12/5/2011 New Jersey Devils Prospect Update: A Q&A with Bucky's 5th Quarter Hockey Editor Chuck Shwartz on Joe Faust & Patrick Daly

The Devils have done a good job of stockpiling defensemen over the last few entry drafts. From 2009-2011 the Devils have drafted 9 defensemen out of the 18 total picks they have. Two of those picks, Joe Faust (2010-4thround) and Patrick Daly (2011-7thround) both play for the University of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, who plays in the tough WCHA conference, is coached by Mike Eaves (if you recall he was rumored to take the Devils coaching job this summer). Despite their slow start this season, they have always been a formidable program that has produced players like Brian Rafalski, Dany Heatley and Ryan Suter.

I have enlisted help from a SBNation Source to get a better sense on how Faust has progressed in his first 1.5 years of college and tosee how Daly has started his college career. . Chuck Schwartz is the Men's Ice Hockey Editor at Bucky's 5th Quarter. The Wisconsin site is one of the few that follow their college hockey program exclusively. I encourage you to take a look over at their pageto get updates on Badger Hockey. You should also give Chuck a follow on Twitter at #UWChuckShwartz. After the jump I ask Chuck some questions on Devils defensive prospects Joe Faust and Patrick Daly. I also update the Devils prospect's statistics along with some other news and notes.


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The Devils have done a good job of stockpiling defensemen over the last few entry drafts. From 2009-2011 the Devils have drafted 9 defensemen out of the 18 total picks they have. Two of those picks, Joe Faust (2010-4thround) and Patrick Daly (2011-7thround) both play for the University of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, who plays in the tough WCHA conference, is coached by Mike Eaves (if you recall he was rumored to take the Devils coaching job this summer). Despite their slow start this season, they have always been a formidable program that has produced players like Brian Rafalski, Dany Heatley and Ryan Suter.

I have enlisted help from a SBNation Source to get a better sense on how Faust has progressed in his first 1.5 years of college and tosee how Daly has started his college career. . Chuck Schwartz is the Men's Ice Hockey Editor at Bucky's 5th Quarter. The Wisconsin site is one of the few that follow their college hockey program exclusively. I encourage you to take a look over at their pageto get updates on Badger Hockey. You should also give Chuck a follow on Twitter at #UWChuckShwartz. Below I ask Chuck some questions on Devils defensive prospects Joe Faust and Patrick Daly.

Joe Faust:

Tom Stivali : What is Faust's current role on the Badgers? Is he a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd pairing defenseman? Does he log special teams time?

Chuck Schwartz: He's been playing on the third pairing most of the season (with fellow NJ draft pick Patrick Daly), but it's not necessarily indicative of his talent level. The WCHA is arguably the best college hockey league in the country and if you want to survive you need a deep defensive core. As for special teams, he's gotten looks here and there on the power play and penalty kill but he's playing behind upperclassmen Justin Schultz and John Ramage who are very good hockey players.

Tom: Last year the true freshman Faust didn't play that much (Faust played in 20 of 41 games). Coach Mike Eaves had noted in interviews that Faust was 'holding the stick too tight' last year and is 'more relaxed' this year. Is Faust more relaxed and poised this year?

Chuck: Yes, he's playing with much more poise. Last year he was in a constant battle for the last spot in the lineup, but this year he's a lock to be in every weekend and I think it's given him an opportunity to relax and just play hockey instead of worrying about making mistakes.

Tom: Coming out of high school one of the areas that Faust needed to work on was play in his defensive zone. How has he progressed in the defensive areas of his game?

Chuck: He's gotten much better and the coaches have shown more confidence in his game in his own end. He's still got work to do but he's improved on his gap control and playing a guy straight up. Last year he seemed a little more worried about getting beat and would give the opposition too much space but now he's playing with more confidence and that's only going to improve as he spends more time with the UW coaching staff.

Tom: Scouting reports note Faust's vision/passing skills and his decent point shot. It's hard to get a sense from statistics if he has shown these abilities. Have you seen these skills from him?

Chuck: I certainly have noticed his shot even though it hasn't shown up too much on the stat sheet. I was actually surprised when I looked at his stats today and realized he only has 3 points because he's certainly played better offensively than his numbers indicate. He's shown the ability and confidence in the offensive zone to step up and look for a pass and when he gets his shot off you notice it because it's quick but hard, something that's really important for a defenseman.

Patrick Daly:

Tom: Like Faust last year, Daly is a freshman coming to Wisconsin from a Minnesota High School and is being slowly integrated into the defensive rotation. He has played in 10 of 15 games so far which has probably been helped by the injury to fellow freshman Jack McCabe. Has Daly shown steady progression with his limited minutes so far this year?

Chuck: He's been up and down which is to be expected from an kid coming straight out of high school hockey. The nice thing that he's got going for him is that he's not relied upon for offense at this point so he can focus on shutting down the opposition. Honestly, there's been nights that I didn't even realize he played, which isn't a bad thing for a young defenseman.

He's gotten beat a couple times but the coaches are working with him on staying up on forwards and trusting his skating ability. He's going to be fun to watch as the season goes on to see how much better he's going to get with more confidence in the second half of the season.

Tom: One area Daly was lauded for coming out of high school was his skating abilities. Is his skating a 'plus'-skill? Have there been any other facets of his game that have impressed you?

Chuck: It's definitely a plus skill. I hate to use this comparison because it's not fair, but the way he moves on the ice reminds me a lot of Jake Gardiner when he came to Wisconsin out of high school just like Daly is. Now, Daly doesn't have the all around skill that Gardiner does, but his skating reminds me a lot of him.

Tom: What areas will Daly need to focus on for the rest of this season to see more playing time next year?

Chuck: Not that he needs to become Scott Stevens, but he could use a little bit more aggressiveness. He's a thin bodied kid right now which isn't the worst thing in the world but he needs to continue to get stronger so he can clear people from the front of the net and win battles in the corners. I'd also like to see him start to use his skating ability the second half of the season to get plays started up the ice. Right now he's taking the smart approach and just making simple passes, but once he gains more confidence I think he can really put pressure on other teams jumping up in the play.

I want to thank Chuck again for this time and his insight into Faust and Daly.

News and Notes:

According to TheWolverine.com's Michael Spaeth (and his sources), it looks like Jon Merrill won't be returning to the lineup until January. Will this effect his chances of making the US World Junior team? Chris Peters over at the UnitedStatesofHockey.com doesn't seem to think so.

The Albany Devils took 2 of 3 games over the weekend and are poised to make a decent run at the playoffs this year. If the season ended today, they would have the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. After a rough start, a deep defensive core has withstood injuries to Jay Leach, Matthew Corrente and now Dan Kelly. Defenseman Joe Sova was recently called up from the ECHL and promptly scored a goal in his second game back. Sova, sent to the ECHL mostly because of a numbers game earlier in the year, will hopefully stick around a while.

Matt Taormina leads Albany with 65 shots on goal. You wonder what it will take for him to get another look at the NHL level (besides an injury). Taormina showed last year in the NHL and the year before when in the AHL that he has a knack for getting shots on net, something that would be quite helpful on the Devils power play. To me, it would make more sense to dress Taormina as a 7th defenseman (instead of Cam Janssen or Tim Sestito who receive limited time anyway) and give him a few minutes of power play ice-time. I think Taormina being able to generate goals on the power play will provide more 'energy' than Janssen or Sestito can.

That's it for this week, please let me know what your thoughts are on Faust/Daly and any other prospect comments/questions after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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