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 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.