Devils’ Prospect Report: Casey, Hughes, Stillman & More

It’s been an eventful week for the New Jersey Devils, who are one win shy of a 13-game win streak, which would tie the franchise record for the longest win streak. Some big-named prospects also find their names in headlines between trades and breakout performances.

More Assists for Michigan Men

Seamus Casey, Luke Hughes, and Ethan Edwards had another big weekend for the Michigan Wolverines. Casey recorded two assists Friday (Nov. 18) during Michigan’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and two more assists in Saturday’s (Nov. 19) 6-3 loss. The former second-round pick now has three goals and 11 assists in 14 games and is tied for fourth in the country in scoring by a defenseman and first amongst freshmen defensemen.

Hughes added one assist in each game as well, bringing his scoring total to two goals and 11 assists in 14 games. The sophomore defenseman is known for his offensive ability but has been praised for his defensive improvement this season. He is second amongst Michigan defensemen with a plus-5 rating and third amongst all skaters with 13 blocks this season.

Luke Hughes Michigan Wolverines
Luke Hughes, Michigan Wolverines (Michigan Photography)

The Wolverines’ roster was decimated by an illness that forced the backup goaltender to skate as the fourth-line winger to fill out the game-day lineup. Although it was a rough weekend for Michigan, it’s nice to see three of their defensemen continue to make an impact.

Stillman’s Breakout Game?

Chase Stillman recorded four goals and one assist in the Peterborough Petes’ 7-3 win Friday (Nov 18.) over the Mississauga Steelheads. The former first-round draft pick is often scrutinized for his lack of offensive production for a 20-year-old playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL,) but he exploded to more than double his goal total in just one game.

Related: Chase Stillman Could Potentially Be A Great Add for the Devils

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Stillman is an agitator, and that is what New Jersey drafted him to be, as it’s an element that the organization lacks, but if he isn’t able to consistently contribute offensively in the OHL and eventually NHL, he may never get the chance to display his best asset with the Devils.

Stillman has seven goals and nine assists in 17 games this season and is on pace to surpass his previous total of 29 points that he set last year. Maybe he can use this performance as a breakout game to propel his offense to a level that is expected from a former first-round draft pick. If his offense eventually matches his ability to get under the opposition’s skin, then Stillman will be an incredible foundational piece for New Jersey in the future.

Popugaev Goes From Worst To First

Nikita Popugaev was traded from HC Sochi to SKA St.Petersburg Friday (Nov. 18) in a move that saw him going from the worst team in the standings to the one at the top of the standings.

The former social media star skated on SKA’s fourth line in his debut and recorded one hit, one block, and one shot on goal in 16:29 of ice time in the 2-1 loss to Neftekhimik. Between SKA and Sochi, Popugaev has nine goals and five assists in 29 games this season. He joins fellow Devils prospect Zakhar Bardakov and former Devils winger Nikita Gusev with SKA.

Popugaev is typically a bottom-six player due to his 6-foot-6 frame, so it will be interesting to see if he can develop any chemistry with Bardakov once he returns to the lineup.

Is Stillman on his way to breaking out? Does Popugaev have a future in New Jersey? Please leave your opinions in the comments below.

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