Larson Propels Devils to OT Victory in Prospects Challenge Finale

The Devils faced off with Boston Bruins in a 9:30 AM tilt this morning to finish off their 2019 Prospects Challenge slate.

Jack Hughes was back in the lineup for New Jersey, refreshed after his healthy scratch in Saturday’s game.

The Devils would get on the board early on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Nathan Bastian scored to make it 1-0.

But true to the way the Devils had been playing in this tournament, they gave up an equalizer to Dante Hannoun late in the first frame. Hannoun beat goaltender Evan Cormier after Cormier made the initial save, but gave up a rebound in front. That knotted the game at one apiece.

A scary moment involving a Hughes early in the second. Breathe easy Devils fans, it was not Jack, but rather the Bruins’ Cameron Hughes, who got clipped by a skate or puck during a tie-up along the boards and left the game bloodied.

The B’s would take the 2-1 lead before the second period was up when Scott Conway redirected a shot by Cormier in front. This goal also came on the power play.

Boston now had the lead going into what was promising to be a tight final period of the tournament for both teams.

It began with a scrap involving Bastian and the Bruins’ Wiley Sherman. This came after Jack Hughes was bumped from behind and went down, necessitating Bastian to step in and protect the young Devil. Bastian would also draw an extra two minutes for cross checking leading to a brief Bruins power play. The Devils were already on the man advantage so there was some brief 4-on-4 play.

That was killed off, but the power play would lead directly to the Devils tying up the game. The Devils had a power play with just about two minutes remaining in the game and pulled goaltender Cormier for the 6-on-4 advantage. This is a risky move because the penalty negates icing, resulting in the Bruins being able to open fire on the empty goal cage.

But the Devils kept it out and with less than a minute to go, Ludvig Larson scored to tie things up at two apiece.

Larson would win it with another goal in the overtime period, beating goaltender Taylot Gauthier with about two minutes to go, giving the Devils the 3-2 win.

So that wraps up the Prospects Challenge from the Harborcenter in Buffalo. Next up, training camp starts on Thursday for the Devils and then preseason as we will have those games for you here.

Devils Edged by Pens at Prospects Challenge

The Devils played their second game of the 2019 Prospects Challenge this afternoon and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1.

Of note: I watched this game on the Devils’ YouTube channel as opposed to the website and the audio and video quality was worlds better, being presented in HD. The broadcast team did acknowledge the problems on Friday’s webcast, saying that the NHL was having some troubles getting the stream out there.

The Devils had a better showing than yesterday, but as Matt Laughlin pointed out on the webcast the last two games, they have had less practice time than the other teams in the tournament, having left for Buffalo straight from Newark. Not an excuse, just the way it is.

Jack Hughes did not play in today’s game, being a healthy scratch, giving a prospect who will undoubtedly be playing in the NHL this season some time off to maintain himself. He was joined by Colton White and Colby Sissons as the scratches for the Devils.

Akira Schmid, following his relief work on Friday, got the whole game today, as that has been the case all along – for goalies to get whole games. Gilles Senn was just ambushed in Friday’s game and the coaching staff did not want to leave him out to dry, which is why Schmid got time in the game versus Buffalo.

Graeme Clarke got what would turn out to be the Devils’ only goal early on in the first period. He scored from Jesper Boqvist and Joey Anderson on the power play, beating Pittsburgh goaltender Alex D’Orio.

The Penguins would respond only minutes later when Jan Drozg shot through a screen to tie it at one apiece.

The Devils started the second period on the power play, but were unable to convert, which became a theme all throughout the game.

After killing off the penalty, Pittsburgh would score what would go down as the game-winner when Anthony Angelo scored to make it 2-1 Pens.

Following this goal, things began to get a little more chippy, especially when Devils defenseman Nicholas Canade dropped the gloves with the Penguins’ Brandon Hawkins in the second period. This is their only allowed fight during the tournament but it was a good one.

Special teams played a big role for the Devils especially in the third when they allowed no shots on a power play set up by a penalty to Boqvist.

The Devils would be on the other side of things when they had a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the third and could not convert. They would also have a power play with a little more than two minutes to go in the game, even pulling Schmid to make it 6-on-4, but could do nothing. Pens’ goalie D’Orio was big on those power plays, making some big stops and defusing the Devils’ chances.

Of other notes in the game was that Joey Anderson left the game late, going down the tunnel. We will have to wait and see how bad an injury it is, or if he was just being kept out for simply precautionary reasons. Hopefully is the latter, though he did not return.

Also, one final note that one player on the Pittsburgh roster has a connection to Devils of the past. Chris Brown suited up for the Pens and is the son of former Devil Doug Brown.

The Devils will play again on Monday morning at 9:30 AM. We will try to have something up then for you.

Devils Fall in First Game of Prospects Challenge

The Devils kicked off the 2019 Prospects Challenge from Harborcenter in Buffalo against the Sabres tonight, falling in their debut game 6-4.

Before we begin, some odds and ends of Devils-related news over the last few days. Firstly, a belated congratulations to former Devil Bill Guerin who was named the general manager of the Minnesota Wild last week. Good luck to a key member of the 1995 Devils as he embarks on a career as an NHL GM.

Secondly, the Devils made two AHL-level signings last week to help fill out the Binghamton roster. First up was Michael Paliotta, 26, signed to a one-year American League contract.

Paliotta is a 6-foot, 4-inch, 207-pound defenseman from Westport, Connecticut who spent last season with the Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames AHL affiliate).

Paliotta has 177 AHL games under his belt with Stockton, the Texas Stars, Hartford Wolf Pack and Lake Erie Monsters. He has ten goals and 35 assists over those games for 45 points. He won the Calder Cup with Lake Erie in 2016. He played college hockey at the University of Vermont and was a part of the US National Team Development Program, winning a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship.

The other AHL signing was goaltender Eamon McAdam to a one-year AHL contract.

McAdam, a native of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, spent last season split between the Toronto Marlies (AHL) and Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL) in the Maple Leafs organization.

He had a 2.99 goals against average and a .897 save percentage in 19 games with the Marlies and a 2.62 GAA and .911 save percentage in 19 games with the Growlers. He won a Kelly Cup championship with the Growlers last season.

The press release put out by the Binghamton Devils mentions that he has played in 55 AHL games total with Bridgeport and Toronto. He has played in 65 games in the ECHL with Missouri, Worcester and Newfoundland. He played college hockey three years at Penn State.

So with all of that out of the way, we come to the first game of the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo.

It was a little bit ugly for the Devils early on, as the Sabres scored just 30 seconds into the game. Kyle Olson took a turnover deep in the Devils’ zone and converted it to make it 1-0.

Of note on the Buffalo roster was defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, a Boston College product who happens to be the son of Devils’ Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald.

Buffalo made it 2-0 later in the first off a 2-on-1 rush when Victor Olofsson scored.

Another Devils’ turnover midway through the first was met with a nice save from goaltender Gilles Senn, who played the first two periods before fellow Swiss goalie Akira Schmid came on in the third.

At the 14: 16 mark, Andrew Oglevie made it 3-0 when he beat Senn glove side with plenty of room and time to maneuver.

In the second period, Olofsson would hit a crossbar early in a bid for a second goal on the night. Artu Ruotsalainen would connect a few minutes later to make it 4-0. Fitzgerald had an assist on this goal.

Things started to get real ugly when Dylan Cozens redirected a puck by Senn on the power play to make it 5-0.

Then, 29 seconds after that goal, William Borgen made it 6-0 Sabres. This was the high point for Buffalo as the Devils would begin to chip away a bit.

Jack Hughes, who saw first unit power play time and generally had a good game, picked off a Buffalo clearing attempt and fired it by Jonas Johansson on the power play to make it 6-1 and begin a mini Devils comeback.

In the third period, things began to get a little bit chippy, resulting in Matej Pekar (Sabres) and Michael Vukojevic (Devils) getting into a scrap. There is a unique rule in this tournament that a player can only have one fight before he his taken off his team’s roster. These guys got it out of the way early.

Following that, some good puck possession along the boards led to Jesper Boqvist being able to create some space and score to make it 6-2.

Colton White would add one more for the Devils, when he redirected a shot by Johansson. That made it 6-3.

Our final came when Joey Anderson, wearing a new number (14) on his back, scored on the power play to make it 6-4.

The Devils pulled Schmid late, but could do no more damage.

Next up, the Devils play tomorrow against the Penguins at 3:30 PM. We will try to have some coverage of that right here for you then.

Devils Reveal Roster for Prospects Challenge

I know I should have really combined all of these posts, but the news just keeps on coming here.

The Devils announced via a press release today their roster for the Prospects Challenge that will take place in Buffalo from September 6 to 9.

They will be participating in a round-robin style tournament at the HarborCenter in Buffalo against the Sabres, Bruins and Penguins.

The roster includes 15 forwards and nine defensemen and three goalies according to the press release.

The press release breaks this down as “three of the Devils last four first-round picks – 2019 NHL Draft #1 overall, Jack Hughes, 2018 #17 overall Ty Smith and 2016 #12 overall Michael McLeod.” Notably missing, obviously, is 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier – who is by now an established NHL player.

The presser says that five players on the Devils’ roster have NHL experience: Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, McLeod, Blake Speers and Colby Sissons.

Also included are “2017 second (Jesper Boqvist) and third (Fabian Zetterlund) round picks and 2016 second (Nathan Bastian) and third (Joey Anderson) round selections.

Overall, the roster looks like: Anderson, Bastian, Boqvist, Graeme Clarke, Brandon Gignac, Mitchell Hoelscher, Hughes, Ludvig Larson, Mikhail Maltsev, McLeod, Nikita Popugaev, Yegor Sharangovich, Speers, Marian Studenic and Zetterlund at forward. On defense is: Xavier Bernard, Nicholas Canade, Jeremy Groleau, Noah King, Nikita Okhotyuk, Sissons, Smith, Michael Vukojevic and Colton White. The three goaltenders are: Evan Cormier, Akira Schmid and Gilles Senn.

Once again, the tournament takes place September 6 to 9 and we will try to have something up for each game the Devils play.

Devils Prospects to Take Part in NHLPA Rookie Showcase

Amanda Stein of the Devils’ official website is reporting that three Devils prospects will be taking part in the 11th annual NHLPA Rookie Showcase.

She described the event as “an opportunity for Upper Deck to take photographs and video of the up-and-comers in the NHL, with the content collected used for an array of memorabilia including Upper Deck trading cards and digital video posts.”

There will be “28 NHL prospects and rookies” attending including Jack Hughes, Ty Smith and Jesper Boqvist attending from the Devils.

Stein said that “the event involves a group activity for the players as well as wrapping up with a team scrimmage.” It will take place August 25 at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Virginia, the Capitals’ practice facility.

In other news, Taylor Hall was named 15th on the NHL Network’s List of Top 20 Wingers.

The Devils’ official website blogger Chris Wescott quoted NHL Network analyst (and former Devil) Mike Rupp as saying: “When he’s in the lineup, he’s contributing, he’s getting points. Look for him to have another bounce-back year this year and probably be higher on the list next year.”

The 2018 Hart Trophy winner was the only Devil to make the list.

Devils to Take Part in Prospects Challenge Again This Year

Once again this September, the Devils will be participating in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo according to a post on the Devils’ official website by Marc Ciampa.

The mini tournament takes place from September 6 to 9 at Harborcenter in Buffalo. Just as last year, the other teams competing will be the Buffalo Sabres, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Devils will kick off the Challenge by taking on host Buffalo in the late game on Friday, September 6. That game is at 7 PM. On Saturday, September 7, the Devils will face Pittsburgh in the 3:30 PM game. On Monday, September 9, they will faceoff with Boston at 9:30 AM.

All games, according to Ciampa, will be streamed live on the Devils’ website at NewJerseyDevils.com.

If you plan to go, tickets for all games are $10 and can be purchased on the Sabres’ official website (Sabres.com), by phone (1-888-223-6000) or at the KeyBank Center box office (the arena the Sabres call home is right next door to Harborcenter).

The Prospects Challenge is always a good time as it officially kicks off the preseason and gets the ball rolling towards October.

Devils Development Camp Gets Underway

This news is mostly from yesterday, but I was just getting in from Arizona and did not have time to write anything up on it.

Devils Development Camp starts today (July 9) at the RWJBarnabas Hockey House practice rink at Prudential Center. It runs through July 13 and there were 37 players invited (including 23 forwards, ten defensemen and four goalies according to the Devils’ press release).

This roster includes this year’s first overall pick, Jack Hughes (who alone should be worth the $5 the Devils are charging for tickets to the 3-on-3 tournament tomorrow – July 10 and the Red and White Scrimmage on Saturday) and last year’s top pick, defenseman Ty Smith.

According to the press release, there will be a few players with some NHL experience with the big club. These include Joey Anderson, Nathan Bastian, Michael McLeod, Brett Seney (all forwards) and defenseman Colton White.

Guys who spent most of last season with Binghamton of the AHL who are also attending camp this week are: Brandon Gignac, Nikita Popugaev, Yegor Sharangovich, Blake Speers and Marian Studenic.

Making their debut at this camp for the Devils are the other players picked in this year’s Draft, including (aside from Hughes, mentioned above): Nikita Okhotyuk, Graeme Clarke, Michael Vukkojevic, Tyce Thompson, Case McCarthy, Cole Brady, Patrick Moynihan and Nikita Pasic.

Some guys to watch other than Hughes and Smith include: Jesper Boqvist, Fabian Zetterlund, Aarne Talvitie and Reilly Walsh.

Goalies include Gilles Senn, Akira Schmid, Evan Cormier and Brady. Just like regular camp, the Devils will host three players who were invited seeking to get a look from the team and maybe be signed. These three players are: Nicholas Canade, Danny Weight and Tyler Young.

Also attending are: defensemen Mitchell Hoelscher and Eetu Pakkila and forwards Xavier Bernard, Matthew Hellickson, Colby Sissons, Mikhail Maltsev and Jeremy Groleau.

I will be attending Dev Camp tomorrow for the 3-on-3 tournament and the Red and White Scrimmage on Saturday and will try to have something up for both.

Prospects Challenge: Devils Defeat Bruins 6-2

The Devils wrapped up the 2018 Prospects Challenge this morning in Buffalo. With a 9:30 AM puck drop it was certainly rise and shine time for the players.

And shine they did, defeating the Boston Bruins prospects 6-2. It was the second consecutive game the Devils prospects won by that score, after defeating Pittsburgh 6 to 2 on Saturday.

Boston actually took the early lead, when Valach Marek scored just 5:57 into the game from Senyshyn Zach. That made it 1-0 B’s. However, the Devils would tie things up before the end of the first period. At 14:57, Jeremey Groleau scored from Dylan Seitz and Blake Speers to tie the game moving into the second period.

The Devils would add two more in the second frame. At 7:00 minutes in, Brandon Baddock scored a power play goal from Yegor Shanrangovich and Speers – who finished the game with two assists. The Devils now had a 2-1 lead. Joey Anderson put them up by two when he scored unassisted at 9:29. Boston’s Clifton Connor would score the Bruins’ final goal of the morning at 15:03 of the second from Lauko Jakub to make it 3-2 going into the third.

The third period was all Devils. First, Ryan Schmelzer made it 4-2 when he scored on the power play at 7:01 from Colton White and Fabian Zetterlund.

Following that, Michael McLeod turned it on, scoring two goals within about three minutes of each other. He made it 5-2 when he scored at 10:03 from Schmelzer (his second point of the morning) and Colby Sissons. Then, at 12:55, McLeod struck again to give us our 6-2 final. He scored from Seitz (his second assist of the game) and Marian Studenic.

And that was it. The Devils closed out the Prospects Challenge with a record of two wins and one loss and both of those wins were by 6-2 score lines.

In nets, Akira Schmid went for the Devils and stopped 16 of 18 Boston shots for a .889 save percentage. For the Bruins, Weatherill Dawson saw 28 shots and stopped 22 of them.

On the power play, the Devils were 2-for-4 while going a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.

New Jersey will now gear up for training camp beginning on Friday with the first preseason game proper coming on Monday, September 17 when the Rangers come to Prudential Center.

Devils Reveal Roster For 2018 Prospects Challenge

The annual mini tournament, which will also include teams fielded by the Sabres, Bruins and Penguins, will take place starting this Friday, September 7. It will take place at the HarborCenter in Buffalo and concludes on Monday, September 10.

The Devils’ press release on the matter gave the roster as follows: 26 players total, including three goalies, eight defensemen and 15 forwards. The forwards are: Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, Brett Seney, Blake Speers, John Quenneville, Joey Anderson, Brandon GIgnac, Brandon Baddock, Yegor Sharangovich, Mitch Hoelscher, Fabian Zetterlund, Marian Studenic, John Edwardh, Ryan Schmelzer and Dylan Seitz.

Defensemen include: Josh Jacobs, Ty Smith, Xavier Bernard, Colton White, Jeremey Groleau, Tariq Hammond, Colby Sissons and Jocktan Chainey.

The three goaltenders include Mackenzie Blackwood, Cam Johnson and Akira Schmid.

The Devils’ press release breaks down the roster as having three first round draft picks (Smith, McLeod and Quenneville) and five 2018 Draft picks, including Smith, Sharangovich, Hoelscher and Schmid.

The Devils also noted that three players were signed out of college: Anderson, Johnson and Seney. The other draft classes include 2017 (Zetterlund, Studenic and Chainey), 2016 (Bastian and Gignac) and 2015 (Blackwood, Speers and White).

This pre-camp tournament should give the younger players a little bit more development. Training camp will get underway about a week following.

Ty Smith Signs Entry-Level Contract

The Devils’ 2018 first round pick has signed his entry level deal with the team, General Manager Ray Shero announced today. Defenseman Ty Smith, selected 17th overall by New Jersey, has been inked for three years.

The 18-year-old (born March 24, 2000), lefty shot just completed his second season last year with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. According to the press release put out by the Devils, he had career highs in all statistical categories. He potted 14 goals and 59 assists for a total of 73 points in 69 games. He also had 30 penalty minutes and was a plus-44 plus/minus rating in those games. The press release also mentioned that “(h)is assist and point totals were the second highest in the WHL among rearguards.”

The press release says that in a February 23, 2018 game against the Prince George Cougars, Smith set a Spokane franchise record for points in a game with two goals and five assists. The Lloydminster, Alberta native also was named to the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team and was the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, winning the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy, last season.

Smith represented Canada internationally at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where Canada won gold. He was captain of Canada’s IIHF U18 World Championship team that won that championship.

He also won a silver medal with Canada at the 2017 U17 WHC according to the press release and was also named to that tournament’s All-Star Team. According to Robert Murray, writing for the WHL’s official website, Smith also played in the 2018 Sport Chek World Junior Showcase that took place this summer in Kamloops, British Columbia. Murray said that he registered four assists in five games.

The press release goes back further in Smith’s hockey development, as it mentions that he played 2015-16 with the Lloydminster Midget AAA Bobcats and was named to the AMHL First All-Star team that year as well as being the league’s top defenseman. The Bobcats won the AMHL championship that year to boot.

Smith is 5′ 10″ and 170-pounds and will look to make an impact at this year’s training camp, as he did when he attended Devils developmental camp back in July.