Although the Devils’ season ended sooner than fans would have liked, there is still some hockey glory (and honors) left for Devils’ prospects and roster veterans to claim.
Pavel Zacha, who made a splash with two assists in his NHL debut in the season finale against the Toronto Maple Leafs last week, has been nominated by his major junior club, the Sarnia Sting, for the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year award. Zacha and the Sting were bounced early from the OHL playoffs and he will likely appear for the Albany Devils in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs, kicking off next week. The OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year award is voted on by sportswriters and broadcasters who cover that league, according to the Devils’ website’s press release.
Another future Devil skater is up for an award in the OHL as well: Blake Speers of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is in the running for Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year. This award is “voted on by the OHL’s member teams.” He had just 42 penalty minutes in 68 regular season games. The Soo Greyhounds’ season just ended yesterday at the hands of the Erie Otters in the OHL playoffs.
A Devils’ goaltending prospect is also in the running for a major OHL award: Mackenzie Blackwood of the Barrie Colts has been named as a finalist for the OHL Goaltender of the Year. Blackwood had 28 wins this season and was ranked first in the league in save percentage (.921) with three shutouts. His Colts are doing a little better in the OHL playoffs, having knocked off the Mississauga Steelheads in the first round and are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Niagara IceDogs, having beaten the North Bay Battalion in the second round. This award is also voted on by the OHL’s teams.
On the World Championship front, Keith Kinkaid, Miles Wood and David Warsofsky will all be joining John Hynes’ Team USA squad at the international tournament in May to be held in Russia.
In addition, Devils video assistant, Matt DeMado was named the US team’s video coordinator according to the Devils’ press release on their website.
Of the three, only Warsofsky really has major international tournament experience. He won a gold medal in 2010 at the World Junior Championship and a bronze with the Men’s National Under-18 Team at the 2008 Under-18 World Championship.
Wood previously represented the US at the 2015 World Junior Championship. The US did not medal in that event. Kinkaid has no previous experience representing the US in a major tournament.
So, while the Devils’ NHL season has come to an end, there is still plenty of hockey left and plenty of accolades still to gather on and off the ice.