Prospect Progress Report: Tuomas Pihlman
Name: Tuomas Pihlman
Weight: 206 lbs
Hometown: Espoo, Finland
Acquired: NJ’s 2nd Round Pick(48th) in 2001
Current Stats: JyP 19 GP 9 G 9 A 18 Pts 0 +/- 20 PIM
Prospect Update: Tuomas has already equaled his goal total of last year, and has already surpassed his point total of 11. He is clearly having the breakout season that many thought he should have had last season. And for New Jersey, they have to be very pleased with his development. For a team that is as small as New Jersey is right now, they must be thrilled to see Tuomas’ development skyrocket. He has all the skills to be a 2nd line power-forward, and this year he seems to be putting everything together. Power-forwards are not easy to find or develop, but it looks like the Devils have a keeper in Pihlman. It would of little surprise if the Devils try to convince their best power-forward prospect in a few seasons, to come to North America next season.
River Rat Rumblings: After a sub-par training camp, LW/C Christian Berglund was recalled by New Jersey last week after scoring 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points in 11 games. He scored for New Jersey in his first game action with the big club……… Goaltending has been strength for the much-improved Rats this season. G Scott Clemmensen only has a 3-4-2 record so far this year, but his GAA of 2.27 and his .918 Sv% rank among the best in the league. He recently recorded his first career shutout. And after a rough start to the season, the Devils #1 prospect G Ari Ahonen has begun to settle down. He has a 3-3-1 record to go along with a respectable 2.99 GAA and .900 Sv%……… C Adrian Foster has yet to play a game this season due to a nagging abdominal injury, but he has been skating is expected to be ready to play soon………C Chris Hartsburg has been impressive so far is his first season of pro hockey. He has played in all 16 Rat games, and he recently scored his first goal as a pro. Currently he has 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points……… LW Max Birbraer, trying to bounce back after a rough 2001/02 season, has gotten off the mark quickly this season with 5 goals and 1 assist for 6 points………D Mikko Jokela has started the season on a strong note. He is second is defenceman scoring on the team with 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points. He also is tied for 3rd on the team with a strong +2 rating……… C Mike Rupp has 3 goals and 3 assists so far this season. Big things are expected from him this year……… D’s Viktor Uchevatov, Krisjanis Redlihs and Alex Brooks have been rotating in and out of the line-up so far this season as they battle it out for a regular spot on the Rats blueline.
CHL and College Notes: LW Jason Rynzar has only appeared in 2 games so far this season for college powehouse Michigan……… RW/C Aaron Voros has gotten off to a bit of a slow start with the U of Alaska/Fairbanks Nanooks with 1 goal in 3 assists for 4 points in 8 games. He does lead the club with 16 PIM’s……… D Paul Martin has taken over as PP quarterback for the U of Minnesota Golden Gophers with the departure of Hobey Baker winner Jordan Leopold. So far, he has done a very good job. He has amassed 4 goals and 11 points for 15 points in 10 games. He is on pace for a career season……… Fellow Golden Gopher defenceman D Matt DeMarchi has also gotten off to a good start after an injury filled 2001/02 season. He has played in all 10 games and has 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points and leads the team in PIM’s with 31……… Another Golden Gopher, RW Barry Tallackson has had a difficult time getting into game action this season. He has only appeared in 4 games and has 1 assist……… Rugged D David Hale is off to a good start in his 3rd season with the U of North Dakota. So far he has two assists and 18 PIM in 8 games to go along with an impressive +7 rating………Oshawa Generals LW Brandon Nolan has come out of the gate quickly and is second and team scoring with 12 goals and 13 assists for 25 points in 19 games. And his +/-, which was in the –40’s last season, is a much more respectable +6……… Last years first round pick, D Anton Kadeykin is off to a very strong start in his North American debut with one of the top teams in the CHL, the Sarnia Sting. So far, he has 1 goal, along with 5 assists for 6 points, and is second in team +/- with a solid +11……… Another recent draftee, D Marek Chvatal also is making his North American debut with the Sting, and so far has 2 goals and 4 assists for 6 points.
Overseas Info: RW Alexander Suglobov was recently transferred from Yaroslavl to Neftekhimik in the Russian League. He will be given much more ice time there than he got with Yaroslavl, were he often found himself on the 4th line with little ice time. This move should help his development. He is pointless so far in 6 games (5 with Yaroslavl, 1 with Neftekhimik)……… RW Temmu Laine has not had a lot of ice time with Finnish powerhouse Jokerit, but has has played in 18 of 20 games so far. He has 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points, along with a +3 rating and 14 PIM’s.