Earlier this afternoon, The New Jersey Devils announced their rosters for this year’s Rookie Camp and the 2022 Prospect Challenge. The Devils will play three games in this year’s Prospect Challenge, starting with Montreal on Friday night, Buffalo on Saturday night, and Boston on Monday morning. Yes, morning. Like 10 in the morning. The Devils’ website will be streaming all three games of the challenge. The New Jersey Devils roster consists of 28 players, including some invited forwards. Here’s a breakdown of the roster.
Goals (4): Nico Dawes, Akira Schmid, Tyler Brennan, Isaac Poulter
Dow and Schmid were top goalscorers with Utica last season, and Dow had an extended call-up for 25 games in 2021–22. I’m a little surprised he qualified for this tournament, but I wouldn’t complain about extra minutes for a young player. Brennan was a goalkeeper selected in the Devils’ 2022 draft. Isaac Poulter was Utica signed a two-way contract in June. He Played for the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League for four seasons. and was arguably his starter for the last two full WHL seasons. He posted his best season in terms of overall save percentage last season with 91.1% in 49 games A poor Swift Current team. We’ll see how he performs in pro hockey. Don’t be surprised if he ends up with Adirondack of the ECHL to keep him active in 2022-23. I hope these four will be rotated in the coming three matches.
Defense Personnel (9): Kevin Behl, Nikita Okhotyuk, Reilly Walsh, Simon Nemek, Michael Vukojevic, Topias Villain, Jeremy Grolew, Philip Bratt, Jarrod Gourley
The biggest name in this group is Simon Nemek, the second overall pick of 2022. This tournament will be his first time playing for the New Jersey Devils. I look forward to keeping a lot of eyes on him during Devil’s Precision, during and after this rookie camp. Bahl, Okhotiuk, Walsh, Vukojevic and Grolu were mainstays at Utica last season. Maybe spotting for a (two?) grab and setting up an order on the depth chart, there will be a lot of competition at camp to see which comet overtakes the other. The competition starts on Friday night. Like Namek, this tourney will also be Villain’s first game as the Devil since he signed his ELC last season.
Two less familiar names are Philippe Bratt and Jarrod Gourley. Brat is actually Jesper’s brother. He appeared at the Devil’s Development Camp back in the summer. Phillips signed a two-way AHL deal in July, he’s 20, he’s not that big (5’10”, 179 pounds), and Last season only AIK was productive with U-20s, Gourley is a bit big (23), very large (6’2″, 212 lbs), Came Through The NCAA In Which He Didn’t Make Much, and signed with the first organization. He transferred to Yukon for his senior season after three seasons with Arizona State University. When he signed an ATO with the Adirondacks after the Huskies’ season ended in March, someone in the organization was eyeing him. He played 10 games with them and was also loaned to Utica for four games. Gourley did well enough to earn a one-sided AHL contract with Utica in June. With a crowded Blueline—which doesn’t include stalwarts like Robbie Russo and Tyler Woderspoon—the competition just for the Comet will be fierce. This camp and the Utica camp will go a long way toward determining whether Brat and/or Gourley begin 2022–23 as a comet or a member of the Adirondack Thunder.
Next (15): Alexander Holtz, Nolan Foote, Arne Talvity, Graeme Clark, Brian Halonen, Chase Stillman, Josh Filman, Garrett Van Vehe, Noah Corson, Luke Bignell, Daniel D’Amico, Jack Jones, Billy Jerry, Xavier Parent, Brody Crane
Of the 15 forwards, 6 have NHL entry-level contracts as of this writing: Holtz, Foote, Clark, Halonen, Stillman and Talvity. Hopefully Holtz is pushing for an NHL job before this season. The rest are more about who can improvise, though the time may be shorter for some of them. After all, Halonen and Talvity are both 23 years old and Foote will turn 22 in November. Filming draft by New Jersey in 2022. was prepared in NHL Draft, The Devils have rights to them for two seasons, so they don’t need an entry-level contract yet. The rest of this group need a little more information. (The following list contains the names of the players associated with their Elite Prospects profiles.)
- Xavier Parent – The parents were in the Devils’ development camp and signed an AHL contract with Bratt in July. He finished last season for Sherbrooke of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 51 goals and 106 points in 106 season games, as well as 9 goals and 22 points in 11 playoff games. He was up for ‘Q’ in the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season at a point-per-game rate and had problems producing before. The parent is not that big at 5’8″ and 170 pounds and his past production shows that his brilliance was a result of being older than his junior peers and accustomed to the league. Still, he will get a chance to see if his game can handle a professional level with Utica or Adirondack.
- Garrett Van Wyhe – Van Wyhe was a solid, bottom-six hand for the Michigan Wolverines for four seasons. He was not a particularly productive player in the NHL or USHL before moving to Michigan. In Michigan, the sum of his marks was 10, 10, 5 and 12. He works hard, he helped balance a very strong Wolverine team during his college days, and Utica attracted attention as he signed a two-season AHL deal Michigan after losing to Denver in the Frozen Four semifinals.
- Noah Corson – Noah is actually Shayne Corson’s son (and Darcy Tucker’s nephew) and he’s already a travelman at age 24. The forward, who started with Moncton in the QMJHL, was traded to Drummondville, with Granby moving down to the Junior A QJHL. and then transferred to Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon, went to the AJHL to play for Grande Prairie, first signing for the first of two teams in Sweden in 2019-20, then with the SPHL’s Evansville in 2019. -20, joined Knoxville for 2020–21, and then signed with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, but played mostly for the ECHL’s Norfolk in 2021–22. He signed a two-way contract with Utica last month for this season, If nothing else, it travels well.
- Luke Bignell – Bignell is a center that plays for the University of Guelph in Canada. Yes, a Canadian college player. Unlike the NCAA, he can (and is) joining the Devils for this camp depending on the effort. Bignell played three seasons with Barry, was never drafted, and was certainly valuable to the Colts (he was their captain in 2019-20) but his junior season with the 2020–21 OHL season canceled It wasn’t enough to attract any attention after K ended. With 6 points in 14 games in 2021-22 (and OUA All-Rookie Team), I would expect BigNell to make up the numbers. But whatever good he can show, it can help him put some more eyes on him when his time with Guelph ends.
- Daniel D’Amico Another invitee to the Devils’ rookie camp is Daniel D’Amico of the Windsor Spitfires. He finished his fourth season with the Spits out of the last five seasons (remember: the OHL canceled 2020-21) and he has been quite productive since his second season. Last season, the 21-year-old was his most productive with 32 goals and 58 points in 67 season games and 11 goals and 21 points in 25 playoff games (Windsor lost in the OHL Finals in 2022). This is D’Amico’s second attempt with an NHL team. He was part of the St. Louis camp last season. As with other overage prospects, the goal is to come out of it with some sort of deal. We’ll see if he does.
- jack jones – Like D’Amico, Jack Jones is an older junior player in a tryout with the Devils. Unlike D’Amico, Jones’ time with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL was not as fruitful. He played in the Boston area before jumping to the ‘Q’ in 2019-20. With the Mooseheads, he averaged a little over half-points-per-game. I think he’s here to make the numbers unless his 5’9″, 172-pound center can show a lot more than his junior career suggests.
- billy jerry – Jerry came through the Wisconsin youth teams, played for Madison in the USHL, and joined the RPI in the 2017-18 season. The forward was not as productive and what would have been his senior year was ruled out as the Ivy Leagues – and ECAC – did not have spots for 2020-21. He transferred to Long Island University, was named their captain, and placed 14 goals and 31 points in 34 games to lead the Sharks in scoring in 2021-22. He joined the Adirondack on the ATO in March, played 15 games, and He is re-signed by the Thunder in August. He is here to make the numbers even though he is a member of the organization. How he performs as a rookie with the Thunder over an entire season may show whether he has a future in Utica. The work will be done now.
- brody crane – Crane is another junior player invited to Devils Camp. However, he is just 18 years old (he turned 18 in May) and is still draft eligible. Crane ended his rookie season with London with 8 goals and 15 points in 56 games. The Left apparently prefers to go inside the offensive zone according to the short scouting blurb in their EP profile. Crane was ranked 44th in his top 50 OHL players by Brock Otten for the 2022 NHL Draft., given that he was aggressive to a fault and probably someone who could blossom with the Knights next season. I don’t think the Devils can sign him (I’m at least unsure?), but at least they can get a closer look at what he might.
For the forward, the main interest will be on NHL-signed players. I would expect him to carry the load at the Prospect Challenge games and set an example in any other season before the full camp starts next week. For the purpose of preparing for a season with Utica, the Adirondack, or returning to Junior (or in Bignell’s case, the University of Guelph), these games carry a lot of value. We will see how they progress and how the coach will use these players.
One last note: Here are the 2022 All About the Jersey Top 25 Under 25 rankings for all rookie players ranked: #7 Namek, #8 Holtz, #13 Doves, #16 Walsh, #18 Behl, #19 Foote , #20 Okhotyuk, #23 Clark, #24 Stillman, #28 Vukojevic, #29 Talvity, #30 Villain, #33 Brennan, #34 Halonen, #38 Phillon, #48 Groleau.
Who in this group are you excited to see perform in the Prospects Challenge? What do you think should be a good rookie camp to grab attention at next week’s camp? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Devils Rookie Camp Roster in the comments. Thanks for reading.