The New Jersey Devils sit atop of the Metropolitan division with 12 points in nine games, after winning five of their last six games to rebound from dropping their first two games of the season to the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings. The future in New Jersey looks extremely bright when the potential of the deep prospect pool is paired with the emergence of core players like Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and John Marino.
If the young core is able to continue its progression, New Jersey has the potential to develop into a powerhouse organization when members of the prospect make the jump to the NHL. The Devils’ grade-A prospects are impressing early on just as much as some of the NHL talent.
Michigan Men Step Up Again
Luke Hughes and Seamus Casey were held to a combined one point in last weekend’s series but bounced back in dramatic fashion by each recording four points between Michigan’s two wins over seventeenth-ranked Western Michigan.
Hughes recorded an assist in Friday’s (Oct. 28) 5-4 win and then followed it up Saturday (Oct. 29) with two more assists and the overtime game-winning goal to secure the 6-5 win for Michigan. The Hobey Baker Trophy hopeful is up to eight points in eight games.
Casey also recorded one assist on Friday (Oct. 28) then followed it up with three assists in Saturday’s (Oct. 29) win. The freshman defenseman is now up to three goals and six assists in just eight games with the Wolverines.
Nemec Fires Home His First Career AHL Goal
The Devils’ 2022 second-overall pick, Simon Nemec, scored his first career American Hockey League (AHL) goal in the Utica Comets’ 5-1 win Friday (Oct. 28) over the Cleveland Monsters. Nemec collected a puck in the high slot and fired a twisted wrister passed the Monsters’ goalie to extend the Comets’ lead to 3-0.
SIMON NEMEC KEEP THE PUCK 🚨 pic.twitter.com/b7dDqRZwY3— Utica Comets (@UticaComets) October 29, 2022
He also recorded an assist earlier in the game on Sam Laberge’s goal that made it 2-0. Nemec has two points in six games with the Comets who are looking to rebound after a slow start to the season.
Filmon Leading the Way for the Broncos
Josh Filmon scored for the cycle this week when he scored a power-play goal Wednesday (Oct 26,) a short-handed goal Friday (Oct. 28,) and an even-strength goal Saturday (Oct. 29). Filmon also added one assist Friday and one assist on Saturday to top off his five-point week.
He now leads the Swift Current Broncos with seven goals and seven power-play points. Filmon is also second on the Broncos with 12 points in nine games and third with 28 shots on goal.
The former sixth-round pick is on pace for 90 points over a 68-game schedule which would shatter his previous career high of 45 points that he set in the 2021-22 season.
The Best Of the Rest
It feels like I can copy and paste Shakir Mukhamadullin‘s name into this post weekly at this point. He recorded another assist in Salavat Yulaev (Ufa’s) 4-1 win over Ak Bars on Wednesday (Oct. 26) but was held off the score sheet in Ufa’s 5-1 victory over Barys on Saturday (Oct. 29). He now has points in nine out of his last 12 games, including three goals and six assists in that span. The Russian defenseman is up to 10 points in 23 games played this season, which ties his career high that he set in 39 games during the 2020-21 season.
Latest News & Highlights
Samu Salminen finally made his University of Connecticut debut Thursday (Oct. 27) in the Huskies’ 5-1 win over fellow Devils’ prospect Charlie Leddy and the Boston College Eagles. Salminen centered the second line alongside top 2023 NHL Draft prospect Matthew Wood and graduate transfer Justin Pearson. The former third-round pick finished as a plus-1 and won six of his 10 faceoffs.
Chase Stillman was off to a slow start with the Peterborough Petes where he had just one goal in his first nine games as a 20-year-old playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), but he got the monkey off his back when he recorded a goal and an assist Thursday (Oct. 27) in the Petes’ 6-2 win over the Soo Greyhounds and one goal Friday (Oct. 28) in the Petes’ 5-3 win over the Ottawa 67s. He now has eight points in 11 games and hopes to continue his momentum when Peterborough takes on the Barrie Colts Thursday (Nov. 3.)
Although the Devils, and some of their prospects, have been off to quick starts in previous seasons before ending extremely slowly, this year just feels a little different around the organization. The NHL team is playing well, the Utica Comets are finding their way and many top prospects are overachieving early on. Is the Devils organization finally turning a corner? Is this early success sustainable or will they crash like in previous years? Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
Mason works in the sports gambling industry but his true passion lies in the game of hockey. He covers the New Jersey Devils for The Hockey Writers and spent time in the past covering Penn State men’s hockey for various online media outlets. Feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter to further connect.