Devils 2009-10 junior prospects update

By Jared Ramsden

OHL

Adam Henrique, C – Windsor Spitfires
Acquired: 3rd round, 82nd overall, 2008

Henrique has picked up right where he left off last season and then some as he has taken his all-around game to new and extreme heights early on this year. On another loaded Windsor Spitfires club that includes two of the top prospects for the 2010-11 NHL draft in left winger Taylor Hall and defenseman Cam Fowler, Henrique’s early-season numbers thus far are mind boggling. Through only 25 games, Henrique sits third overall in OHL scoring with 42 points, and is tied for the league lead in goals with Hall with 23 markers. Impressively, 19 of his goals have come at even strength, which has helped him reach an eye-popping +25 rating. The OHL’s player of the week for September 28th through October 4th has only gone three games without a point and is currently riding a nine -game point streak. Contrast that with his 30 goals and 63 points in 56 games last year. Barring an injury, he is on pace to obliterate those career-best numbers.

Often lining up next to Hall and import Richard Panik (TB), Henrique, who turns 20 in February, is still showcasing his stellar on-ice smarts and sound two-way play. He plays in virtually all situations, and is wearing an “A” for a Windsor club that looks to have enough talent to repeat as Memorial Cup Champions this year. Henrique’s strong 2008-09 season, and electrifying start to this year has put him in a prime spot to make the Team Canada entry at this year’s World Junior Championship. He also recently agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract with the Devils and will embark on the beginning of his pro career in the AHL next season. Henrique is probably the most well-rounded forward prospect the Devils have in the system and has the ability to emerge into an elite two -way third liner once he fully reaches his potential.

Harry Young, D – Windsor Spitfires
Acquired: 7th round, 202nd overall, 2008

After captaining Windsor to the Memorial Cup last season, there was an outside shot that Young would sign a contract with the Devils and turn pro for the 2009-10 season. He was eligible to return for his overage junior season as a 20-year-old, and after training camp in New Jersey, the club decided that it would be in the best interest that he return to the Spitifires. Like many of his Spitfire teammates, Young boasts an impressive plus/minus so far this year, sitting at +20 through 25 games. He also has four goals and six assists to go along with 58 PIM’s, which ranks third on the club.

Often paired with offensively-gifted Ryan Ellis, Young knows his role and plays it to perfection. He thrives playing a physical, rough and tumble, defensive-minded game, and is not afraid to drop his gloves. He oozes intangibles and has emerged into a great leader over the course of his junior career. While it’s not a lock, Young will likely sign with the Devils after this year and begin his pro career next season.

QMJHL

Patrice Cormier, C – Rimouski Oceanic
Acquired: 2nd round, 54th overall, 2008

A dark horse in training camp to possibly make the Devils, the team felt it was in Cormier’s best interests to return to Rimouski for another season. One of the Oceanic’s assistant captains, Cormier is well versed in all aspects of the game and continues to contribute in a variety of ways for a middle of the pack Rimouski club. 

Through 21 games, Cormier is humming along at just under a point-per-game pace with 19 points. He leads the team in a handful of categories, including plus/minus (+4), PIMs (47) and faceoff winning percentage (57.6%), a stat that ranks among the best in the league.

While he doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet, Cormier keeps himself involved game in and game out by playing an aggressive, physical style of hockey. He should be a lock to make Canada’s World Junior team yet again, after thriving playing in a checking-line role on last year’s gold medal-winning entry. Cormier signed his first professional contract during the summer while at the Devils prospect camp and will likely turn pro at the end of the season. Much like Henrique, he fits the mold of a Devils prospect to a “T”, and while he probably won’t put up a ton of points at the next level, he contributes enough in other aspects of the game that he should evolve into an effective checking-line role player once he reaches the NHL.

Eric Gelinas, D – Lewiston Maineiacs
Acquired: 2nd round, 54th overall, 2009

Gelinas is making slow and steady progress in his third year of junior hockey after being selected by the Devils in the second round of the 2009 NHL draft. While Lewiston is still struggling to gain respectability in the QMJHL, Gelinas is one of the veteran leaders on a young Maineiacs squad. He had an impressive first training camp in New Jersey, where Gelinas soaked up information like a sponge, learning from NHL Hall of Famer Scott Stevens among others. Through 17 games, Gelinas has a modest goal and eight assists, to go along with a -5 rating and 19 PIMs.

An intriguing overall package of size and skills, Gelinas, only 18, is far from being done developing and growing into his sizeable frame. He’s a strong skater, with good offensive skills and a slowly improving defensive game. He is still very raw at this stage of his career, but there is no doubting the fact that he has a plethora of upside. The Devils will be content to let him develop at his own pace and not rush one of their most intriguing blueline prospects.
 
John-Sebastien Berube, LW – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Acquired: 7th round, 205th overall, 2008

Going into his fourth full season of junior with Rouyn-Noranda, Berube is really starting to come into his own as a player. The 19-year-old left winger is one of the Huskies assistant captains this season, and he is well on his way to topping his career-best numbers from 2008-09. He is fourth in scoring for the Telus West Division, leading the Huskies with nine goals and 11 assists in 26 games, only six points off his totals of last year. He is still striving for a little consistency though, as seven of his nine goals came in a six-game span in late October. While he has toned down his fighting somewhat, he still plays an aggressive style as evidenced by his team-leading 49 PIMs.
Berube is starting to round into a solid all-around prospect, and though he doesn’t have major upside, he’s showing that he’s more than just a fighter this season. Should he continue to show improvement throughout the rest of the year, he may very well earn himself a contract with the Devils. He appears to be a lower-tier power forward in the making.

Ashton Bernard, LW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Acquired: 6th round, 174th overall, 2009

Bernard has played close to home this year as the native Nova Scotian was dealt from Shawinigan to Cape Breton in the summer after being selected by the Devils in the 2009 NHL draft. The 19-year-old enforcer has done his job so far this season, paving the way for his more skilled teammates with a team-leading 55 PIMs in 24 games. He’s even chipped in with two goals and three assists to go along with an even plus/minus rating. He’s still strictly a one-dimensional player at this point in his development and has a long ways to go to establish himself as a legitimate NHL prospect.

WHL

Alexander Urbom, D – Brandon Wheat Kings
Acquired: 3rd round, 73rd overall, 2009

Urbom, the Devils third-round draft choice this past summer has been a great find for Brandon, the host team for this year’s Memorial Cup. His adjustment to the junior ranks has been seamless thus far as the Swedish import has been partnered up with Colby Robak to give the Wheat Kings a dynamite defense pair. Through 24 games, Urbom has posted solid all-around numbers with five goals (three of which have come on the power play) and 11 assists, to go along with a sound +12 rating and 36 PIMs.

There was a thought after a strong rookie camp and training camp that the Devils would have Urbom skip the CHL altogether, much like Nicklas Bergfors did, and jump straight to the AHL. Physically, standing at 6’4 and over 200 lbs, he would have been ready for that challenge as an 18-year-old. However, going to play a year of junior with a strong club that is guaranteed to be in the Memorial Cup was clearly the best route for Urbom to go. He is a good candidate to make the Swedish entry at the World Juniors this year as well. While Ubrom is more known for his physical and defensive play, he’s shown early on this year that he has some offensive skill up his sleeve too. Having already signed an entry-level contract with the Devils, it’s very likely that he will turn pro next season.

Matt Delahey, D – Regina Pats
Acquired: 4th round, 112th overall, 2008

Delahey is in his overage season with the Regina Pats as a 20-year-old, and is being looked upon to provide leadership and stability, along with solid all-around play in this, his last season of junior. The Devils had the option of signing Delahey and having him start his pro career this year, however, they decided to have him return to Regina.

Wearing an “A” as part of a rotation for the Pats, who are sitting in the middle of the pack in the WHL’s tight Eastern Conference, Delahey has posted four goals and six assists through 25 games. He also has a respectable -1 rating and 46 PIM’s.

There is a lot of defensive depth in the Devils prospect pipeline, and Delahey currently slots somewhere in the middle. He prefers to play a physical, stay-at-home style, and while he doesn’t necessarily excel in any aspect of the game, he is a solidly built, well -rounded defender. He will be motivated in his final season of junior to help lead his Pats into the postseason and earn himself a contract with the Devils.

Junior A

Derek Rodwell, LW – Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)
Acquired: 5th round, 144th overall, 2009

Rodwell is playing his last season of hockey in Okotoks in the AJHL, and through 21 games, he has recorded seven goals and eight assists to go along with 17 PIM’s. Rodwell plays an intense, physical style and projects as a mid-tier power forward once he’s fully developed. The 6’1, 190 lb left winger will join the University of North Dakota next season, somewhere the Devils have had a lot of success drafting and developing players in the past.

Curtis Gedig, D – Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL)
Acquired: 7th round, 205th overall, 2009

One of youngest players eligible for last summer’s entry draft, the 18-year-old Gedig is off to a good start for Cowichan Valley of the BCHL, despite the struggles of the team early on this season. A projectable mix of good size, skating and skill, Gedig has recorded six goals and three assists through 22 games to go along with 12 PIMs. He just recently competed for Team West at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge and also just committed to Ohio State for the 2010-11 season. He is a long-range project.