The New Jersey Devils are flying after winning eight of their last nine games for a season total of 18 points to sit all alone at the top of the Metropolitan Division. After another week of winning hockey for the Devils, it’s nice to see some prospects continuing their fine form as well.
Foote Is Finally Finishing
Nolan Foote has one goal in each of his last three games with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League (AHL). He is now up to four goals and two assists in nine games with the Comets.
The 6-foot-3 winger’s biggest strength will never be his skating or elusiveness, so to see him finally displaying his greatest asset in his shot is something that Devils’ management has been hoping for. If Foote hopes to develop into an impact player at the NHL level, he will need to do so as a modern-day power forward who can use his big body to get to the front of the net and who can beat goaltenders from far out with a booming shot.
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These numbers are nowhere near eye popping but as someone who has struggled adjusting to the professional game, it’s a huge positive sign to see Foote putting the puck in the net and taking advantage of his increased ice time after subtractions of players like Alexander Holtz and Fabian Zetterlund, who graduated to the NHL, and Chase DeLeo and A.J. Greer who moved on to other franchises.
Pasic on a Tear
Nikola Pasic has goals in seven straight HockeyAllsvenskan games and goals in eight straight home games. The 2019 seventh-round pick has nine goals and 10 assists for a career-high 19 points in 16 games. His previous career high of 15 points was set in 29 games during the 2021-22 season.
The Devils only hold Pasic’s rights until June 2023, so if he continues to score at his current pace, he may be a player who is brought to North America to develop in the Comets’ system before he becomes a free agent.
Bardakov Makes a Memorable Return From Injury
Zakhar Bardakov returned to the SKA St. Petersburg lineup Wednesday (Nov. 2) after he missed seven games due to an injury he sustained after colliding with the bench door back on Oct. 13. In his first game back, he only recorded two shots on goal and no points, but his biggest impact came in his second game back.
Bardakov recorded seven penalty minutes, including a five-minute major and two minutes for cross checking that caused a huge scrum between all players on the ice, and one assist in Saturday’s (Nov. 5) 5-2 win over Metallurg Mg. Bardakov corralled the puck along the end boards late in the third period and made a quick pass that split two defenders to find his teammate streaking down the middle of the ice who slotted it home.
His helper proved to be the game-winning assist, which brought his season totals to three goals and six assists in 18 games.
The Best of the Rest
Luke Hughes was named Big Ten first star of the week last week for his four-point weekend against the Western Michigan Broncos. This is the third time in his career that Hughes has been named Big Ten First star of the week.
Josh Filmon continues his hot start after recording one goal Friday (Nov. 4) and two goals Saturday (Nov. 5) for the Swift Current Broncos to bring his season totals to 10 goals and five assists in just 15 games.
Topias Vilen had a goal and an assists Wednesday (Nov. 2) in Pelicans’ 3-2 win over KalPa. The 19-year-old defenseman now has five goals and two assists in 13 games this season.
Daniil Misyul recorded one assist in both of Lokomotiv’s games Monday (Nov. 1) and Saturday (Nov. 5) to bring his assist total to six in 26 games. Although he isn’t overly offensive, the former third-round pick is tied amongst all Lokomotiv defensemen with a plus-10 rating and is fourth with 22 hits.
The Devils’ prospect pool is starting to become clearer and clearer as the weeks go on. Players who may not have been viewed as potential NHL talent are starting to find their form and some of their top-end talent is continuing to impress as management has hoped. Who are some other Devils’ prospects who might have the potential to turn pro or come to North America from Europe next season? Let me know in the comments.