Clarke, Mercer Invited to Team Canada Selection Camp

Today Amanda Stein, on the “Inside the Devils Blog,” reported that two Devils forward prospects have been named to Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp.

Graeme Clarke, taken in the third-round, 80th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft and Dawson Mercer, taken 18th overall in the first-round in this year’s Draft, will attend the National Junior Selection Camp in Red Deer, Alberta. The camp, Stein reports, runs from November 16 to December 13, 2020.

Clarke and Dawson were two of 42 players selected for the camp.

Stein mentions that Clarke’s season with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League has yet to get off the ground due to COVID-19. The OHL has not started their season due to the pandemic.

Mercer, on the other hand, plays for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The QMJHL’s season has started and Mercer, in four games has four goals and two assists. With those six points, he is currently second in scoring on the Sags right now, enjoying a point-per-game pace.

One other thing to note is that Stein mentioned that 67’s coach Andre Tourigny is also the coach of the Team Canada, the defending champs at the World Juniors. Canada struck gold last year and will hope to do the same this year on home ice when the tournament begins on Christmas Day in Edmonton, Alberta.

In other Devils-related news, the “Devils Army Blog” noted on Twitter that prospect Yegor Sharangovich, loaned to Dinamo Minsk of the KHL, has 10 goals over the last 19 games with Minsk. This includes two goals against Dinamo Riga last week as Minsk beat Riga 3-0. Hopefully the former fifth-round pick can keep this pace up when he returns to North America in the coming months.

In coaching/scouting news, Devils Insiders report on Twitter that, “according to the team website, Peter Horachek has been re-assigned from AC to his prior role as a Pro Scout.” Horachek served last season as an assistant under Alain Nasreddine but will return to his role in the scouting department. It is good to see that the Devils did not fully cut ties with him.

Devils Insiders also note that Brian Strait will serve as a Pro Scout too. They said that “he did some scouting work for” the Devils last year while out with injuries playing for the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. It is possible that Strait quietly retired and will now work full-time as a scout for the organization. Otherwise, he is still out with injuries and will continue to serve in this role until he plays for Binghamton again.

Devils Continue Signings on Busy Day

The Devils continued to sign free agents despite most of the big names being off the table, adding pieces for the team for here while also stocking Binghamton of the AHL.

Bracken Kearns comes to the Devils from the Islanders organization, signing a two-way contract. The contract is worth $650,000 at the NHL level. Kearns is a 36 year old, 6-foot, 195-pound North Vancouver, British Columbia native. The forward has skated in 35 NHL games (with Florida, San Jose and the Isles) with 25 of them coming in 2013-14 with the Sharks, according to the press release put out by the Devils. He worked his way up from the University of Calgary in Canadian collegiate hockey to the Toledo Storm of the ECHL and on to the AHL and NHL. He is an eleven year pro.

In the AHL, he has skated for the Cleveland Barons, Milwaukee Admirals, Norfolk Admirals, Rockford IceHogs, San Antonio Rampage, Worcester Sharks and most recently with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders affiliate). His totals at the American League level show 110 goals and 156 assists for 266 points in 473 games. He also has 496 penalty minutes.

The Devils also re-signed one of their own. Brian Gibbons, who played last year at Albany of the AHL, signed a two-way pact with the organization worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

Gibbons, a 29 year old, 5-foot, 8-inch, 175-pound forward has played in the Pittsburgh, Columbus and Rangers organizations prior to coming to the Devils. He has played 66 NHL games for the Pens and the Blue Jackets. The Braintree, Massachusetts native went to Boston College before turning pro six years ago.

Last season, the Devils’ press release says that he had a career high in goals (16) and points (36) and tied for the Albany team lead with 72 games played. He was originally a Pittsburgh free agent signee out of college and played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, where he was coached by John Hynes.

The other late signing by the Devils was Brian Strait, who got a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level. He comes to the Devils from the Winnipeg organization. where he spent time with the Jets and the Manitoba Moose of the AHL last season.

The 29 year old, 6-foot, 1-inch, 205-pound defenseman from Waltham, Massachusetts played at Devils coach John Hynes’ alma mater of Boston University. He later played under Hynes at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in 2006 according to the Devils’ press release.

He, like a lot of recent Devils signees, has Pittsburgh roots. He was drafted by the Penguins 65th overall in the third round in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft accoding to the press release. He has spent time in the Pens, Islanders and Jets organizations prior to his signing today.

Last year, with the Moose, he played in 58 games and scored two goals and 12 assists for 14 points total. He played in five NHL games last year for Winnipeg and had two assists.

In news going the other way, Devils restricted free agent Jacob Josefson (who was not tendered an offer) has signed a one year contract with the Buffalo Sabres worth $700,000. Good luck to Josefson in Buffalo.

The Devils signings are largely at the AHL level and are to fill out the Binghamton roster. But maybe one of the signings can bear fruit and one of these veterans can fill in when injuries hit or even make the team out of training camp.