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New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: 12/8/20

The 9th week of the 2020-21 New Jersey Devils prospect update is here! It’s highlighted by Yegor Sharangovich continuing his run as one of the most productive goal scorers in the KHL, Aarne Talvitie step up to help Penn State earn their first victory of the season, and Benjamin Baumgartner continue to show why he’s one of the best young forawrds in Switzerland. The news that Nick Merkley’s loan has come to an end in Finland also came out as well as the news that Liiga will be shutdown until late December. Let’s take a look at how each prospect performed over the past week.

QMJHL

Dawson Mercer is set to get back on the ice now that Canada’s WJC selection camp has completed their two-week quarantine that started on 11/23 after some positive tests. Mark Masters of TSN has this article about Mercer that includes an interview with the prospect and Craig Button’s analysis of his game. I thought these two parts stood out:

“I kept on maturing my game,” Mercer said of his off-season evolution. “I’m that complete, 200-foot player and just been adding that extra bit of intensity, work and moving up the scale. With the added strength from the summer I feel like I’m way more of a dominant force out there.”

“He has a versatility in his game that allows him to move up and down the lineup and all through the lineup and contribute in significant areas,” observed TSN director of scouting Craig Button. “His attention to detail is excellent. How many times do we hear coaches talk about ‘Play the game the right way’? That’s exactly what Dawson does. It doesn’t matter what the situation is or where he is on the ice. You can count on him to make the right play.”

Jim Matheson has this article on Mercer in the Edmonton Journal where he talks about the forward’s versatility. Here is an excerpt from that article:

The right-shot forward could be the fourth-line centre on coach Andre Tourigny’s team behind Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens and Quinton Byfield, or on the wing in a bottom six role. At the NHL level, he might be a third-liner off his portability. Wherever it is, he has no worries about whether he’ll be on the junior team off his past Hockey Canada work.

OHL

Graeme Clarke is also set to get back on the ice now that the quarantine is over for Canada’s WJC selection camp.

NCAA

Matt Hellickson had a PP assist, -2, and 8 shots as Notre Dame split a weekend series against Arizona State. He continues to log heavy minutes in all situations for Notre Dame. I thought he had an mixed weekend as there were times where he was outmuscled defensively in front of the net or drawn out to screen his goaltender. In fairness to him, those moments are going to happen in highly offensive games when you’re playing a lot. I do like that his offensive involvement has grown over the course of his career and he does a really good job to keep the puck moving or get shots on goal for his teammates to either deflect or try to find a rebound. He still seems like the type of prospect that will make a fine AHL defender but I still have questions about his upside at the NHL level. You can catch him in action this weekend when Notre Dame takes on Ohio State on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET on NBCSN and on Sunday at 5:00 PM ET on NBCSN.

Aarne Talvitie had an eventful week as Penn State earned their first win of the season as they split a weekend series against Michigan. Talvitie had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), an assist, +1, 3 shots, and won 33.33% of his faceoffs across both games. You can check out his goals below:

Providence finally started their season but it didn’t go as planned as they dropped two games, 3-0 and 9-0, to Boston College. Tyce Thompson was a -7 with 2 PIM, 4 shots, and won 46.34% of his faceoffs. Thompson, one of the three captains, is centering the first line as expected.

Patrick Moynihan was a -4 with 2 PIM and 4 shots in 2 games for Providence. He played RW on the 2nd line. Providence doesn’t play again until 12/19 so Moynihan will next be in action during the USA build up to the WJC as he’s on the preliminary roster.

Case McCarthy and Boston University had their game against Artem Shlaine and UConn postponed last Saturday. Boston University is scheduled to open their season on Friday against UMass. UConn is scheduled to take on Boston College on Friday.

Cole Brady and Arizona State suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Notre Dame on Friday. Brady made 42 saves on 47 shots but surrendered three goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, including the game winning goal with five seconds left. That goal, as well as an earlier one, were reviewed for goaltender interference but went against him, so his stat line could easily have looked better.

USHL

Ethan Edwards was a +2 with 2 PIM as Sioux City lost 3-2 to Omaha on Saturday. This was their first game since 11/14 due to postponements. Unfortunately, their game on Sunday against Tri-City had to be postponed.

Akira Schmid did not dress in that game for Sioux City. I did notice that Alex Tracy, the other regular goaltender for Sioux City, didn’t dress in that game either. 20 year old Darius Bell played the whole game for the Musketeers which was his USHL debut. He primarily plays in the OJHL. 18 year old Zach Hansen dressed as the backup. He has some NAHL experience and backed up for Dubuque and Cedar Rapids in the USHL last season but hasn’t made his debut yet. I haven’t found the reason that neither Schmid or Tracy dressed.

Russia

VHL & MHL

Yegor Zaitsev had an assist, +3, and 2 shots while averaging 15:59 across 3 KHL games last week.

Daniil Misyul was a +1 with 2 PIM and 4 shots while averaging 15:13 across 3 KHL games last week.

Arseni Gritsyuk and Shakir Mukhamadullin are with Russia’s WJC team as they prepare for the upcoming tournament. Gillian Kemmerer has this great interview with Mukhamadullin and Rodion Amirov over at the KHL website. They talk about their on and off ice competitiveness as well as experience playing international hockey, as the club teammates prepare to represent Russia at the WJC. I highly recommend checking out the entire interview as it notes that Mukhamadullin won all the fitness tests ahead of this season for Ufa, goes into the different styles of play between Ufa and the Russian team, and talks about the influence that the old Soviet teams had on them.

Nikita Popugayev had an even rating, 2 PIM, and 2 shots while averaging 12:42 across 2 KHL games last week.

Yegor Sharangovich continued to be one of the most productive players in the KHL. He had 2 goals (1 EV, 1 PP), 2 assists, +4, 6 shots, and won 43.33% of his faceoffs while averaging19:37 across 2 games last week. He has a 5 game point streak with 5 goals and 3 assists during that stretch. Sharangovich is now 3rd in the KHL with 17 goals in 31 games. Of course his 19.10 SH% isn’t sustainable but I’m just happy to see him taking full advantage of his loan and hope he can parlay that into success when the Devils recall him. Check out his most recent goals below:

Finland

Liiga

Shortly after last week’s post came out, it was announced that Nick Merkley was recalled by New Jersey from his loan. It was great to see him take full advantage of this opportunity and get his season started off well. Hopefully he can carry this over into training camp as I really do think he can be a contributor to the Devils this season.

Liiga has paused their season until late December due to COVID-19 restrictions. That means that Eetu Pakkila and Janne Kuokkanen had no games last week. Pakkila is set to be back in action for Ilves on 12/26 against Tappara. Kuokkanen would be back for Karpat on 12/26 against JYP, but I would have to imagine that he’s recalled from his loan shortly by the Devils.

Sweden

SHL & Allsvenskan

Nikola Pasic was a -4 with a shot while averaging 11:55 across 3 games last week.

Alexander Holtz had an even rating and 3 shots while averaging 11:06 across 3 games last week. This is the first time all season that he’s had consecutive games without a point. He should be off to join Sweden soon as they prepare for the WJC.

Fabian Zetterlund was a -2 with 2 PIM and 6 shots while averaging 16:22 across 2 games last week.

The Rest of Europe

Swiss National League, Slovak Extraliga, Czech 1.liga, Deutsche Eishockey Liga

Benjamin Baumgartner had a goal, 2 assists, +2, 6 shots, and won 60.0% of his faceoffs while averaging 15:47 across 2 games last week.

Marian Studenic had an assist, +1, and 3 shots while averaging 13:24 across 2 games last week.

Jaromir Pytlik was named to the Czech Republic selection camp for the WJC. He joined the camp last week and figures to play a decent role on this year’s team as a returning player.

Nico Daws and ERC Ingolstadt are set to open their season on 12/20 against the Schwenninger Wild Wings. They have had two pre-season games so far but I haven’t been able to find the stats from those.

Your Take

Which prospects stood out to you this past week? What are your expectations for Tyce Thompson and Patrick Moynihan this season? What do you think of Benjamin Baumgartner’s season so far? What are your thoughts on Nick Merkley’s loan stint in Finland? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!

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