Nick Palmieri, RW – Belleville Bulls
Acquired: 3rd round, 79th overall, 2007
After requesting a trade earlier in the year, Palmieri finally got his wish and a much needed change of scenery with his recent trade from the bottom-feeding Erie Otters to the Belleville Bulls, who currently sit in first place in the OHL‘s Eastern Conference. Palmieri posted a respectable 12 points, including 7 goals with Erie in 18 games before being dealt to the Bulls. He has already responded very favorably to the trade so far, posting three points in three games. Having spent three seasons on a sub-par team took its toll on Palmieri, so the budding power forward should be less of a malcontent now that he is out of Erie and on a contending club.
Adam Henrique, C – Windsor Spitfires
Acquired: 3rd round, 82nd overall, 2008
Early on in the season, Henrique has thrived playing a more offensive-minded role on the OHL‘s top team, the Windsor Spitfires, and is on pace to shatter his career-best total of 44 points that he recorded in his first two full junior seasons. Henrique is on over a point-per-game pace with 24 points in 21 games, highlighted by a three-goal, two-assist performance in a late October victory over Plymouth. Henrique was overshadowed by the likes of fellow Devils prospect Brad Snetsinger, Islanders 2008 top pick Josh Bailey last season, but has taken off offensively this year, much to the delight of the Devils scouting staff. Henrique has the requisite defensive skills to succeed at the next level and so far this season, he has shown the scoring touch to eventually develop into the type of two-way forward that the Devils organization craves.
Harry Young, D – Windsor Spitfires
Acquired: 7th round, 202nd overall, 2008
It was a rough start to the season for Young who suffered a fractured foot in Windsor’s fourth game of the season, forcing him to miss just over six weeks of game action. He recently returned, and promptly scored a short-handed goal in a Windsor victory over Sault Ste. Marie. Young isn’t an offensive player, but expect the rugged rearguard to contribute to Windsor’s success with his toughness, leadership, and other intangibles.
Tony Romano, C – Peterborough Petes
Acquired: 6th round, 178th overall, 2006
Though it’s still early in the year, no other Devils prospect has made a bigger improvement thus far than Romano. After a forgettable 2007-08 season with London, Romano was given a fresh start in Peterborough and has rocketed out of the gates. With 13 goals and 13 assists through 25 games, Romano sits second on the Petes in scoring with 26 points, already surpassing his goal, assist and point totals from last season. Given more responsibility and ice time with the Petes, including killing penalties, Romano is showing the promise the Devils saw in him when they drafted him back in 2006. After taking a tumble down the prospect ladder, Romano has put himself back on the prospect map with his strong start to the season.
Kory Nagy, C/LW – Oshawa Generals
Acquired: 5th round, 142nd overall, 2008
Nagy had his coming out party in last season’s OHL playoffs, and has continued that progress earlier on this season with the Generals. Getting a chance to play with phenom John Tavares has been a huge boon to Nagy’s success and has played a significant role in his increased offensive output. Through 22 games, Nagy has 23 points, which is already past the 17 points he recorded in 57 regular season games last season. His +8 rating is currently second best on the team as well. The offensive dimension he has shown this year, combined with his tenacity, work ethic and strong defensive play will no doubt help him in the long run as he hopes to establish himself as a top prospect in the Devils system.
Patrice Cormier, C – Rimouski Oceanic
Acquired: 2nd round, 54th overall, 2008
Injuries ruined Cormier’s draft year last season, causing him to fall to the round two of the draft. While he’s missed a few games early on this season, including a couple due to suspension, he’s been relatively healthy. He’s a two-way force for Rimouski, contributing in a variety of ways. He has 18 points through 20 games, good enough for fifth best on the team, and his 10 goals put him in a four-way tie for the team lead in that category. He’s been a physical presence, a master in the face-off circle, and has shown a willingness to drop the gloves as evidenced by his team-leading 49 PIM’s. Now that Cormier has been able to play at close to full health, he is showing NHL teams that they made a mistake by passing over him at the draft last summer.
John-Sebastien Berube, LW – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Acquired: 7th round, 205th overall, 2008
Thus far this season, Berube has played his role to a “T” with West Division leading Rouyn-Noranda, chipping in with a few points here and there, while also contributing by playing a physical, agitating brand of hockey. He has nine points, including six goals through 24 games, and a team-best 53 PIM’s. He’s on pace to best his career-best 12 goals that he scored last season.
Matt Delahey, D – Regina Pats
Acquired: 4th round, 112th overall, 2008
On the third highest scoring team on the WHL, Delahey has shown some gains offensively, as he already has 16 points through 28 games, which is only three points off his overall numbers from last season. His early season highlight was a four-assist game in mid-September against Edmonton. Playing a regular spot in the Pats top four group of defensemen, Delahey has continued to play well in his own end as evidenced by his +10 rating. He has only been a minus in seven of 28 games. Now that he is getting bigger and stronger, he has also increased his physical involvement. Delahey appears to be quickly maturing into a sound two-way defender, and as he continues to grow into his frame, expect him to move up the Devils prospect ladder.
Ryan Molle, D – Swift Current Broncos
Acquired: 7th round, 207th overall, 2007
Molle has played his usual steady, solid defensive game for the Broncos thus far. A regular on the penalty kill and often on the ice in key defensive situations, Molle has five assists and a -2 rating through 22 games. He has missed the Broncos past few games with an undisclosed injury, but it doesn’t appear to be anything major.