Welcome to the 29th week of the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils prospect update! This past week saw Chase Stillman’s OHL season end as Peterborough was swept out of the opening round of the playoffs. It also saw Utica play their final 2 regular season games as they prepared for the playoffs. Let’s check in on each prospect now!
#8 Peterborough lost 4-0 to #1 Hamilton in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Chase Stillman had an assist, even rating, 8 PIM, 9 shots, and won 4/4 faceoffs over the final 2 games of the series. This concludes his 2nd OHL season where he managed to put up 6 more goals, 9 more assists, and 15 more points in one extra game compared to his rookie season in 2019-20. Among forwards in their draft+1 season (minimum 50 GP), Stillman ranked tied-20th in points per game with a 0.83 rate which isn’t great.
However, the Devils have now assigned him to Utica so he can compete in the Calder Cup playoffs and I am looking forward to seeing how his rugged style translates to the pro game. Being a 1st round pick will always carry high expectations for Stillman. Not being at least a point per game player in his draft+1 junior season is disappointing but I do think his style of play is well suited for a bottom 6 role at the NHL level should he reach his potential. Stillman doesn’t turn 20 years old until next March so I look forward to seeing how he does in his draft+2 season in the OHL in 2022-23.
Playoff Stats: 4 GP 0-1-1, -1, 10 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 2.50 SH/GP
KHL & VHL
Yegor Zaitsev 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 Playoff Stats: 13 GP 6-4-10, -5, 4 PIM, 12.2 SH%, 3.8 SH/GP, 17:12 ATOI
Shakir Mukhamadullin Playoff Stats: 11 GP 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.4 SH/GP, 15:23 ATOI
Zakhar Bardakov Playoff Stats: 16 GP 0-2-2, -10, 12 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 0.9 SH/GP, 46.2 FO%, 12:51 ATOI
Liiga, Mestis, & U20-SM-sarja
Eetu Pakkila Playoff Stats: 8 GP 0-3-3, +3, 0 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.63 SH/GP, 13:49 ATOI
Topias Vilen Playoff Stats: 3 GP 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.66 SH/GP, 13:51 ATOI
Samu Salminen Playoff Stats: 2 GP 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 1.5 SH/GP, 50.0 FO% 20:59 ATOI
SHL, Allsvenskan, & J20 Nationell
Nikola Pasic Playout Stats: 6 GP 0-4-4, E, 2 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 0.83 SH/GP, 14:53 ATOI
Viktor Hurtig Playoff Stats: 5 GP 0-2-2, -2, 0 PIM
The Rest of Europe
Swiss National League, Czech Extraliga, & Czech 1.liga
Benjamin Baumgartner Playoff Stats: 7 GP 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 0.00 SH%, 0.14 SH/GP, 7:36 ATOI
Jaromir Pytlik Relegation Stats: 5 GP 0-1-1, +2, 2 PIM, 0.0 SH%, 2.00 SH/GP, 15:29 ATOI
Jakub Malek Playoff Stats: 13 GP 7-4, 1.75 GAA, .933 SV%, 2 SO
The Utica Comets split their final 2 games of the regular season to finish with a 43-20-8-1 record and 95 points. They finished the season with the 5th ranked PP at 21.6% and 9th ranked PK at 81.9%. They finished as the top team in the North Division and Eastern Conference with a .660 Points%. They automatically qualified for the Division Semifinals were they will take on the winner of the #N4 Belleville vs. #N5 Rochester series which is in the First Round of the playoffs. Here is a clear picture of the playoff bracket and here is the view from the AHL site.
Friday 4/29: The Utica Comets lost 8-1 to the Rochester Americans. Nico Daws started the game but made just 9 saves on 13 shots in 15:56 before being pulled. Akira Schmid made 18 saves on 22 shots in 43:48 of relief action. One of the goals he did surrender was a penalty shot goal to JJ Peterka. Chase De Leo had the Comets’ goal, assisted by A.J. Greer and Michael Vukojevic. De Leo led the team with 7 shots followed by Brian Halonen with 5 and Ryan Schmelzer with 4. Greer had a game high 24 PIM. Utica was outshot 35-29 and went 0/2 on the PP and 2/3 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Vivaaaaaaaaa Rock Vegas ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/1rYugs5shF— y-Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 29, 2022
Saturday 4/30: The Utica Comets defeated the Providence Bruins 4-2. Chase De Leo had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 EN), Jeremy Groleau had a goal, and Patrick Grasso had a PP goal. Tyce Thompson had 2 assists followed by Brian Flynn, Grasso, Tyler Wotherspoon, Brian Halonen, and Aarne Talvitie with an assist each. De Leo led the way with 9 shots. Nico Daws made 39 saves on 41 shots to pick up the win. Utica was outshot 41-26 and went 1/2 on the PP and 4/4 on the PK. Here is the gamesheet, highlights, and lineup:
Last go in the regular season! Here are the fellas ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/htIYfivD7b— y-Utica Comets (@UticaComets) April 30, 2022
- Fabian Zetterlund really broke out in his 3rd AHL season, posting a career high in GP (58), goals (24), assists (28), and points (52). His points per game rate rose from 0.41 as a rookie in 2019-20 to 0.56 in 2020-21 to 0.90 this past season. He finished 11th in points per game among U23 players (minimum 45 GP). Of course, Zetterlund also put up 3 goals and 5 assists in 14 NHL games this season and seems to have a great chance of making the jump to the NHL full time in 2022-23.
- Among U21 players, Alexander Holtz finished tied-3rd in goals (26) and 6th in points (51). Among that group (minimum 45 GP), Holtz had the 3rd highest points per game rate (0.98), behind Jack Quinn (1.36) and Lukas Reichel (1.02). Over the past 10 seasons, that points per game rate among U21 players (minimum 45 GP) ranks 8th.
- Reilly Walsh had a successful 2nd season in the AHL, increasing his assists per game rate from 0.30 last season to 0.49 this season as well as his points per game rate from 0.45 last season to 0.61 this season. Overall, he was tied-7th in assists by a defenseman (34) and 6th in points (43). Among all AHL defensemen (minimum 45 GP), Walsh was tied-12th in points per game with a 0.61 rate. According to AHL Tracker, among U23 Defensemen (minimum 45 GP), Walsh ranked 6th in On-Ice EV Goals For% at 55.9%.
- Going off that list from AHL Tracker for On-Ice EV Goals For%, Kevin Bahl ranked 16th (53.6%), Michael Vukojevic ranked 18th (52.9%), Nikita Okhotiuk ranked 30th (49.2%), and Jeremy Groleau ranked 41st (44.1%) among the 55 defensemen under the age of 23.
- Nolan Foote doubled his goals from 7 as a rookie in 2020-21 to 14 this past season. However, his per game stats were down across the board from his rookie season with his points per game rate dropping from 0.71 as a rookie to 0.58 this past season.
- Tyce Thompson missed the bulk of the season due to injury but was effective when healthy with 6 goals and 9 assists in 16 games. He had a 0.94 points per game rate and 0.50 EV points per game rate. He turns 23 years old in July so hopefully he can stay healthy and play a full season in 2022-23.
- Among U22 goaltenders, Nico Daws ranked tied-2nd in SV% (.916) and Akira Schmid ranked 4th (.911). Among the 57 AHL goaltenders to play at least 20 games, Nico Daws ranked 14th in Goals Saved Above Average per 60 minutes (0.37) and Goals Saved Above Average per 30 shots (0.37). Akira Schmid ranked 19th in GSAA/60 (0.24) and 20th in GSAA/30 (0.24).
Coming Up: The Utica Comets will take on the winner of the Belleville vs. Rochester series. This best-of-5 series will start with Game 1 on Tuesday 5/10 and Game 2 on Saturday 5/14.
Which prospects stood out to you last week? What is your opinion on Chase Stillman’s season? Which prospects are you excited about from the Utica Comets? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!