Devils junior prospects 2009-10 review

By Jared Ramsden

OHL

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

After a banner season last year, Henrique had a lot to live up to this year, and while he hit a bit of a lull after playing through a shoulder injury he suffered while on Canada’s World Junior team, he had another phenomenal season, a season that is still ongoing as Windsor is slated to face the Barrie Colts to decide who will represent the OHL at the Memorial Cup.

In only 54 games, Henrique, who is an alternate captain, posted a +38 rating and was able to score at well over a point per game with a career-high 77 points. That was good enough to place 20th-best in the entire league, and third-best on the high-flying Spitfires. His 38 goals were also third-best for Windsor. In the playoffs, Henrique has cranked it up another notch, just like he did last year when he played a key role in leading the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup Championship. In 16 games, he has 21 points and is scoring at a goal-per-game clip, and is currently riding a seven-game goal-scoring streak.

The 20-year-old fourth-year junior is making sure he finishes his junior career with a bang, as he and the Spitfires are on a mission to repeat as Memorial Cup Champions. The Devils knew Henrique had the defensive aptitude when they drafted him two years ago, and now that his offensive game has taken off, he’s become a smart, hard-working and well-rounded center who can contribute at both ends of the rink. Henrique is signed, sealed and delivered and ready to turn pro next season.

Harry Young, D – Windsor Spitfires

Acquired: 7th round, 202nd overall, 2008

The captain of the high-flying Spitfires and teammate of Henrique, Young returned to Windsor for his overage season and is in the midst of trying to lead the team to another Memorial Cup. Not known for his offense, Young put up a career-best nine goals and 20 points in 65 games. He also recorded a +23 rating and 153 PIM. In 16 playoff contests, he has an assist, a +1 rating and 24 PIM’s.

Preferring to play a stay-at-home game and doing the dirty work that often goes unnoticed, Young knows his role and plays it well. He plays rough, plays physical, and will not hesitate to drop the gloves. He’s emerged as a great leader over the past two seasons in Windsor as well. Young isn’t a standout prospect by any means but he’s the type of player teams need to be successful. The Devils have accumulated quite a stable of defense prospects, and while Young hasn’t signed yet and will have to scratch and claw to eventually make the jump to the NHL, he’s got the intangibles.
 
QMJHL

Eric Gelinas, D – Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Acquired: 2nd round, 54th overall, 2009

Gelinas was dealt to Chicoutimi, via trade from Lewiston, through Cape Breton at the QMJHL’s trade deadline. Though his numbers actually slipped somewhat, he still had a solid season and seemed to really take another step up in the postseason, despite the fact that the Sagueneens were eliminated in the first round in seven games to Rimouski. In six playoff contests, he recorded a goal and four assists along with a steady +1 rating. During the regular season, he scored six goals and 25 assists in 61 games. His -34 rating wasn’t pretty, but that can be attributed more to the fact that he played a ton on two teams that were not very strong.

The soon-to-be 19-year-old Gelinas is one of the more intriguing prospects in the system, because he has barely begun to scratch the surface of his immense potential. He is still learning how to play defense after converting from forward, but he has size and plenty of untapped skill. His showing in the playoffs for Chicoutimi could be just the tip of the iceberg as Gelinas could be in line for a huge breakout season next year. The former first-round bantam pick is still a long ways a way from fully maturing, but once he does, watch out.

John-Sebastien Berube, LW – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

Acquired: 7th round, 205th overall, 2008

Berube’s game rounded into form quite nicely in his fourth full year of junior with Rouyn-Noranda. He set career highs in goals (24), assists (21), plus/minus (+17) and shots (170) in 64 games. He still showed a rugged side, racking up 130 PIM’s, but he balanced his overall game without sacrificing his toughness. He didn’t have the best playoff showing for the Huskies who were ousted in the second round of the playoffs, scoring only one goal and an assist in 10 games.

Berube isn’t an electrifying prospect, but he showed some all-around ability this year that has him on the right development path. He has the ability to emerge into a lower-tier power forward. The 6’3, 200+ lb, 19-year-old winger got into an AHL playoff game with Lowell, giving him his first pro experience. The Devils still have to sign him, and if he does sign, he could turn pro, but could also return for another year of junior if need be.
 
Ashton Bernard, LW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Acquired: 6th round, 174th overall, 2009

Bernard played his role to perfection this year, suiting up in 48 games scoring three goals and five assists, and a +3 rating to go along with his usual high PIM total, this time racking up 105. At this point, Bernard is nothing more than a big, rugged enforcer, who needs to develop other parts of his game if he hopes to have an NHL future. The Devils have shown a fondness for trying to develop types like Bernard (see Pierre Luc-Letourneau Leblond), but he has a long ways to go before he gets a sniff at the next level. His upside is very limited.

WHL

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

Urbom had about as good a season as any prospect in the system, all the more impressive since it was his first season in North America. Urbom, 19, lucked out getting drafted in the import draft by the Memorial Cup hosting Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. Despite the fact the Wheat Kings were bounced from the WHL postseason in the third round at the hands of the Calgary Hitmen, they will be playing in the tournament in mid-May, which will be a great experience for him.

After a great training camp in New Jersey, the Devils considered sending Urbom straight to the AHL, but the year in Brandon appears to have benefited him immensely. Playing major minutes in the Wheat Kings top four, Urbom’s across the board numbers were fantastic. In 66 games, he scored 12 goals and 21 assists, put up 87 PIM’s and posted a very high +45 rating, which was fourth-best on the team. In 15 playoff games, he scored four goals and three assists to go along with a team-best +6 rating.

An physically imposing 6’4, 200+ pounder, Urbom was known as more of a stay-at-home defenseman when he was drafted last summer out of Sweden. However, Urbom’s offensive game developed at a rapid pace this year. He has great confidence with his puck on the stick and rushes the puck up the ice with ease. He shows great decision-making ability in the offensive end, picking the right spots when to jump into the play, where he often unleashes his booming slap shot. He is graceful on his skates, both forward and backward, showing off his great mobility and skating skills. Urbom should be ready for a promotion to the AHL next year.

Matt Delahey, D – Chilliwack Bruins

Acquired: 4th round, 112th overall, 2008

Delahey was returned to junior for his overage season this year, mainly because the AHL team in Lowell didn’t have much room for any new faces on the blueline. He spent the majority of the season back in Regina before being dealt at the WHL trade deadline to the Chilliwack Bruins. He continued to eat up major minutes and provide a steadying influence and leadership in Chilliwack just like he did in Regina, but his play seemed to improve too. He had nine points in 26 games, and a +1 rating as a Bruin, as opposed to the 13 points and -14 rating in 43 games with the Pats. The Bruins snuck into the playoffs, but were ousted by the top seeded Tri-City Americans in six games. Delahey had a pair of assists in the series.

The Devils defensive depth in the organization is much deeper than it was in the past, but with the possibility of Matt Corrente and Tyler Eckford graduating to the NHL, there should be room for Delahey in the AHL next year, should the Devils choose to sign him. He’s not at all flashy, but he provides toughness, with 100 PIM’s this year, physicality and steady play in his own end. He’s no sure thing, but down the road, he has enough potential to develop into a solid stay-at-home defenseman at the NHL level.

Junior A

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

Rodwell finished up his AJHL career on a strong note, finishing just under a point per game with 53 in 55 games. He finished third on the club in overall scoring and his 35 assists were second. He stepped up his game in the postseason, leading the club with six goals, and finishing second with nine points in 11 games. The Oilers were eliminated by the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in the third round of the AJHL playoffs.

Rodwell, who turns 20 in the summer, has the makings of developing into a mid-tier power forward. He plays an aggressive, physical, in-your-face style and showed good playmaking skills this year. Rodwell will begin his foray into the college ranks next season when he will suit up for North Dakota.

Curtis Gedig, D – Vernon Vipers (BCHL)

Acquired: 7th round, 205th overall, 2009

Gedig caught a major break when he was dealt in late November from a struggling Cowichan Valley Capitals squad to the powerhouse Vernon Vipers, who finished with a stunning 51-6-0-3 regular-season record. In 53 combined games, Gedig recorded 11 goals and 10 assists to go along with 20 PIM’s. The Vipers went on to roll through the postseason, winning the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup, and then won the Doyle Cup by defeating the AJHL champion Spruce Grove Saints. They now will head to Dauphin, Manitoba where they will look to repeat as the Royal Bank Cup Champions. In the postseason, Gedig recorded a goal and five assists in 19 games.

At only 18 years of age, Gedig is the youngest prospect in the organization, which means he has plenty of time to develop and grow into his 6’3, 190 lb frame. He skates very well, is a strong passer and looks to have some untapped offensive potential. Upside is the key word with Gedig as he has a lot of it. He will begin his career in the NCAA next year when he suits up for the Ohio State Buckeyes.