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New Jersey Devils European Prospect Update: The Gritsyuk Show

Gritsyuk is leading the pack in Europe. We check in on the scoring Russian winger and all of the Devils prospects developing overseas.

SKA Hockey Club player, Arseny Gritsyuk (81) and Sochi...
Gritsyuk has been on fire lately.
Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It’s time to check in with the Devils prospects overseas. Let’s take a look at the chart.

Russia/Belarus

Zakhar Bardakov has had a rough, injury-riddled season, but there is reason to be positive in recent weeks. The gritty winger doubled his goals since last update, tying last season’s total of six in five less games. Of note, two of Bardakov’s six goals are short-handed tallies. This is important as Bardakov’s path to the NHL would be that of a hard-checking, defensive winger, who kills penalties and chips in a few goals from the 4th line, similar to a Nate Bastian role only with the grit factor dialed to 11 to borrow a phrase from the legendary mockumentary, Spinal Tap. That said, Bardakov has seen a major regression in point totals this season due to only getting credit for two assists. Given his role, this is not overly concerning, but still one would like to see an increase or at least a closing of that gap over the rest of the season.

Arseni Gritsyuk has exploded with fifteen points in fourteen games since last update and is well on pace for his first 20+ goal season in the KHL. Gritsyuk currently sits one goal behind Vasili Glotov for Ska’s team lead in ten less games. Overall, it has been another positive season of growth for Gritsyuk, who Devils fans hope to see in the red and black one day.

Artyom Barabosha has developed well this season and seems to be settling in at the KHL level, where the defensive defenseman has been playing an average of a little over 11 minutes a night. This is actually quite high for a 19-year-old defenseman in the KHL. Though one should not expect much offensive from the bruising defender, Barabosha did score his first KHL goal. Overall, it has been a very positive season for Barabosha so far and all signs are trending in the right direction for the young defender’s development.

Daniil Karpovich has been playing in Belarus and has nine assists in 37 games. It is hard to get a read on the Belarusan league. Given that the Devils touted Karpovich for his “hard-shooting” one would probably like to see more than zero goals from him. That said, Karpovich is very young and has plenty of time to develop. Karpovich’s team, Neman Grodno, is currently in fourth place.

Daniil Orlov has successfully made the jump to the KHL after injuries derailed him last season. Although averaging only around 9 minutes a game for Spartak, the defenseman has shown signs of brilliance when allowed to use his gifts in transition. Overall, Orlov seems to be trending up and should be one to watch in coming years.

Rest of Europe

Although he has not scored a goal since last update, Lenni Hameenaho has been adding assists and his pts/g is more or less the same. The cerebral winger is averaging 17:22 minutes a game for Assat, leading all forwards on his team in points. With those 20 points, Hameenaho is only one point away from tying last season’s total in 22 less games.

Petr Hauser seems to have finally stuck in the top Czechia league after a temporary detour, but has little to show for it with six assists and no goals in 27 games. On the bright side, Hauser is almost two years younger than his countryman Jaromir Pytlik, who finally made the full time jump to the top Czechia league this season. Although Pytlik has done better this season (11 points in 35 games) than Hauser, given the age gap, Hauser still has the better shot (albeit still a difficult one) of making the NHL one day in a checking role.

Goaltender Jakub Malek has been a hallmark of consistency since last update and is now up to a 12-3-3 record, 2.49 GAA and .912 SV%. Malek’s SV% and win totals are better than his platoon-mate veteran Jonas Gunnarsson. Despite this, Gunnarsson, who does have a better GAA, has received the lionshare of the starts for Ilves (25 v. 19)

Around the Pool

  • Utica got crunched 5-2 by Syracuse on Saturday. Graeme Clarke and Brian Halonen picked up the goals. Defenseman Daniil Misyul returned to the lineup, recording an assist. Schmid earned another loss, stopping 35 of 40.
  • Seamus Casey keeps imposing his will on the NCAA.
  • Cam Squires scores his 20th of the season in spectacular short-handed fashion.

Final Thoughts

Now it is time to tell us what you think. Post your comments below.