Before the slow-rolling of the results from the ongoing balloting for the AATJ Top 25 Under 25, the New Jersey Devils prospect update would like to highlight some prospect news that may have fallen through the cracks in recent weeks.
World Junior Summer Showcase
This year’s world junior summer showcase was a round robin series of games featuring Sweden, Finland and two separate teams by the United States (White and Blue). The purpose of the tournament per USA Hockey is to evaluate players for inclusion in their respective national teams. USA White technically “won” the tournament with the goal differential tie breaker as all four teams finished with a record of 2-2 or six points, but the summer showcase is less about those technicalities and more about “showcasing” as is it’s namesake and with that in mind, the Devils should be proud.
This year’s 2nd round pick for the Devils, forward Lenni Hameenaho was arguably the best player in the tournament. Check out this play against Team USA White.
Following a strong prospects camp, Hameenaho led all prospects at the WJSS with seven points in four games (2 goals and 5 assists). This added confidence should bolster Hameenaho when he starts his season in the Liiga. Don’t be surprised if the majority of pundits are wrong about Hameenaho’s ceiling and he breaks out in a big way this year.
Devils defensive prospect Seamus Casey also played for Team USA White and had one assist in two games per the Team USA website.
Around The Pool
- As reported by Connor Earegood of the Michigan Daily, the aforementioned Seamus Casey may be getting a new D partner in Michigan next season, his close friend Tyler Duke. [MichiganDaily]
- Simon Nemec was named to the 2022-2023 AHL’s All-Prospect Team. [UticaComets]
- Utica Comets GM Dan MacKinnon signed his son will to an AHL deal. Will MacKinnon, a LHD, captained the University of New Hampshire last season. [UticaComets]
- Daniel Amoia of the Hockey Writers tries to make a case that Seamus Casey should switch to forward. The case seems to center mostly on the logjam in the Devils defensive ranks, more so than Casey’s comfort in the position. For the record, I do not support this idea. One scrimmage at center as a fill-in for a massively depleted Michigan roster against the younger USNTDP team does not the basis of a massive career change make. As Amoia admits in the article, the last time Casey played forward before that scrimmage he was around 13. If the Devils want to try him in some preseason games at forward after he signs, okay, that’s the time for that kind of experimentation, but it’ll take a lot more than one scrimmage to convince me that this would be the right move long term. [HockeyWriters]
- Kristy Flannery wrote this piece on Nolan Foote for the Hockey Writers. In the article, Foote talks about how he’s reinvented his game in recent years to hopefully translate to NHL success. [HockeyWriters]
- In an article by Ryan Novozinsky for NJ.Com, Devils goalie prospect Tyler Brennan explains how he has found inspiration in Akira Schmid. [NJ$]
- Corey Pronman of the Athletic had Devils 6th round pick Daniil Karpovich ranked 23rd on a specialty draft board listing draft-eligible prospects solely by their upside. Did GM Tom Fitzgerald find another late round steal in the big Belarusan? Karpovich has a long way to go to realize this potential, but we can dream. [TheAthletic$]
- If keeper league fantasy hockey is your thing, Dobber has both Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec in the Top 5 on their July Top 50 defensemen prospect rankings with Hughes leading the pack. [Dobber]
Now it is time to tell us what you think. Post your comments below.