Devils Injury Updates

According to a staff report on the Devils app, a few of the injuries that have ravaged the team of late have been updated.

To begin with, we already know that Jack Hughes has been shut down for the remainder of the season due to his low grade MCL sprain. Imaging and evaluation done “by the Devils medical staff and head orthopedic surgeon/Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow” confirmed the injury to his left knee.

As for other injured Devils, Yegor Sharangovich, who left Tuesday’s game against the Rangers after fighting Braden Schneider, “skated on his own prior to the team’s optional practice Wednesday.”

Coach Lindy Ruff commented that “That’s a positive. We’ll see how he makes out after that and how he feels tomorrow. I think there’s a possibility (he plays Thursday against Montreal). We’ll see where he’s at.”

Jimmy Vesey, who left the Rangers game when he collided with Schneider later on in the contest and was unable to “put weight on his leg” will also have “imaging done on his left leg Wednesday.”

Ruff said about Vesey: “We’ll find out more with regards to where he’s going to be at.”

Nathan Bastian got hurt in the Islanders game this past Sunday and was out for the Rangers game on Tuesday.

On Bastian, Ruff said: “Nate’s doing better. Hopefully he can skate tomorrow, but I don’t think he’ll be available to play.” That would likely rule him out for tomorrow’s game against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center which will be completing the four-game homestand.

Due to the most recent rash of injuries, the Devils needed to make some call ups from AHL Utica to replace the four forwards who will be missing or their status touch-and-go.

In that regard, forwards Fabian Zetterlund and AJ Greer have been recalled from the Comets to fill the gaps.

For each, this is another call up to the NHL level. Zetterlund, 22-years-old, first played a series of three games for the Devils back in late November according to Sam Kasan of the “Inside the Devils Blog.”

He has led the Comets in goals this season with 24 as well as points with 52.

Greer made his most recent appearances for the Devils back on March 23 to 27 (three games) and has played a total of five games for New Jersey in 2021-22. For the Comets, he is tied for second in goals with 22 and is also second in points with 50.

Greer has more NHL experience having played 43 total games at the big-league level between the Colorado Avalanche and the Devils. He has a goal, five assists and six points in the NHL.

And, in a final bit of news from Peter Robinson (who writes the “Prospect Report” column on the Devils’ website, the Devils will have some players representing their future in the NCAA Frozen Four – which gets underway on Thursday in Boston.

The University of Michigan will face the University of Denver in the first semifinal then while the University of Minnesota will take on Minnesota State in the other semifinal.

The Wolverines have two freshmen defensemen in Luke Hughes and Ethan Edwards who are Devils draft picks.

(On a side note, Edwards’ brother, Brett, plays for Denver.)

Ethan Edwards was fourth-round pick in 2020 (120th overall) by the Devils.

Michigan last won a national championship in 1998 (as Robinson points out, in the same building in Boston – which was known as the Fleet Center back then) and then-future Devils Brendan Morrison and John Madden won an NCAA championship with Michigan in 1996.

2020 NHL Draft Day Two

The Devils finished up day two at the 2020 NHL Draft by making four more picks.

First up, at 84th overall, the Devils went for a goaltender by selecting Nicolas Daws from the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm.

Daws, born in Germany, moved to Canada when he was extremely young. As a story told by EJ Hradek on the NHL Network today goes, he has duel citizenship and had reached out to German hockey officials to find out if they wanted him for international duty. When they indicated that they did not, he simply made the Canadian World Junior team.

Pretty impressive stuff.

Daws finished the 2019-20 season with a 23-8-6 record and led the pace for OHL goalies with a .924 save percentage and five shutouts.

Next up, with the 99th pick, the Devils took Czech player Jaromir Pytlik of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario League.

The center is 6-feet, 2-inches tall weighing in at 200 pounds from Dacice, Czech Republic. Catherine Bogart of the Devils’ website reports that he had 22 goals and 28 assists for Sault Ste. Marie last year totaling an even 50 points over 56 games played. She also said that he participated in the 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects game where he registered two shots on goal.

Because of his nationality, Pytlik plays for the Czechs internationally and was on their 2020 World Junior team. Bogart mentioned that it was during that tournament that he was coached by none other than Patrik Elias. His father was also a player and coach in the Czech Republic as noted by Bogart.

Joey Tenute of the NHL Central Scouting was quoted by Bogart as saying he plays a strong 200-foot game and is “a mature player that’s relied upon in crucial situations. Good on the power play, penalty kill, and face-offs. He’s a big kid and uses his size to his advantage.”

With the 120th pick, the Devils went to the Alberta Junior Hockey League where they chose Ethan Edwards from Spruce Grove of that league.

Edwards, a 5-feet, 10-inch, 166-pound defenseman had nine goals and 24 assists for 33 points over 50 games played according to Bogart. He was finished second in scoring for under-18 AJHL d-men.

Bogart mentioned that Edwards, a native of Alberta (Grande Prairie) “played for Canada West in the 2019 World Junior A Challenge, where he scored a goal over four games. Edwards was ranked 77th out of all North American skaters on the NHL’s Central Scouting rankings list.”

Bogart also noted that Edwards is a great skater “known for his mobility” and strength on his skates.

Ten picks later, at 130, the Devils went to Minnesota prep school powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary’s where they took Artem Shlaine, a center.

Shlaine is 6-feet, 1-inch tall and weighs 165 pounds. He was ranked 93rd by NHL Central Scouting for North American skaters.

Bogart said that Shlaine led Shattuck St. Mary’s in scoring with 26 goals and 52 assists for a whopping 78 points over a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team did, according to Bogart, manage to go 35-8-3 and win “the 2020 McPherson Cup tournament.”

If you think 78 points is impressive, note what he did in 2018-19: 34 goals and 56 points totaling 90 points over a course of 56 games!

Bogart said that Shlaine also played five games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League. He notched two goals and an assist (three points) over those five tilts.

Bogart quoted Elite Prospect’s Draft Guide in saying “that Shlaine boasts outstanding puck skills. He not only possesses through layers, but consistently passes into space hitting teammates on their tape. His shot gives goaltenders grief, with changes in angle, quick release points, and precise placement. Shlaine employs a complex selection of dekes and shows a willingness to crash and attack rebounds.”

Shlaine will be playing college hockey in the tri-state area as he is committed to the University of Connecticut of Hockey East for 2020-21. Bogart notes that he “has plans to major in business while playing for the Huskies.”

And finally, with their final pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, in the sixth round, New Jersey went overseas to select Austrian center Benjamin Baumgartner. He is 5-feet, 9-inches tall, weighing 165-pounds and played last year for Davos in the Swiss National League.

The centerman notched seven goals, 20 assists for 27 points over 37 games for Davos. He is 20-years-old as he was passed over in the last two NHL Drafts, but he did play for Austria at the 2020 World Junior Championship Division 1-A. At that tournament, he had five goals, six assists for eleven points over five games.

Bogart mentioned that Austria won gold at that tournament and Baumgartner “led all skaters in goals, assists, and points.” As an older prospect, he did participate in the 2019 World Championship for the Austrians, getting into four games in that tournament.

Bogart quoted Elite Prospect’s Draft Guide again for Baumgartner when she said: “a lot of offensive skill packed into [his] meager frame. He’s consistently displayed a high level of skill at every turn. He’s a competent handler on both forehand and backhand. The combination of a dexterous set of hands, technically sound passing, and a high-end vision make Baumgartner a threat whenever he’s on the puck.”

So that wraps up the 2020 NHL Draft for the Devils. We got a really good one in Holtz and the other first round guys. Maybe someone pans out in the later picks, we will see over time. But no matter what, it was a good haul.

Tomorrow free agency starts in this rapid fire of an off season. We will hopefully try to get stuff up regarding that in a timely fashion then.