Patrick Moynihan finished his last NCAA hockey season with his worst offensive output, managing only 10 points in 34 games, a far cry from last season’s high of 25. Providence lost to Boston University in the Hockey East semifinals. Moynihan has all the intangibles that coaches love. We will find out soon whether that’s enough to earn Moynihan a contract. Season Trend: Down and possibly out of the pool.
After a visa issue and a slow adjustment, Samu Salminen finished a successful freshman season scoring at a .63 ppg pace. Salminen, a former third round pick, had two major questions about his game heading into this season. First, could Saliminen produce against stiffer competition after scoring over a ppg in the Finnish U20s? Second, will Salminen’s footspeed hold him back at the higher levels? While Saliminen’s footspeed is still an open question, the Finnish forward silenced critics on the first point with respectable production playing his gritty offensive game in the NCAA this season. UConn’s season ended with a 2-1 loss to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. Season Trend: Status Quo with a few less questions
Artem Shlaine broke out in a big way this year after transferring to Northern Michigan. Centering the top line for much of the season, Shlaine nearly doubled his production for UConn last year. Shlaine has one more year of NCAA hockey left to play, but may earn a contract from the Devils this offseason. Northern Michigan lost the CCHA Mason Cup championship to Minnesota state in OT 3-2. Season Trend: Breakout Season.
The University of Michigan trio of Ethan Edwards, Luke Hughes and Seamus Casey all had strong seasons on the backend with Edwards locking down the defensive end for the freewheeling freshman Seamus Casey. I’ll have more on Casey’s season in a solo article this summer. As to Luke Hughes, his final NCAA season ended with a whopping 42 points in 35 games. Devils fans will have to wait a little longer for Luke Hughes to arrive In New Jersey as Michigan defeated Minnesota to earn its second consecutive Big 10 title and a guaranteed spot in the NCAA finals. [Freep] Season Trends: Casey’s PNHLe actually dipped a little bit over last year after he hit a bit of an offensive wall in the second half of the season. [Dobber] However, it’s hardly enough to be of a concern and his improvements on the defensive end have him trending up overall as a prospect. The biggest riser, Luke Hughes is trending so far up that he’s trending right out of the prospect pool onto the Devils roster in the near future. Ethan Edwards has been more or less status quo in his development arc and is blossoming into a capable defensive-minded puck mover.
Viktor Hurtig completed his first season of college hockey for Michigan State with 5 points in 34 games. The 6’6 defender moves well for his size and may be an interesting option if he can discover his offensive game at this level. A converted forward, Hurtig has the shot, but he needs to pick his spots more effectively. If hockey doesn’t work out for Hurtig in the end, he’s apparently a very good fisherman — so there’s that. Michigan State’s season came to an end against Minnesota in the Big 10 quarterfinals. Season Trend: Status Quo.
Charlie Leddy completed his freshman season with 7 points in 35 games for Boston College, but the bruising blueliner is more known for his hard-edged defensive play. Leddy is still a raw prospect, but if he’s going to grow into an NHL shutdown defenseman, Boston College is a good place for him to grow his game. Boston College’s season ended with an OT loss to Merrimack. Season Trend: Status Quo.
Case McCarthy seems to have avoided the worst and is “doing well” after a scary hit by fellow Devils prospect Patric Moynihan led him to be carried off in a stretcher in Boston University’s Hockey East Division 1 semi-finals win over Providence. [Blades of Steel] Though it is unclear what plans, if any, the Devils have for the defensive-minded defenseman, McCarthy had a strong season with a career high 15 points in 31 games. McCarthy got injured cutting to the net, showcasing his footspeed which has improved quite a bit since his Freshman season. Given McCarthy’s leadership qualities, the alternative captain may be a good option for Utica next year on the right side. Although McCarthy’s season seems to be over due to the injury, Boston University rallied to defeat Providence in overtime to advance. Season Trend: Up slightly, but is it enough?
Cole Brady spent most of the season backing up starter Luke Pavicich. Although Brady “shined” in the final weekend of the regular season, he will likely need to do more before earning a contract with the Devils. Luckily, he still has one full season of NCAA hockey left to do just that. Unfortunately, Pavicich is likely to return to UMass next season as well. UMass was defeated by Boston College 5-2 in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament. Season Trend: Mired in a Backup Role.
AROUND THE POOL
- In Russia, Gritsyuk continues his hot hand in the post-season.
GUESS WHO HAD THE OVERTIME WINNER?— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) March 17, 2023
Arseni Gritsyuk OT #NJDevils
2-1 Avangard #KHL pic.twitter.com/Xe19J4CAnn
- Topias Vilen and the Pelicans are tied 1-1 in their series against KalPa. [Flashscore]
- I somehow missed this great article from a few weeks back by Peter Robinson for NHL.com on the development of Nico Daws. [NHL.com]
- It was goaltender Jake Theut in net for Utica in their recent 4-1 loss to Laval on Saturday. Six points separates Utica from fourth place Rochester with both them and third place Syracuse having two games in hand. [TheAhl.Com]
A little housecleaning to start things off. As the seasons for prospects are coming to an end, I plan to nix the spotlight section until next year as I will likely be writing solo articles about some of the prospects over the summer and if I spotlight them now at the end of their seasons, there won’t be much new to talk about.
Let us know what you think in your comments in the section below. On a scale of 1 to a 1000 how excited are you for Luke Hughes to finally arrive in New Jersey? What do you think of Casey’s freshman year? Feel free to talk about these or any other topics.
Next week the prospect update goes back to Europe.