Tag Archives: Prospects

Camping Out

Today the Devils kicked off the annual rookie developmental camp at their practice facility, AmeriHealth Pavilion, in Newark. Just as drills were getting underway, the complete roster was finally released. And there are some familiar names, some not so familiar ones, and a few people missing. The list:

Goaltenders:

Anthony Brodeur
Scott Wedgewood
Brandon Hope
Jake Hildebrand

Defensemen:

Seth Helgeson
Jon Merrill
Eric Gelinas
Brandon Burlon
Steve Santini
Curtis Gedig
Reece Scarlett
Matt Killian
Damon Severson
Zach Tolkinen
Oleg Yevenko

Forwards:

Derek Rodwell
Riley Boychuk
Artur Gavrus
Myles Bell
David Wohlberg
Alexander Kerfoot
Graham Black
Blake Pietila
Stefan Matteau
Ryan Kujawinski
Miles Wood
Ben Thomson
Frank DiChiara
Reid Boucher
Cody Wydo
Ben Johnson
Blake Coleman
Ryan Misiak
Michael Ambrosia
Conor Sheary
Kyle Gibbons
Dmitry Antipin
Nick Saracino

Breaking down the roster:

-8 players saw at least one game in Albany during the 2012-13 season.

-All 12 draft picks from 2012 and 2013 are in attendance.

-13 players were non-Devil invitees: 11 from the college ranks, 1 via the OHL, and 1 via the USHL.

-There are quite a few familiar names from Albany not on that list that one would normally see in these camps. Apparently some of the veteran prospects of the group were not required to come, per a provision in the CBA. Others are still unsigned restricted free agents (or even unrestricted).

In Lou We Trust has more roster analysis here.

For coverage of this week’s events:

Fire and Ice has quite a few stories from today’s sessions, with Anthony Brodeur and Gelinas and Merrill.

5 For Writing has an extensive photo gallery.

And a couple of interview videos, first with Jon Merrill:

And Reid Boucher:

With everything closed to the public (boo…not that I can go anyway, my annual week’s vacation doesn’t officially begin till after camp ends), this is as close as you’re going to get. There is a scrimmage planned for tomorrow, if any other news items pop up during the course of the week I may have an additional update.

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2013 Draft Wrapup

We have reached the month of July. Before the craziness of free agency begins at the end of this week, there was one more piece of business to take care of: the 2013 NHL Draft, held at the Prudential Center. I tried to obtain a free ticket to the event, but not surprisingly I ended up home on the couch as the first round got underway Sunday afternoon. At the beginning of the day, New Jersey had a total of four picks: 1st round, 9th overall; 2nd round, 39th overall; 4th round, 100th overall; and 6th round, 160th overall. There was a lot of speculation as to who the Devils would pick at #9, maybe a forward that could provide some sorely needed offense? A few names were tossed around. But then, this happened:

Instead of picking at #9, the Devils pulled off a deal that seemingly came out of nowhere, trading the pick to Vancouver for goaltender Cory Schneider. While many cheered at first, I’m sitting at home with my jaw to the floor, in “Did that just happen?” mode. Of course the initial reaction was, what another goalie? But then, I started to think about it…obviously Marty will not be around forever, and with Schneider you have someone that not only can take over the #1 job once Marty finally does leave, but it gives the goaltending here and in the ECHL more time to develop and eventually compete for that #2 role in New Jersey. But at the moment only two goalies are technically under contract: Scott Wedgewood and Maxime Clermont. Jeff Frazee and Keith Kinkaid are both in the restricted free agent category, which more than likely means they stick around, but as of now it’s not official yet.

Of course, there was more draft to go after the big trade splash took place. Time to meet the newest members of the Devils organization:

2nd Round, #42 overall: Steve Santini, Defenseman, USNTDP

After swapping the #39 pick with the Coyotes for #42 and #73 in the third round, the Devils used the second round pick on Santini, an 18-year-old defenseman out of Mahopac, NY. He spent 2012-13 with the U.S. National Development Program, where in 66 games he posted no goals and 15 assists. He also represented the U.S. at the World Juniors, posting no points in 7 games. He’s off to Boston College in the fall, a school that has its share of alumni in the organization (Stephen Gionta, Joe Whitney to name a few).

3rd Round, #73 overall: Ryan Kujawinski, Center, Kingston (OHL)

With the second pick acquired from the Coyotes, the Devils used it to select Kujawinski, who spent all of last season with Kingston. Not bad offensive stats, with 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 66 games. Good size, but there was a question about consistency.

4th Round, #100 overall: Miles Wood, Forward, Noble & Greenough (MA)

An interesting selection at #100 in Wood, a prep school forward and Buffalo native. The 17-year-old (will not turn 18 until September) posted 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in 15 games. He’s off to Brown University in the fall, and depending on the ECAC and AHL schedule, I may have a chance to check him out when they play RPI or Union. You can follow him on Twitter at @MilesWood28.*

6th Round, #160 overall: Myles Bell, Left Wing, Kelowna (WHL)

For the Devils last (at the time) pick of the draft, they chose an overage prospect in Bell, a teammate of 2012 draftee (and 3 game A-Devil) Damon Severson. He converted from a defenseman to a forward at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, and it paid off with a huge offensive year. He posted 93 points (38 goals, 55 assists) in 69 games, with an astounding +46 rating. He would likely be the first of the draftees to make an appearance in an Albany uniform due to his age (he will turn 20 in August). He’s on Twitter at @my_ohs29*.

Just when everyone thought the Devils were done for the day, something awesome happened.

Round 7, #208 overall: Anthony Brodeur, Goaltender, Shattuck St. Mary’s (MN)

As the seventh round progressed, the Devils made a swap with Los Angeles, snagging the Kings’ 7th round selection for a 7th rounder in 2015. And it was only fitting that proud dad Martin was the one to make the official announcement. The younger Brodeur is no slouch in goal, however, starring for a well known prep school powerhouse at Shattuck St. Mary’s, a team that has seen many of its alumni go to the NHL. He’s off to Gatineau of the QMJHL next season. For those who have wanted to see a Brodeur on the Times Union Center ice…you may get your wish in a few years time. You can find him on Twitter at @abrodeur30.*

(Note: clicking on the names will take you to the In Lou We Trust or Elite Prospects pages.)
*As the saying goes, for now.

Now that the draft is over with, the next step is the free agent list. Per Fire and Ice, all A-Devil restricted free agents received their qualifying offers, except for forward J.S. Berube, who is now an unrestricted free agent. The move was not surprising to me, with the little playing time he received (1 goal and 1 assist in 10 games, but 5 goals and 6 assists in 13 in Trenton) after returning from a training camp injury.

Friday afternoon the free agency signing period will officially begin, but due to me being away for the Fourth of July holiday I will post the first Free Agent Tracker at some point Saturday morning. As I have done the last two summers, there will be updates at the beginning of August and September.

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Pre Baseball Mode Update

Before I head out to the ballpark and let these guys basically take over my Twitter feed till Labor Day (you’ve been warned), a couple of AHL related notes, just to get caught up:

-Remember when I said it wouldn’t surprise me if the Crunch would be hoisting the Calder Cup Friday evening? Well, yeah, about that…I kind of underestimated what Grand Rapids could do. After taking the first two at the War Memorial (with Game 2 slightly aided by a few referee, shall we say, mishaps?), the Griffins took Game 3 on home ice Wednesday evening, setting up what could become an improbable sweep. But the Crunch aren’t done just yet, taking Games 4 and 5 over the weekend to send the Finals back to the War Memorial for Game 6 tomorrow evening and a possible Game 7 on Thursday. There has already been a 0-3 to 4-3 comeback in these playoffs (Wilkes-Barre over Providence in the conference semifinals), what are the chances it could happen again?

-Friday the newest member of the AHL made its debut, the Utica Comets. After months of speculation, the Vancouver Canucks made it official, moving the former Peoria Rivermen and signing a 6 year lease (according to one source) to play at the 3800 seat Utica Memorial Auditorium, or The Aud. The website is in the works, but they are on Twitter (follow them at @UticaComets) and already at least 500 season tickets have been sold. With the new team just 83 miles west of Albany, I’m expecting to make a few trips out there during the season. No word on any realignment of divisions with this move, but one would think it would have to happen with a Western Conference team moving this far east.

-The only Devils note? Per the New Jersey PR Twitter, this year’s prospect camp is scheduled for July 15-19th at the AmeriHealth Pavilion. Once the list becomes available I’ll post it here.

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From The Incase You Missed It Department…

I’ve been so busy putting together my 3 part Season in Review that I have quite a few news items to catch up on. Even though it’s Offseason, Day 4, it’s been quite an eventful week. Time for me to play catchup…

-It appears that Albany (and Adirondack) will need to find a new ECHL affiliate for next season. For the second time in three years, a Trenton ECHL franchise has ceased operations. The Titans made the announcement on Tuesday, with the goal of returning to the league in 2014-15. This happens just two years after the Trenton Devils left the ECHL, with the Titans taking over just a couple of months later, but wound up with the same rumored financial woes.

-Also on Tuesday, Harri Pesonen, Eric Gelinas, and Mike Sislo were all recalled to New Jersey. This is the first callup for Gelinas and Sislo, and the third of the season for Pesonen, who had appeared in four games in his previous callups. Alexander Urbom finally got in some game action in Tuesday’s win at home over Montreal. Gelinas will be making his debut in the home finale against Pittsburgh, not sure if the other two will get in on Saturday for the season finale in New York City.

-Speaking of Devils…interesting story surrounding the whole saga with Stefan Matteau. For those that don’t know what happened, he had been benched during a QMJHL semifinal game over the weekend for basically taking a dumb penalty that cost his team (Blainville-Boisbriand) a goal. Instead of sucking it up and accepting it, depending on what story you read he essentially quit the team. But according to another source, he was released from the team after the game and was offered a plane ticket home. He chose to ride home on the fan bus (talk about an awkward situation…you’d likely never see that in the professional ranks). Here we have a 19 year old kid, first round draft pick, made his NHL debut during the season…but yet has a problem staying disciplined. I’m paying close attention to how this shakes out, because there is a good chance he may be playing here next season. Hopefully this is a lesson he can learn from as his playing career unfolds…just as long as it doesn’t turn into another Mike (Jefferson) Danton story.

-Per CapGeek, it appears that Seth Helgeson has indeed signed a two year entry level deal. He appeared in four games after signing an amateur try out agreement on April 5th, registering no points and finishing a +2.

-Per the AHL transactions, a formality today, as Helgeson, Reid Boucher and Jon Merrill were all released from their amateur tryouts.

-In AHL news, apparently the Connecticut Whale are about to be no more, as the team ownership has decided to return to the old Hartford Wolfpack after switching to the Whale two seasons ago. Does this mean the old introduction is coming back? Or how about a new Norelco commercial? The official announcement should come within the next week. Pucky the Whale, we hardly knew ye.

-As far as franchise silly season? Well, a rumor that first surfaced in late February never came to pass. It had been rumored that Calgary was planning on moving their AHL franchise in Abbotsford, British Columbia, to Utica, who last saw the AHL way back in the 1992-93 season when the Devils called the Aud home. It turned into a 3 way trade rumor: Peoria was being bought by Vancouver, who would then move the team to Abbotsford, paving the way for the Flames to go to Utica, while St. Louis (Peoria’s parent club) would take over Vancouver’s current AHL affiliate in Chicago. All came true this week, with the exception of the Utica move, as Calgary decided to stick with Abbotsford for at least one more season. Vancouver did buy the Peoria franchise, but without a chance of moving them to Abbotsford (negotiations met an impasse) they are first attempting to keep the team in Illinois. St. Louis and Chicago officially announced their affiliation agreement earlier this week. The only other move for sure is the Houston Aeros moving north to Iowa (who last saw the AHL in 2008-09 as the Stars, then the famous Iowa Chops), where they will be known as the Iowa Wild (sadly Chops sounds so much better in this case).

-And finally, you can find first round matchups for the Calder Cup Playoffs here. Sigh. Someday.

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Thursday Updates…

A few roster updates to pass along before the weekend slate of games begins:

-Tuesday morning Harri Pesonen was recalled to New Jersey after the parent club placed Henrik Tallinder on IR. He ended up being a healthy scratch in Wednesday’s win over the Flyers at The Rock, so it is yet to be determined when he’ll become the fourth A-Devil to make his NHL debut this season (the other three being Matt Anderson, Keith Kinkaid and Jeff Frazee).

-Once again it’s back to the ECHL for Harry Young, as he was reassigned to Kalamazoo on Wednesday. In his latest recall (which was back on February 24th), he did not appear in any games.

-Also on Wednesday New Jersey announced the signing of 2011 4th rounder Reid Boucher to an entry level contract. All he’s done this season in Sarnia (OHL) is score 62 goals (breaking Steven Stamkos’ team record) and rank fifth in the league with 94 points. You may recall him making an appearance in Albany’s last regular season game of 2011-12. There is a chance he could come up to Albany on an ATO once the Sting’s playoff run comes to an end.

-Finally, listed in yesterday’s AHL transactions, it looks like Scott Parse has been released from his contract. He played in Friday’s night loss to Bridgeport, then disappeared the rest of the weekend (he did not take part in the postgame autograph session on Sunday or come to the awards banquet on Tuesday). In just 15 games, he scored one goal and had three assists. He was in and out of the lineup due to a nagging hip injury. With this and Young’s demotion, this will help the logjam of extra forwards currently on the roster (Free Berube, anyone?).

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Let’s Go Camping!

This week it’s New Jersey’s turn to hold the annual rookie development camp, as several NHL teams did last week. Starting tomorrow at 9 AM, a total of 36 players will be in attendance, some familiar faces and some new to the organization. Per the Devils PR, here’s the complete list:

Goaltenders:

Keith Kinkaid
Maxime Clermont
Scott Wedgewood
Chris Rawlings

Defensemen:

Seth Helgeson
Jon Merrill
Joe Faust
Eric Gelinas
Brandon Burlon
Dan Kelly
Harry Young
Corbin McPherson
Reece Scarlett
Matt Killian
Damon Severson

Forwards:

Stefan Matteau
Peter McMullen
Mike Hoeffel
Ben Thomson
Reid Boucher
J.T. Barnett
J.S. Berube
Marcello Ranallo
Kelly Zajac
David Wohlberg
Graham Black
Darcy Zajac
Ben Johnson
Blake Coleman
Mike Sislo
Joe Whitney
David Friedmann
Bryan Haczyk
Kevin Goumas
Jack Berger
Michael Ambrosia

Breaking down the roster:

-16 players spent at least one game in an Albany uniform.

-5 are 2012 draft picks, including first rounder Stefan Matteau.

-9 are unsigned/undrafted invitees, including 2nd year participant Peter McMullen, grandson of former Devils owner John McMullen. Fire and Ice has more background info on those players.

Also worth noting: Joe Whitney and Darcy Zajac, both AHL free agents, are on the list. That’s a good sign of a possible return this season for both.

New Jersey’s PR Twitter account (@NHLDevilsPR) will be covering the camp all week.

While you’re waiting, check out the latest podcast at Talking Red. Prospect talk and their take on the whole Cam Janssen situation.

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