New Jersey Devils Prospects Junior Roundup Week 10

A weekly look at Devils prospects playing in Canadian junior leagues. This week will also feature some additional thoughts on Graham Black and Reece Scarlett from Broncos Play By Play man Shawn Mullin

QMJHL

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMS

Stefan Matteau

2

2

0

2

4

Individual Notes

Stefan Matteau- Junior`s having a very nice November after a very rough October. In 10 November games he`s scored more goals (8 to 6 in 14 GP in Sept/Oct), put up more points (12 to 11 in 14 GP in Sept/Oct) and recorded more shots (43 to 42 in 14 GP in Sept/Oct) and while taking less PIMs (31 to 21). Additionally, his +14 rating is second best amongst forwards on his team. While he isn't the best forward on the team right now, he's doing pretty well considering that he's one of the younger ones on the team.

OHL

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMS

Reid Boucher

3

3

0

3

2

Ben Johnson

3

0

0

0

0

Ben Thomson

2

0

0

0

5

Individual Notes

Reid Boucher- Boucher's amazing November continues, as he adds another three goals this week, bringing his November total up to 10 goals.

Ben Johnson- Johnson continues to put goose eggs across the board. However, I do feel that those Zeroes are a lot more indicative of the quality of his team right now rather than his own play.

Ben Thomson- Ben Thomson fought Connor Crisp, the skater who had to dress as a goalie and gave up 14 goals on Saturday. Other than that he's been ice cold when it comes to scoring.

WHL

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMS

Graham Black

1

0

0

0

0

Reece Scarlett

1

0

1

1

2

Damon Severson

3

0

1

1

2

Individual Notes


Graham Black- Black was held scoreless against the Oil Kings last Tuesday. There will be more on Black later on in this post.

Reece Scarlett- Scarlett recorded an assist on the only Broncos goal last Tuesday, giving him two points in November. There will be more on Scarlett later on in this post.

Damon Severson- Damon Severson broke his massive scoring drought with an assist on Saturday.

Junior A

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMS

Alexander Kerfoot

2

1

0

1

2

Individual Notes

Alexander Kerfoot- Kerfoot had a relatively quiet week. He has been showing a bit of rust since returning from the WJACs, but I think he`ll bounce back soon enough.

Season Totals

GP

Goals

Assists

Points

PIMS

Graham Black

24

12

7

19

12

Reid Boucher

26

16

10

26

24

Ben Johnson

26

3

5

8

14

Alexander Kerfoot

16

9

11

19

16

Stefan Matteau

24

14

9

23

52

Reece Scarlett

23

1

10

11

20

Damon Severson

24

2

7

9

30

Ben Thomson

24

3

6

9

36


Devils Junior Prospect of the Week- Reid Boucher

Boucher`s on another level right now when compared to the other Devils prospects. Another three goals gives him the DJPotW honours for this week

Shawn Mullin on Reece Scarlett and Graham Black

Shawn Mullin is the play by play broadcaster for the Swift Current Broncos. In addition to calling the action, he blogs about the Broncos over at Shawn Mullin`s Broncos Blog. I`ve asked Shawn a few questions about Reece Scarlett and Graham Black.

Question 1: I`ve heard lots of praise for Graham Black when he was drafted by the Devils, and I`ve continued to hear nothing but good things about him. What makes him such an effective player?

Shawn Mullin: Speed, speed and speed. He's just able to get to pucks other guys can't and creates openings with his speed. He's also a very tenacious player who, while not big, isn't afraid to engage in the trenches and is strong enough to win puck battles. He wins his share of draws, is strong positionally in his own zone and has very good hands. He's put on some of the niftiest dangles on the team. He's got a great shot and is using it more this year. I think he is capable of picking out and finding holes on goalies even more than he has.

Question 2: Black's been very consistent when it comes to scoring so far this season. Do you think he can continue to be an effective scorer in higher levels of play (i.e AHL/NHL)?

SM: It's hard to answer that. I'd say never count him out. They say if a guy scores at one level he usually can to some degree at another, but that doesn't always translate at the highest level. He's a smart enough hockey player and has enough basic skills that I think he can be a two-way player even if he doesn't score a ton... but it's hard to tell because he's one of these late bloomer types. I think once he's healthy and fully over the illness that has been holding him back and has a couple of years to develop he could be a nice surprise. If he was ever healthy for a whole year in a row or even a few weeks who knows what he could be capable of.

Question 3: Reece Scarlett has been struggling alot this year, namely offensively. Do you think he's been struggling due to injury or because teams are keying in on him?

SM: I wouldn't say Scarlett has been struggling a lot at all... he just hasn't elevated his game as much as he did in other years. He made big leaps from 16 to 17 and 17 to 18 so the assumption was that he would make another one right away. However, development doesn't go in a straight line. Scarlett is still very good and consistent in his own zone and is still moving the puck well. The reality is that teams are focusing more on Swift Current's point men on the PP after their success last year and not giving them the same room to shoot and operate so more of the plays have had to go down low for goals. Certainly the team could use more scoring from him and several other players. I don't think injury is the issue... maybe early on after he was hurt it impacted him some. He's still playing well just not quite getting the same level of production. I suspect in time his luck will improve and some more pucks will start going in because he's still doing a lot of things right.

Question 4: What do you think of Scarlett's defensive play? Do you think he's been improving in that area?

SM: Plus/Minus is bad stat and gave people the wrong idea about Scarlett's defensive game. That's his greatest gift in my view. He's very poised in his own zone, knows where to be, has a great stick, wins battles even when he's outmatched physically because he outsmarts his opponents and is an excellent PKer. Size could be an issue for him in the corners and in front of the net at the higher level, but you'd have to think he'll bulk up some eventually. His defensive game mainly came under fire because of that stat and I think that was a reflection of people looking at boxscores instead of watching games.

Question 5: The Broncos haven't been the best team in the WHL over the last few years. Do you think this has affected the play of Scarlett and Black?

SM: I think it put a lot more pressure on Scarlett to be the man earlier than he would have had to be on most other teams, but I think that was good for him. He's had to play big minutes in key situations basically from day 1 and was the top d-man on the team even as a 17-year-old. Is it more fun to win? Sure, but in a sense being on a worse team probably gave Black and Scarlett playing time and opportunity they may not have had elsewhere.

Question 6: After playing for team WHL in the Subway Series, do you think Graham Black has a chance of making it on Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Classic?

SM:I don't know. The problem for Black is he hadn't really been on the radar before and while he has been very good he hasn't had blow away offensive numbers this year. I think the invite to the Super Series game was a big reward in itself to show him that he had grabbed Hockey Canada's attention. It's very tough for someone who hasn't been in that system all throughout the process to suddenly jump in at the last second and grab a spot unless they're absolutely have a monster year. He also didn't get big minutes at the Super Series game so if they were considering for it I think they would have played him more. If the NHL lockout is resolved his chances go up significantly as they would for a number of bubble players. I do think he absolutely could play for them and do a great job in any role they gave him. That's especially true given that the tournament will be played on Olympic ice. At this point I'd say he had long odds. I'd love to see it!

Feel free to discuss how the Devils played over the last few weeks as well as some of Shawn's insight. With that being said, I'd like to thank Shawn for answering these questions (and answering them very thoroughly).

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