalie and it was a spectacular goal.”

“He’s a game changer,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “He’s grown so much. He has tremendous speed, creativity and the wherewithal to make a play like that. His confidence is through the roof.”

Here is Hughes’ first goal from Friday’s game which broke a record for Michigan:

Here is the insane goal he scored in Saturday’s game. If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to watch this (or watch it again):

Russia

KHL & VHL

The KHL regular season has ended and the playoffs will begin on March 1.

Yegor Zaitsev and Dynamo Moscow finished 4th in the Western Conference and will take on Severstal in the Quarterfinals.

Daniil Misyul and Lokomotiv finished 6th in the Western Conference and will take on CSKA Moscow in the Quarterfinals.

Arseni Gritsyuk and Avangard finished 5th in the Eastern Conference and will take on Ak Bars in the Quarterfinals.

Shakir Mukhamadullin and Salavat Yulaev finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference and will take on Sibir in the Quarterfinals.

Zakhar Bardakov and SKA finished 1st in the Western Conference and will take on Dinamo Minsk in the Quarterfinals.

Congrats to Arseni Gritsyuk for winning a Silver Medal at the Olympics! He had 2 assists, +2, and a shot in 11:55 in Russia’s 3-1 victory over Denmark in the Quarterfinals. He then was a -1 with 3 shots in 13:31 against Sweden in the Semifinals. Most importantly, he stepped up to score the winning goal in the shootout to send his team to the Gold Medal game. In the final, a 2-1 loss to Finland, Gritsyuk had an even rating and 2 shots in 10:53. He finished the Olympics with a goal and 2 assists in 6 games. Check out his shootout winner in the Semifinals and this nice chance he had in the Gold Medal game:

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila had an assist, even rating, and 4 shots in 16:56 in Ilves 4-3 loss to Jukurit on Saturday. This snapped a 7 game streak without a point.

Topias Vilen missed all 3 games for Pelicans last week.

Samu Salminen had a goal, PP assist, -1, 16 shots, won 52/90 faceoffs (57.78%), and averaged 21:47 across 3 games last week.

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic had a PP assist, -1, 3 shots, and averaged 13:33 across 2 games last week.

Viktor Hurtig had a goal, 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), an even rating, and 9 shots across 3 games last week.

The Rest of Europe

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

Quality Start Percentage (QS%); Really Bad Start Percentage (RBS%); Bail Out Percentage (BO%); Goals Allowed Percentage Minus (GA%-); Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA); Goals Saved Above Average per 60 Minutes (GSAA/60); Goals Saved Above Average per 30 Shots (GSAA/30)

Benjamin Baumgartner and Lausanne HC were off for the Olympic break. They will resume their season today against HC Ambri-Piotta. Elite Prospects now has a projection available for players on their profiles. Baumgartner is on pace for 8 goals and 6 assists in 47 games this season. This is a step back from his 2020-21 season where he had 8 goals and 17 assists in 47 games while with HC Davos.

Jaromir Pytlik was a -1 with a shot in 17:13 in Rytiri Kladno’s 3-2 loss to Berani Zlin last Thursday. He featured on the PK with 3:07 of ice time coming while his team was shorthanded.

Jakub Malek rebounded well from a rare tough week last time out. Last Wednesday, he made 21 saves on 22 shots in a 5-1 victory. Last Saturday, he made 36 saves on 37 shots in a 2-1 win. Malek currently ranks 3rd in GSAA (16.86), 1st in GSAA per 60 minutes (0.57), and 2nd in GSAA per 30 shots (0.60).

AHL

Quality Start Percentage (QS%); Really Bad Start Percentage (RBS%); Bail Out Percentage (BO%); Goals Allowed Percentage Minus (GA%-); Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA); Goals Saved Above Average per 60 Minutes (GSAA/60); Goals Saved Above Average per 30 Shots (GSAA/30); Workload (WL) - Shots Per 60 Minutes

Utica went 2-1 last week to improve to 30-9-5-0 on the season. Utica has the 5th ranked PP at 23.2% while their PK is ranked 12th at 81.3%

Wednesday 2/16: The Utica Comets lost to the Toronto Marlies 6-2. Fabian Zetterlund had the first Comets goal, coming on the PP, with Robbie Russo and Joe Gambardella picking up the assists. Alexander Holtz had the other Comets goal with Chase De Leo and Michael Vukojevic earning the assists. Holtz led the way with 6 shots. Akira Schmid made 25 saves on 31 shots. Utica outshot Toronto 34-31 and went 1/3 on the PP and 3/5 on the PK. A number of former Devils had success in this game with Joseph Blandisi scoring 2 goals, Brett Seney picking up 3 assists, and Joey Anderson earning 2 assists. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:

Lineup:

17 Greer - 33 Gauthier - 9 Holtz

7 De Leo - 16 Schnarr - 20 Zetterlund

25 Foote - 10 Flynn - 15 Gambardella

39 Laberge - 26 Schmelzer - 92 Clarke

82 Okhotiuk - 88 Bahl

11 Masonious - 5 Russo

2 Vukojevic - 22 Walsh

93 Schmid

34 Mitens

PP1: Holtz, Schnarr, De Leo, Greer, Walsh

PP2: Foote, Gambardella, Zetterlund, Flynn, Russo

PK1: Greer, Gauthier, Okhotiuk, Bahl

PK2: Foote, Schmelzer, Vukojevic, Russo

Also saw PK time: De Leo, Zetterlund, Schnarr, Walsh

Scratches: McGrath, Talvitie, Groleau

Friday 2/18: The Utica Comets defeated the Rochester Americans 4-2. After a scoreless opening period, A.J. Greer netted a natural hat trick in the 2nd period to give Utica a 3-0 lead. His first goal was shorthanded, the second goal on the PP with Chase De Leo and Reilly Walsh earning the assists, and his third goal shorthanded with Frederik Gauthier earning the assist. Brett Murray did manage to pull a goal back for Rochester with 56 seconds remaining in the period. Patrick Polino scored midway through the final period for Rochester to close the gap to 3-2. Greer would get his fourth goal of the game when he scored an empty net goal with seconds remaining which was assisted by Gauthier. Greer led the Comets with 6 shots. Nico Daws made 26 saves on 28 shots to earn the victory. Utica outshot Rochester 30-28 and went 1/5 on the PP and 6/6 on the PK. The physical game saw Nikita Okhotiuk and Samuel Laberge both pick up fighting majors in the 3rd period. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:

Saturday 2/19: The Utica Comets defeated the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3-2 via a shootout. The 1st period saw both teams exchange goals as Charlie Gerard scored for the Phantoms and Alexander Holtz for the Comets. Michael Vukojevic and Chase De Leo had the assists on the Holtz goal. Nolan Foote would give Utica a lead in the 2nd period when he scored with Brian Flynn and Vukojevic assisting on that goal. Hayden Hodgson would level the game a few minutes into the 3rd period when he scored for the Phantoms. Shot leaders for Utica included A.J. Greer (6), Holtz (5), and Fabian Zetterlund (4). Akira Schmid made 25 saves on 27 shots across regulation and overtime. Holtz, Foote, and Graeme Clarke were unable to score in the opening 3 rounds of the shootout but fortunately Greer converted on his chance. Schmid was able to stop all 4 Phantoms he faced. Utica outshot Lehigh Valley 31-27 and went 0/3 on the PP and 4/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Notes:

  • Alexander Holtz had 2 more goals last week to give him 18 goals in 30 games. That is a 0.60 goals per game rate which projects out to 35 goals in 58 games. He’s tied for the lead in goals among U21 players with Jack Quinn (though Holtz has played 6 more games). Among that group, Holtz ranks 2nd with a 1.13 points per game rate.
  • Akira Schmid continues to lead the AHL with a .929 SV%, is 2nd with a 0.80 GSAA per 60 minutes, and leads the league with a 0.80 GSAA per 30 shots.
  • Nico Daws ranks 11th with a .918 SV%, 10th with a 0.46 GSAA per 60 minutes, and 10th with a 0.47 GSAA per 30 shots.

Coming Up: Utica will take on Hershey on Friday, Syracuse on Saturday, and Hershey on Sunday.

ECHL

Quality Start Percentage (QS%); Really Bad Start Percentage (RBS%); Bail Out Percentage (BO%); Goals Allowed Percentage Minus (GA%-); Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA); Goals Saved Above Average per 60 Minutes (GSAA/60); Goals Saved Above Average per 30 Shots (GSAA/30); Workload (WL) - Shots Per 60 Minutes

It was a tough week for Adirondack as they lost all 3 of their games. They fell 5-3 to Trois-Rivieres on Tuesday, 6-4 to Trois-Rivieres on Friday, and 3-2 to Newfoundland on Saturday. They’ll look to rebound this week as they take on Newfoundland today and tomorrow as well as Maine on Friday and Saturday.

Your Take

Which players stood out to you last week? How impressed with Luke Hughes are you? What about Arseni Gritsyuk’s performance at the Olympics? Do you expect to see Alexander Holtz called up soon? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!