Honoring the Petes
The OHL champion Peterborough Petes received a “heroes welcome” when they arrived home after being eliminated 4-1 in the Memorial Cup semi-finals against the Seattle Thunderbirds, two wins shy of the Memorial Cup. It was a great season for the Petes, who played their first game in June in team history. RW Chase Stillman was a part of the cog in the post-season run and the experience should help him when he transitions to professional hockey next season.
The Petes almost did not make it this far, trailing 3-1 in the tiebreaker elimination game against the Kamloops Blazers. Then Chase Stillman did something.
No, he didn’t score.
Here’s a closer look at the hit and the fisticuffs that followed.
#NJDevils first rounder Chase Stillman just had quite the shift in the Memorial Cup, destroying one Kamloops Blazer with a massive hit and then obliterated another one in a fight. WARNING: this is not for the squeamish. pic.twitter.com/dN2VY3NoNk— Tyler Bleszinski (@papiblez) June 2, 2023
The hit was clean. The Blazers took offense. Stillman handled his own. Expect to see Stillman do more of that as he tries to make a push for a bottom six role on the Devils in the years ahead. After giving up another goal, the Petes rallied to tie the game in the 2nd, ultimately winning in overtime on this great individual effort by Senators prospect Owen Beck to set up J.R. Avon.
The Petes were down 4-1 at one point as J.R. Avon sends them to the semifinals with his overtime goal. https://t.co/X6WFyh4mro— Ariel Melendez (@a_melendez10) June 2, 2023
That I am highlighting Stillman’s fight should tell you all you need to know about his offensive output in the series. The former first rounder was held to just one point (an assist) in five games in the Memorial Cup tournament. Prior to that, Stillman tallied four goals and thirteen assists in twenty-one playoff games during the Pete’s OHL championship run. This follows a mediocre season of 19 goals and 48 points in 59 regular season games or .81 points a game. Last year, Stillman had a .83 points per game season. In short, Stillman has not improved his point totals at this level like one would hope a future NHL player would do. That said, Stillman certainly has time to grow. Stillman has already signed his ELC, so hopefully, in the AHL next year things will begin to click for the energetic winger.
AROUND THE POOL
- Nikola Pasic’s rights have expired and with no news of a contract, it is safe to say that Nikola Pasic is no longer Devil’s property. Good luck on your hockey career, Nikola. We wish you the best.
- Per Ben Birnell of the Rome Sentinel, Comets coach Kevin Dineen said that Simon Nemec’s learning of “risk versus reward” in deciding when to pinch offensively really improved as the season went on. [Rome Sentinel]
- Speaking of Simon Nemec, he made Slovakian hockey history by playing in his third IIHF world’s championship before his 20th birthday. [NHL.Com] In the linked interview by Aaron Vickers for NHL.com, Nemec thinks that through the tournament he can show that he is “ready for the NHL.” Nemec was +2, but pointless for Slovakia.
- For those hoping Arseni Gritsyuk was coming over, it looks like he will sign with SKA for next two seasons.
If you are devils fan, you should be happy. SKA is a great organisation with great trainers and coaches, playing fast&forechecking hockey. Great competition for two years to develop his game without the puck in neuteral and defensive zone. #njdevils https://t.co/DVejDyLiel— Guadana (@Guadana5) May 28, 2023
- Gritsyuk says goodbye to Avangard.
Gritsyuk says goodbye to Avangard on his Instagram:— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) May 28, 2023
Omsk, thank you for the unreal support of the team throughout the year! At this stage our paths part, but OMSK will forever remain in my heart ❤️ pic.twitter.com/LOtEC4jpFZ
- Avangard returns the sentiment:
Avangard says goodbye to Gritsyuk:— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) May 28, 2023
Thank you for all the years with our team! We wish you never to leave the chosen path, not to stop developing, so that your career only goes up, let it be possible to win as many trophies as possible! pic.twitter.com/KZJXK3pxYC
Devils fans will have to wait. One bright side to consider: Gritsyuk will be joining gritty Devils prospect forward Zakhar Bardakov in St. Petersburg. So, Devils scouts should get a good look at both players. Bardakov’s KHL contract ends April of next year and could become a bottom six option for the Devils.
Now it is time to tell us what you think. Will Stillman have an impact for the Comets next season? Will you miss Nikola Pasic? Are you upset that Gritsyuk is signing with SKA? Let us know what you think in the comments below.