Michigan is a fairly big state, so let’s dive right into the chart.
As teased earlier, Samu Salminen broke out of his goal-scoring slump in tremendous fashion with this beauty of a Michigan goal from behind the net.
It had been 11 games without a goal for Salminen, who has struggled this season despite putting up a higher volume of shot totals over last year. Hopefully, the power of the Michigan goal compels him to greater things moving forward.
Northern Michigan center Artem Shlaine has struggled a bit since last update dropping to 0.82 pts/g from a high of 1.0. This summer, the Devils will likely be looking for more center depth, so it will be interesting to see where, or if it all, Shlaine figures into their plans. Either way, given his production, Shlaine is likely to land somewhere for depth in an organization.
University of Michigan star Seamus Casey has actually improved over last update’s already-impressive totals rocketing up to 1.38 pts/g. The jump ties Casey for the leader of all NCAA defensemen in points with Zeev Bulum and 8th overall amongst all players. In the preseason, it was known that Casey would given a chance to be the top guy on the Michigan blueline after Luke Hughes graduated to the NHL and he has excelled at every opportunity he has been given. The Devils may want to go the same route with Casey and sign him at the end of the season. His status will be something to watch this summer.
Casey’s teammate, Ethan Edwards has returned to the Wolverines from a season-long injury and by all appearances, the rehab seems to have been a success. Though it was only a scrimmage against the USNDTP, Edwards scored two goals and an assist in his first game back. Since then, Edwards has played six games in the regular season and put up three points including this gorgeous end to end goal.
Ethan edwards pack your bags you’re moving to New Jersey !!!! pic.twitter.com/2ncgoJ7Ze2— jo (@ljoseghine) January 28, 2024
Edwards only had 14 points in 37 games last season, so the boost in numbers, despite missing all those games and training camp is highly encouraging.
Michigan State defenseman Viktor Hurtig has only played one game since last update.
Lastly, non-Michigan defender Charlie Leddy has done little to write about since last update. Although Leddy’s path to the NHL would be that of a shutdown defenseman, one would like to see more than a shot every other game. Leddy did earn this assist last week.
Ryan Leonard (#ALLCAPS) opens the scoring for @BC_MHockey with the short side wrist shot from the wall.— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) January 27, 2024
Drew Fortescue (#NYR) and Charlie Leddy (#NJDevils) the assists on the play. pic.twitter.com/6emLCdsZKK
Cole Brady has lost every start since last update dropping his record to 4-2-2 in a reliever role for UMass. While his GAA upticked slightly in the losses, his SV% remained consistent, indicating a weaker defense around him in those starts. Still, it seems too little too late for the senior, who will be looking for a contract in this off-season.
Around the Pool
- Goaltender Isaac Poulter earned a 32 save shutout as the Utica Comets blanked Rochester on Friday 4-0. Ryan Schmelzer pocketed the game winner, his 9th. Winger Graeme Clarke and LHD Topias Vilen each added two assists. For Vilen, that brings his assist total into double digits in the AHL this season. Lastly, forward Joe Gambardella got credited for this goal off his face courtesy of a Graeme Clarke snapper.
After a few stitches, Gambardella returned to the game, missing only one shift.
- Utica followed up the win with another 3-1 victory against Syracuse on Saturday night. Akira Schmid, stopping 22 of 23 and earning himself second star honors. First star of the game Graeme Clarke scored the game winner, his 16th. Despite the wins, Utica still sits in last place in the North Division, two points behind the Toronto Marlies. The Marlies have a game in hand.
- Forward Arseni Gritsyuk continues to dominate. Check out this goal, assisted by Devils prospect Zakhar Bardakov.
- As of Sunday, winger Cam Squires is tied with Josh Filmon for the most points of any Devils prospects this season despite being one year younger. Squires is making plays like this.
- The Devils may have something in Jakub Malek.
Jakub Małek , aka Super Malek, has been impressive this season for Ilves in Liiga with a 12-3-3 record, 2.47 GAA & .913 SV%, 3rd best in Liiga.— Daniel Rebain (@pvtmcbain) January 26, 2024
The 21 Y/O, who was a 4th RD pick in 2021, has an option for next year at Ilves but is certainly not far from the NHL. #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/U53XAmL63H
- This goal by Josh Filmon certainly got the announcer excited.
As the the theme of this update was Michigan, I shall leave you with one more Michigan goal, this one by a non-Devils prospect.
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