The New Jersey Devils have seen a bounty of post-season success this season, most noticeably at the NHL level, where they will battle the Los Angeles Kings for the 2012 Stanley Cup. Unfortunately many of the organization's prospects can't make the same claim, with many finishing their post-seasons quite early, or in some cases not having one at all.
The Devils post-season success has been the result of every player buying into coach Peter DeBoer's system. Most of the heavy lifting has been done by the likes of veterans Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and Martin Brodeur. But there are some young players that have contributed to the cause, most notably center Adam Henrqiue. The Calder Trophy nominee has scored series clinching goals against Florida in the first round and against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final; both of which were scored in overtime. Considering Henrique's history of playoff success dating back to his junior days in Windsor, it's no suprise he's scored two of the biggest goals in the playoffs for the Devils.
Though he's only dressed for five post-season games, defenseman Adam Larsson has made the most of his playing time. He scored the game-tying goal in game two of the Devils second round series against Philadelphia that eventually propelled them to the Conference Final. The return of center Jacob Josefson in round three significantly improved the Devils depth down the middle and Mark Fayne has been averaging just over 20 minutes a game while being partnered with Andy Greene on the Devils second defense pairing.
Unfortunately for the Albany Devils, they missed out on the post-season dance this year. They were in contention until a lengthy losing streak in March pushed them towards the bottom of the standings and ultimately proved to be the straw that broke the camels back. Rookies David Wohlberg, Corbin McPherson, and Reid Boucher were at least able to get a handful of pro games under their belts, something that will come in handy for all of them in the future.
The Devils and Canucks shared ECHL affiliate in Kalamazoo made it all the way to the Kelly Cup Eastern Conference Finals where they lost in five games to the Florida Everblades. Harry Young was the only Devils prospect to see significant action for the K-Wings. In 14 games, he recorded two assists, a plus-one rating, and a team-leading 29 penalty minutes. Goaltender Maxime Clermont played second fiddle to veteran Riley Gill, only seeing action in one game when Gill got yanked from a start.
Scott Wedgewood had another stellar playoff showing for the Plymouth Whalers, but unfortunately he couldn't do it all as the Whalers were ousted in the second round of the OHL playoffs by the Kitchener Rangers. In 12 of his 13 playoff starts, he faced more than 29 shots per game, but still managed a pristine 2.38 goals against average and .928 save percentage. It was an even shorter playoff for Reid Boucher as the Sarnia Sting were taken out in the first round by the Saginaw Spirit in six games. He had a pair of goals and an assist in those six games. His even plus/minus rating was impressive considering the -19 rating he had in the regular season
Defenseman Seth Helgeson chipped in with a pair of goals during the Minnesota Golden Gophers run to the final four of the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. Though offense is not his specialty, he has become much more confident with the puck on his stick during his three years with Minnesota and has become a much better rounded defender. Miami of Ohio forward Blake Coleman had a big impact in his freshman season, including scoring a goal and three assists during the Redhawks NCAA playoff games.
David Wohlberg signed an amateur-tryout deal with the Albany Devils in late March after wrapping up his senior season with the University of Michigan Wolverines and then four days later signed an entry-level contract with New Jersey. In six games with Albany, he scored once. Corbin McPherson also joined the Albany Devils on an ATO after he finished his senior year with Colgate. In nine games there, he recorded one assist and for the most part, asserted himself quite well. Boucher, who will return to junior next season, did sign an ATO with Albany once the Sting were eliminated from the playoffs and dressed in Albany's last regular season game. Another Zajac was added to the Devils organization when former Union College center Kelly Zajac signed a one-year AHL contract with Albany for next season. He joins brother Travis and Darcy in the system. He dressed in three games for Albany at the end of the season.