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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 3/29/22

This week’s update features a duo of Devils prospects heading to the Frozen Four, the singing of Brian Halonen from Michigan Tech, and Arseni Gritsyuk continuing to star in the playoffs for Avangard.

Michigan Tech v Michigan State
Brian Halonen, a wing from Michigan Tech, was signed by the New Jersey Devils a few days ago.
Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Welcome to the 24th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This past week saw Chase Stillman return from his suspension, Artem Shlaine enter the transfer portal, Ethan Edwards and Luke Hughes help Michigan to the Frozen Four, and the Devils signing of Brian Halonen from Michigan Tech. It also saw plenty of playoff action across all of the European leagues. Let’s check in on each prospect now.

OHL

Chase Stillman returned from his 5 game suspension last week. He had a PP goal, an assist, -3, and 7 shots across 4 games. You can check out his assist and goal below:

Kyle Cushman has been making player cards based on data from Pick224.com. Here is Stillman’s card:

Peterborough is currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with a 3 point lead on 9th place Sudbury with 8 regular season games left to play.

NCAA

Last Friday, Daniel Connolly reported on twitter that Artem Shlaine has entered the transfer portal. I’m a bit surprised to see this since Shlaine seemed poised to center one of the top two lines next season. It seems like UConn fans on twitter were also a bit surprised by this news. It will be interesting to see where Shlaine ends up next season. He’s now the second Devils prospect to enter the transfer portal this month along with Cole Brady.

Ethan Edwards had a goal, even rating, and a shot in Michigan’s 5-3 victory over American International in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Luke Hughes had an assist, even rating, and 3 shots in that game. Edwards was a -3 with a shot in Michigan’s 7-4 victory over Quinnipiac in the Allentown Regional Final. Hughes had an assist, +2, and 2 shots in that game. Check out this big hit from Edwards and these impressive assists from Luke Hughes:

Michigan is now in the Frozen Four and will take on Denver on April 7 at 5 PM ET on ESPN2. The NCAA Championship is scheduled for April 9 at 8 PM ET on ESPN2.

Last Sunday, the New Jersey Devils announced that they have signed winger Brian Halonen to a two-year, entry-level contract that will start with the 2022-23 NHL season. Halonen also signed an Amateur Tryout Contract with the Utica Comets so he can play there the rest of the season. Here is part of the Devils announcement:

Halonen, 23, led the Huskies with 44 points in 2021-22, after the forward earned 21 goals and 23 assists in 36 games played. He finished sixth in the NCAA in goals, eighth in total points and first in 5-on-5 goals. The NCAA recently nominated Halonen as a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the NCAA’s top player in Division I men’s ice hockey. Additionally, the right-handed shot was named to the All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First Team, after Halonen led the CCHA in points (36) and goals in conference games.

Halonen is coming off of his age 23 season where he posted career highs in goals (21), assists (23), and points (44) as a senior for Michigan Tech. The 6’0”, 207 lbs. right handed shot is listed as capable of playing on either wing. According to Michigan Tech’s lineups this season, he spent the entire year as a right wing, with his most common linemates being the recently turned 24 year olds Thomas Parrottino and Trenton Bliss. That line definitely had an experience on some of their competitors.

This past season, Halonen shot at 15.91% and averaged 3.57 shots per game, both career highs. Overall, in his NCAA career, Halonen shot at 14.44% and averaged 2.64 shots per game so he certainly was effective at that level. 36 of his 44 points were primary this past season and he had a 33/10 EV/PP split. This seems to be a solid depth signing with perhaps some upside for the Devils. I like that Halonen proved to be an effective player at the college level, is capable of playing on either wing, and has some size to his frame. Hopefully he can make a good impression in Utica as he gets used to the pro game.

Russia

KHL & VHL

Yegor Zaitsev was a -1 with 4 PIM in 16:03 as #4 Dynamo lost Game 4 to #3 CSKA to lose their Western Conference Semifinals series 4-0. The 23 year old Zaitsev is under contract with Dynamo through the 2022-23 season.

Playoff Stats: 11 GP 0-2-2, -4, 8 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.2 SH/GP, 17:57 ATOI

Daniil Misyul Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 0.0 SH/GP, 13:36 ATOI

Arseni Gritsyuk had 3 goals (1 EV, 2 PP), an assist (PP), -4, 14 shots, and averaged 15:23 across 4 games last week. Check out his two most recent goals from yesterday’s game as he helped #5 Avangard force a Game 7 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against #1 Metallurg Mg.

Playoff Stats: 12 GP 6-4-10, -3, 4 PIM, 13.0 SH%, 3.8 SH/GP, 17:02 ATOI

Shakir Mukhamadullin was a -5 with 2 shots and averaged 16:47 across 3 games last week as #3 Salavat Yulaev lost their Eastern Conference Semifinals series 4-2 to #2 Traktor. The 20 year old is under contract with Salavat Yulaev through the 2023-24 season.

Playoff Stats: 11 GP 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.4 SH/GP, 15:23 ATOI

Zakhar Bardakov was a -1 with 2 PIM, 2 shots, and averaged 13:39 across 3 games last week as #1 SKA won their Western Conference Semifinals series 4-1 over #7 Spartak.

Playoff Stats: 9 GP 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 0.6 SH/GP, 43.2 FO%, 11:20 ATOI

Finland

Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja

Eetu Pakkila was a -2 in 17:15 in Ilves’ final regular season game last Tuesday.

#3 Ilves is up 2-0 over #6 Karpat in the Liiga Quarterfinals. Eetu Pakkila was a +1 with a shot and averaged 13:55 across the first two games.

Playoff Stats: 2 GP 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 0.5 SH/GP, 13:55 ATOI

Topias Vilen was a -1 with 2 PIM and 2 shots in 17:54 in Pelicans’ final regular season game last Tuesday.

Unfortunately, his season has come to an end as #9 Pelicans lost 2-1 to #8 KooKoo in the Liiga Wildcard round. Vilen was a -1 with 2 PIM, 5 shots, and averaged 13:51 in the series. Vilen is under contract with Pelicans through the 2022-23 season. The Devils hold the 18 year old’s rights until June 1, 2025.

Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.66 SH/GP, 13:51 ATOI

Samu Salminen had an assist, even rating, shot, and won 10/18 faceoffs (55.56%), in 17:17 in Jokerit’s U20 final regular season game last Tuesday. Unfortunately, #1 Jokerit U20 lost their Quarterfinals series to #8 Lukko 2-0. Salminen was held off the scoresheet with a -3 rating, 3 shots, 50 FO%, and averaged 20:59 across both of those games. Salminen is set to play for the University of Denver next season and I’m excited to see how his game translates to the NCAA.

Playoff Stats: 2 GP 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.5 SH/GP, 50.0 FO% 20:59 ATOI

Sweden

SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell

Nikola Pasic has helped Sodertalje SK get out to a 3-2 series lead in their relegation battle against IF Troja-Ljungby. In 3 games last week, Pasic had an assist, -1, and 3 shots. Check out his assist below:

Playout Stats: 6 GP 2-3-5, -3, 0 PIM, 12.5 SH%, 2.66 SH/GP, 19:25 ATOI

Viktor Hurtig had 2 assists, -1, and 9 shots as helped Mora IK J20 defeat his former team, Vaxjo Lakers HC J20, 2-1 in the J20 Nationell Round of 16. They will now take on Djurgarden J20 in the Quarterfinals.

Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-2-2, -1, 0 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 3.0 SH/GP

The Rest of Europe

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

#7 Lausanne HC is currently tied 1-1 with #2 HC Fribourg-Gotteron in the National League Quarterfinals. Benjamin Baumgartner had an even rating and won 1/4 faceoffs in 6:37 in a Game 1 loss. In the Game 2 victory, Baumgartner was credited with a game played despite not recording any ice time.

Playoff Stats: 4 GP 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM

Jaromir Pytlik and Rytiri Kladno are still awaiting their opponent for a relegation series in mid-April.

Jakub Malek helped #2 VHK Vsetin to a 4-1 Semifinal series victory over #8 Prostejov. Malek made 29 saves on 31 shots in 66:58 of an overtime loss in Game 3. In Game 4 he made 17 saves on 20 shots in a victory. In the series clinching Game 5, Malek made 26 saves on 28 shots. They will now take on #4 HC Jihlava in the Finals.

Playoff Stats: 9 GP 6-2, 1.49 GAA, .941 SV%, 2 SO

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; Through 3/27

The Utica Comets won 3 out of 4 games last week. They remain the top team in the Eastern Conference with 13 games remaining in the regular season. Their 21.9 PP% ranks 5th and their 82.2 PK% ranks 9th.

Wednesday 3/23: The Utica Comets lost to the Bridgeport Islanders 4-1. Aarne Talvitie had the lone Comets goal when he scored shorthanded with Joe Gambardella earning the assist. Akira Schmid made 27 saves on 31 shots for the Comets. Former New Jersey Devil Cory Schneider made 30 saves on 31 shots to earn the victory. Schneider has a 10-10-3-1 record with a 2.68 GAA and .921 SV% this season. Fabian Zetterlund led the way with 6 shots followed by Chase De Leo with 5. Both teams had 31 shots on goal. Utica went 0/1 on the PP and 3/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, Talvitie’s goal, and lineup:

Friday 3/25: The Utica Comets defeated the Syracuse Crunch 3-1. Fabian Zetterlund led the way with 2 goals with Frederik Gauthier assisting on both of them. Luke Stevens also had an assist on the first goal. Brian Flynn sealed the game with an empty net goal that was assisted by Robbie Russo. Flynn led the way with 6 shots followed by Alexander Holtz with 4. Mareks Mitens made 19 saves on 20 shots to earn the victory. Utica outshot Syracuse 24-20. Utica went 0/5 on the PP and 2/2 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet and highlights:

Sunday 3/27: The Utica Comets defeated the Providence Bruins 4-1. The goal scorers for the Comets included Alexander Holtz (PP), Samuel Laberge, Tyler Wotherspoon (EN), and Brian Flynn (EN). Frederik Gauthier and Robbie Russo had 2 assists each followed by Chase De Leo, Joe Gambardella, Fabian Zetterlund, and Patrick Grasso with 1 each. De Leo led the way with 5 shots followed by Holtz with 4. Mareks Mitens starred as he made 46 saves on 47 shots. Utica was outshot 47-39 and went 1/6 on the PP and 4/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:

Monday 3/28: The Utica Comets defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 7-3. Offensive leaders for the Comets included Chase De Leo with 2 goals and an assist, Graeme Clarke with 2 goals, A.J. Greer with a goal and 3 assists, and Fabian Zetterlund with a goal and an assist. Ryan Schmezler also had a goal. Samuel Laberge and Frederik Gauthier had 2 assists. Brian Flynn, Luke Stevens, Joe Gambardella, Reilly Walsh, and Kevin Bahl each had an assist. De Leo led the way with 6 shots followed by Zetterlund and Greer with 4 each. Akira Schmid made 29 saves on 32 shots to earn the win. Utica was outshot 32-26 and went 2/2 on the PP and 1/1 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:

Coming Up: Utica will take on Rochester tomorrow, Syracuse on Friday, and Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

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

Adirondack lost 7-3 to Newfoundland on Wednesday, 5-1 to Worcester on Friday, and 3-2 (OT) to Worcester on Saturday. This week they will take on Trois-Rivieres tomorrow and then Maine on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They remain last in the North Division with a 25-33-3-0 record.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you last week? What are your thoughts on the Brian Halonen signing? What are your expectations for Ethan Edwards and Luke Hughes in the Frozen Four? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!