Welcome to the 17th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This week saw Case McCarthy return to the Boston University line up just in time for the Beanpot. It also saw Artem Shlaine have a very productive weekend for UConn. Over in Europe, Samu Salminen’s Jokerit U20 team finally resumed their season and Nikola Pasic had a goal and an assist in the Allsvensken. Let’s check in on each prospect now.
Chase Stillman had a goal, assist, -3, 2 PIM, 10 shots, and won 1/4 faceoffs across 3 games last week. Peterborough is currently tied for 8th place in the Eastern Conference with Stillman’s former team, Sudbury, at 30 points each. Peterborough currently has a game in hand. Check out Stillman’s latest goal:
Patrick Moynihan had a PP goal, even rating, and 5 shots across 2 games for Providence last week. Check out his latest goal below:
Case McCarthy had a PP assist and even rating in Boston University’s 4-0 victory over Maine last Friday. That was his first game after missing 6 games due to some type of injury and he stepped right back into his top pairing role. Yesterday, he helped BU to a 4-3 victory over Harvard in the Beanpot Semifinals. He had an assist, +1, and 3 shots in that game. They will take on the winner of last night’s Northeastern - Boston College game in the Final on February 14.
McCarthy has a pretty colorful profile. Solid offence grade is largely driven by the extremely high goal rate, but the underlying metrics aren't as good. Having good success in transition as a passer. Doesn't seem to win that many puck battles, which hurts his DZ grade. #NJDevils https://t.co/3pzFHEhQU5 pic.twitter.com/YmGGEOa9e6— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 6, 2022
Artem Shlaine had an EN goal, 3 assists, +4, 3 shots, and won 12/21 faceoffs (57.14%) across 2 games for UConn last week.
Cole Brady didn’t play in either of Arizona State’s games against Alaska last weekend. ASU has now lost 4 in a row with Ben Kraws starting all of those games and putting up a .890 SV% during that stretch. Brady hasn’t played since January 7 so hopefully he gets in a game soon. ASU has 4 games left in their season. 2 games at Alaska on February 25 and 26 and 2 games at home against Long Island on March 11 and 12.
Michigan had last week off. Ethan Edwards and Luke Hughes will be back in action this weekend against Michigan State. Below are their NCAA player cards from Lassi Alanen:
Edwards is having a good freshman season. Good primary assist rate combined with very solid ixG and shot assist numbers. Does really when carrying the puck in transition, but has more trouble when he has to pass it. Also pretty good success rate in puck battles. #NJDevils https://t.co/gVzCFWKJvl pic.twitter.com/gKmrqE4XNF— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 5, 2022
Hughes has been very strong offensively and in transition. High 5v5 goal rate combined with high shot volume and xG generation. One if not the highest carry entry rates in the league. A lot of successful dekes, too, with a very solid success rate. #NJDevils https://t.co/iGvT4uFAUT pic.twitter.com/g8Mbkn4QsV— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 5, 2022
KHL & VHL
The KHL announced last week that they were intending to change the schedule to ensure the start of the playoffs on March 1. Here is what the KHL’s English site had to say in their weekly review:
The KHL announced how it will conclude the 2021-2022 season, which has been hampered by games called off due to the pandemic. Having previously extended the scheduled pause to enable players to compete at the Olympics, the league’s management has now decided that the fairest way to complete the regular season and determine this season’s playoff participants is to calculate finishing positions on a points-per-game basis. The remaining fixtures, set to be played in the final week of February, will not take place. The 16 qualifying teams will commence the playoff campaign from March 1.
This change would still see all of the Devils KHL prospects in action for the Gagarin Cup playoffs.
In Olympic news, Arseni Gritsyuk and Russia will start their group play this week. They take on Switzerland tomorrow, Denmark on Friday, and Czechia on Saturday. It’s also worth noting that Shakir Mukhamadullin has been added to Russia’s reserve list for the tournament.
Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja
Eetu Pakkila had an even rating, 6 shots, and averaged 16:47 across 2 games last week. Ilves is currently the best team in Liiga with 83 points through 42 games.
Topias Vilen had an even rating, 2 PIM, 3 shots, and averaged 13:46 across 3 games last week. It’s worth noting that he played 20:16 in the first game of the week before playing 11:02 and 10:00 in the other 2 games. Pelicans are currently the 9th ranked team in Liiga with 64 points through 42 games. A finish anywhere from 7th through 10th would see them in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Samu Salminen and Jokerit U20 were finally able to resume their season after not playing since mid-December. Across 2 games last week, Salminen had 2 assists (1 EV, 1 PP), an even rating, 10 shots, won 30/40 faceoffs (75%), and averaged 17:08.
SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell
Nikola Pasic had a goal, assist, +1, and 4 shots across 2 games last week. He now has 3 points over his last 4 games so hopefully this is a sign that he’s heating up.
Viktor Hurtig was a -1 with 6 PIM and 8 shots across 3 games 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 his only game last week. Lausanne HC are now off until February 22 as the NL takes an Olympic break.
Jaromir Pytlik was a +2 with 3 shots and averaged 15:02 across 2 games last week.
Jakub Malek didn’t play in any of VHK Vsetin’s games last week. He didn’t dress in the first 2 games of the week but did back up in the third game so perhaps he had a minor injury that’s already healed.
The Utica Comets went 2-1 last week to remain the top team in the AHL with a .776 Winning Percentage. Their 23.3 PP% ranks 3rd and their 80.8 PK% is tied for 19th.
Wednesday 2/2: The Utica Comets lost 4-2 to the Laval Rocket. Utica jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Reilly Walsh (from Joe Gambardella and Alexander Holtz) and Holtz (from A.J. Greer and Frederik Gauthier). Laval ended up pulling a goal back in the 2nd period and then adding 3 goals (1 EV, 1 PP, 1 EN) in the 3rd period to secure the win. Brian Flynn led all players with 6 shots. Nico Daws made 21 saves on 24 shots. Utica outshot Laval 27-25 and went 0/3 on the PP and 1/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Here's how we'll lineup against the Rocket tonight ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/z5neUNzY49— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) February 2, 2022
Friday 2/4: The Utica Comets defeated the Laval Rocket 3-2 in overtime. Utica jumped out to another 2-0 1st period lead thanks to a pair of goals from A.J. Greer. Alexander Holtz and Frederik Gauthier assisted on the 1st goal at even strength. Joe Gambardella and Fabian Zetterlund assisted on the 2nd goal which came on the PP. Laval scored a goal in both the 2nd and 3rd periods to force overtime. Holtz would score the game winner for Utica just 21 seconds into overtime with Reilly Walsh and Gauthier earning the assists. It was a nice individual effort by Holtz to skate the puck into the offensive zone and then find his spot for the winning goal.
As the Comets were celebrating, a near brawl almost took place when former Devils draft pick Brandon Baddock, from the disastrous 2014 class, and his Laval teammates Gianni Fairbrother and Danick Martel got into it with Joe Gambardella and Patrick McGrath for Utica. Baddock, Fairbrother, and Martel all got fighting majors and a game misconduct for Laval while Gambardella got a fighting major and a double game misconduct and McGrath got a fighting major for Utica. The gamesheet list Utica getting a bench game misconduct attributed to the coach. Kevin Dineen was out there but was doing a better job than the officials of breaking up the fights and keeping the teams separated. Fabian Zetterlund seemed to enjoy the show as he skated around the ice pumping up the crowd during the fracas.
Holtz had 6 shots followed by Greer and Zetterlund with 5 each. Akira Schmid made 20 saves on 22 shots to earn the victory. Utica outshot Laval 35-22 and went 1/3 on the PP and 2/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Saturday 2/5: The Utica Comets defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-1. Kevin Bahl had a goal and 2 assists followed by Joe Gambardella and A.J. Greer with a goal and an assist each. Brian Flynn and Aarne Talvitie had the other goals for Utica. Reilly Walsh had 2 assists followed by Alexander Holtz, Fabian Zetterlund, Nolan Foote, and Frederik Gauthier with an assist each. Zetterlund led the way with 5 shots. Akira Schmid made 29 saves on 30 shots to earn the win. Utica was outshot 30-28 by Springfield and went 0/1 on the PP and 3/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Greer, Gauthier and Holtz the headliners.— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) February 5, 2022
The rest of tonight's artists: pic.twitter.com/cTIt1JktMt
Alexander Holtz Spotlight: Ben Birnell, now covering the Utica Comets for the Rome Sentinel, has this article about Alexander Holtz’s development in the AHL. It notes that Holtz was recently named AHL Rookie of the Month for January. It also includes quotes from Holtz and Utica Comets assistant coach and Devils legend Sergei Brylin. It’s worth checking out the full article but this quote from Brylin stood out to me:
“Obviously, he’s playing better without the puck,” said Sergei Brylin, the former longtime center and current Comets assistant under head coach Kevin Dineen. “He’s managing the puck better and moving his feet. We all know he can score. He creates chances. He sees the ice well. He’s got a great shot. That’s part of his development. We’re working on the little things and details in his game that need to be better to take the next step.”
- Alexander Holtz had 2 goals (both EV) and 3 assists (2 EV, 1 EN) over the 3 games last week. His 1.17 points per game rate ranks 2nd among U21 players (minimum 20 games played).
- Nolan Foote had a nice hot streak when he was sent back to Utica from New Jersey in January with a 3 goals and 6 assists in 6 games. Since then he has just one assist over his last 6 games.
- Kevin Bahl seems to have found his offensive game from the blue line with 2 goals and 6 assists over his last 10 games. 7 of those 8 points came at even strength.
- Fabian Zetterlund is currently 6th in scoring among U23 players with 33 points in 34 games. His 0.97 points per game rate ranks 10th among U23 players (minimum 20 games played).
- Reilly Walsh had another productive week from the blue line with a goal (EV) and 3 assists (2 EV, 1 EN). His 0.79 points per game rate is a solid improvement over last year’s 0.45 points per game rate. He’s 2nd in defensemen scoring with 30 points. His 0.79 points per game rate ranks 4th among defensemen (minimum 30 games played).
- Nate Schnarr returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing 6 games due to injury. He’s been one of my favorite players to follow this season after he started the year as a healthy scratch but has since become a key part of the top 6 and PP.
Coming Up: Utica will take on Springfield tomorrow and then Cleveland on Friday and Saturday.
The Adirondack Thunder defeated the Fort Wayne Komets 4-3 on Wednesday and Saturday. They lost to Fort Wayne 7-3 on Friday. Mareks Mitens spent the week backing up Nico Daws and Akira Schmid for Utica. This week they will play the Reading Royals tonight and the Worcester Railers on Saturday and Sunday.
Which players stood out to you last week? How do you feel about the development of the Devils NCAA prospects? What do you expect out of Arseni Gritsyuk in the Olympics? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!