10/27/2011 New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: Jon Merrill, Healthy Scratches At Albany and Now With 100% More Mauro Jorg

It's prospect update time!  After the jump I go over some of the Devils players/property from across the pond, talk some more about the Jon Merrill suspension and look at the healthy scratches/roster crunch in Albany.  Oh yeah, I also update all the relevant prospect statistics.

 

Player ILWT Rank YOB League Team POS GP G A PTS +/- PPG PP SHG SOG SH%
Blake Coleman N/A 1991 NCAA Miami-Ohio C 6 0 1 1 0 0.167 0 0 13 0.00%
Blake Pietila N/A 1993 NCAA Michigan Tech F 6 3 2 5 -1 0.833 2 0 27 11.11%
David Wohlberg 10 1990 NCAA Michigan   F 6 2 5 7 5 1.167 1 0 17 11.76%
Derek Rodwell N/A 1990 NCAA North Dakota LW 6 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 6 0.00%
Patrick Daly N/A 1992 NCAA Wisconsin D 3 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 2 0.00%
Joe Faust N/A 1991 NCAA Wisconsin D 6 2 0 2 4 0.333 0 0 4 50.00%
Jon Merrill N/A 1992 NCAA Michigan D N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Corbin McPherson 19 1988 NCAA Colgate D 5 0 1 1 4 0.2 0 0 4 0.00%
Seth Helgeson N/A 1990 NCAA Minnesota D 6 0 2 2 2 0.333 0 0 5 0.00%
Curtis Gedig 18 1991 NCAA Ohio State D 6 0 1 1 0 0.167 0 0 2 0.00%
Reece Scarlett N/A 1993 WHL Swift Current D 12 2 11 13 -7 1.083 0 0 N/A N/A
Reid Boucher 16 1993 OHL Sarnia LW 12 12 4 16 0 1.333 5 0 N/A N/A
Mauro Jorg N/A 1990 NLA HC Lugano RW 17 2 1 3 -6 0.176 0 0 26 7.69%
Maxim Noreau N/A 1987 NLA Ambri-Piotta D 18 5 14 19 8 1.056 0 0 34 14.71%
AHL/ECHL Skaters
Player ILWT Rank YOB League Team POS GP G A PTS +/- PPG PP SHG SOG SH%
Adam Henrique 3 1990 AHL Albany F 3 0 1 1 0 0.333 0 0 5 0.00%
Steve Zalweski 17 1986 AHL Albany F 8 3 1 4 -4 0.5 0 0 29 10.34%
Darcy Zajac N/A 1986 AHL Albany F 7 1 0 1 -1 0.143 0 0 9 11.11%
Mike Hoeffel 9 1989 AHL Albany F 1 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 0 0.00%
Mike Sislo N/A 1988 AHL Albany F 8 2 3 5 2 0.625 0 0 20 10.00%
JS Berube N/A 1990 AHL Albany F 3 0 1 1 2 0.333 0 0 1 0.00%
Kory Nagy N/A 1989 AHL Albany F 6 0 1 1 1 0.167 0 0 5 0.00%
Joseph Whitney N/A 1988 AHL Albany F 8 1 3 4 -5 0.5 0 0 19 5.26%
Eric Gelinas 6 1991 AHL Albany D 7 2 1 3 -6 0.429 0 0 14 14.29%
Brandon Burlon 5 1990 AHL Albany D 2 0 0 0 -1 0 0 0 1 0.00%
Dan Kelly 12 1989 AHL Albany D 3 1 0 1 2 0.333 0 0 6 16.67%
Alexander Urbom 4 1990 AHL Albany D 6 0 3 3 -1 0.5 0 0 3 0.00%
Harry Young N/A 1989 ECHL Kalamazoo D 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0.00%
Joe Sova 13 1988 ECHL Kalamazoo D 3 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 50.00%
Brian Haczyk N/A 1987 ECHL Kalamazoo F 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 0.00%
Player ILWT Rank YOB League Team POS GP Mins W L SOL SO GA GAA SVS SV%
Scott Wedgewood 7 1992 OHL Plymouth G 6 324 2 2 0 0 21 3.89 172 0.913
Maxime Clermont 20 1991 AHL Albany G 1 60 1 0 0 0 2 1.99 28 0.933
Keith Kinkaid 14 1989 AHL Albany G 3 183 1 2 0 0 8 2.62 68 0.895
Jeff Frazee 15 1987 AHL Albany G 4 239 1 3 0 0 18 4.5 87 0.829

Albany Has a Winning Streak!

After dropping Friday night's game, the Albany Devils bounced back to win back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. The wins were much needed as Albany was started to quickly fall behind the pace for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.  Still only 3-5-0 on the year, a sweep of this weekend's games would show that they are on the right track. 

System Goalie Shuffle:

With Keith Kinkaid dressing as Johan Hedberg's backup in the NHL, Maxime Clermont was called up from the ECHL Kalamazoo Wings to take Kinkaid's spot on the Albany roster.  Playing in Sunday's game vs. the Providence Bruins, Clermont made 28 saves in his first professional victory.  I would expect him to start one of the two back-to-back games this weekend before heading back to Kalamazoo.  The return to Kalamazoo assumes that Martin Brodeur is healthy enough to play. 

A Right Handed Shot To Remember:

Mike Sislo, the undrafted free agent signee from The Unviersity of New Hampshire has 5 points in 8 games for the Albany Devils.  The right wing is one of the few ‘plus' players on the team and has put up 20 shots on goal.   At 23 years old, Sislo won't stay in the AHL for long if the NHL club thinks he might add a spark to the team. 

AHL Injuries/Healthy Scratches:

Curious as to why some of the AHL players above haven't been playing? Vladimir Zharkov and Mike Hoeffel have been out recently due to injury so that makes sense. 

But what about prospects Brandon Burlon, Alexander Urbom and second year player Dan Kelly.  From a Albany Times-Union report up earlier today coach Rick Kowalsky stated: 

Kowalsky confirmed that defenseman Alexander Urbom, a 2009 third-round draft choice, was a healthy scratch both Saturday and Sunday. The Devils currently are carrying eight defensemen.

"It's a number thing," Kowalsky said. "He's been fine, but he's got to be better. Saturday, we wanted to get Dan Kelly in for his energy and his physical play, and then he does a great job Saturday, so we wanted to keep him in (Sunday).

"We wanted to work Brandon Burlon in, so we move Dan up front and he scores. He (Kelly) has done everything we've asked of him, no matter where we've put him. If we asked him to play goalie, he probably would right now. It's good to have. Burlon, we want to try and get these kids games."

What's telling to me here is that one person wasn't mentioned: Eric Gelinas.  Has the play of Gelinas (2 goals over the weekend) lifted him above Dan Kelly and Brandon Burlon in the organizational depth chart?  One would have to think so.  But what about Alexander Urbom?   I will certainly be interested to see how Kowalsky puts together his lineup for this weekend and who is scratched.  My personal choice would be to scratch Peter Harrold or Jay Leach instead of a younger player. 

Will he stay or will he go?

Since I last wrote, Jon Merrill has been speculated to be heading directly to the OHL and now via a recent report from Michael Spaeth of TheWolverine.com claims he will stay at Michigan. I believe the Spaeth report as he is dialed into happenings at Michigan.

If Merrill staying at Michigan is the final outcome of all of this and he fulfills whatever requirements imposed on him by the coaching staff and athletic department, I think he will be better for it.  Many in the blogosphere have commented on how this suspension will hinder Merrill's development, since at this point (his rumored return date is sometime in December) he will miss a good chunk of the season.  Those folks tend to miss the bigger issue here.  The main developmental area Merrill needs to focus on is above his shoulders.  I think this suspension, if fulfilled, will be good for him in the long run.  Going to the OHL would have been the easy choice.  Plus, let's face it, the only development he would gain by going to the OHL would be dominating the league and piling up points. It's still concerning that he is not allowed to at least practice with the team, but I can't imagine that continuing for much longer. 

I would expect though that this is his last season at Michigan.  Look for him to join Albany next year and push his way up the depth chart quickly, provided he can keep his head on straight.

No More Ex-Panthers.  Please

With the waiver claim of Ryan Carter and the AHL signing of Steve Bernier, the Devils are quickly becoming the team with the best 5th line depth in the league.  Bernier adds some scoring punch to Albany, but clogs up the Albany roster with players who are not considered ‘development' players.  Remember the development rule? Here is a link to it.  Basically there is a fixed number of veterans that can play at any given time.  Already with a veteran group of like Jay Leach, Peter Harrold, Stephen Gionta, Chad Wiseman, Stephen Veilleux, I don't see much of a fit or need for Bernier at Albany.  I know there are some injuries down there (Zharkov, Hoeffel) but I wouldn't think that would necessitate signing Bernier.

Badger Banter:

Sophomore defenseman Joe Faust (4th round pick-2010) has scored twice so far this season and his coach Mike Eaves believes that is because Faust is more comfortable and confident this year.

Sophomore defenseman Joe Faust has been overshadowed in the past by the bevy of backline talent that's strolled through Madison, but with a pair of goals now, he's begun to emerge - giving the Badgers another threat to join high-end guys like juniors Justin Schultz and John Ramage.

"Just experience, just settling down, not gripping the stick too tight," Eaves said of Faust. "Having played college games last year has helped him relax a little bit, and he can still relax more. When Joe is fully relaxed, you can tell, because he has a take-what's-given type of mindset in that he doesn't make up his mind before the puck. He's able to look up ice and take what's given, much like a quarterback will do when he has the ball in his hands. When Joe is getting, he's gripping that stick too tight, he gets focused on one thing and doesn't take what's given. So he's learning to relax more, and as a result, he's being more productive."

Also expect freshman defenseman Patrick Daly (7th round pick-2011) to be added to the lineup more often as defenseman Jake McCabe was injured and is expected to miss about 2 months of action. 

Updates From Across the Pond

In 18 games so far in the Swiss A League, defenseman Maxim Noreau has 5 goals and 14 assists.  His 19 points are good for 9th in the entire league.  The competition in the league is probably comparable to AHL level (perhaps a bit higher).  Noreau, who is still property of the Devils, was acquired in an off-season deal with the Minnesota Wild for center David McIntyre.  McIntyre currently has 4 goals in 7 games playing for the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate the Houston Aeros. 

Remember Petr Vrana?  Vrana was a second round pick of the Devils back in 2003 and played only 16 games in the NHL before moving over to the Czech league in 2009-2010.  He is currently playing with Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL and is one of the league leaders in scoring, with 7 goals and 10 assists in 16 games. He still remains property of the Devils if he ever chooses to resume a career in the NHL.

And since I got an email about it I added Mauro Jorg to the list above.  I had purposefully left him off, but the writer was emphatic that Jorg is a viable prospect and we should watch for him, so I felt it appropriate to add him.  Personally I have always thought the Jorg drafting was a diversion to make other NHL clubs think that the Devils actually draft prospects from countries other than Sweden. 

Any thoughts on the latest development with the Merrill situation?  Are you suprised Eric Gelinas is playing over Alexander Urbom?  Sound off below with any comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!

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