Devils junior prospects season review

By Jared Ramsden

Matthew Corrente, D, Mississauga Ice Dogs (OHL)
HT: 5’11 WT: 189 lbs
DOB: 03-17-1988
Draft: 2006 (1st round, 30th overall)

Corrente had what could best be described as a rollercoaster season. After the high of being drafted in the first round by the Devils in the 2006 NHL Draft and having an outstanding training camp, Corrente came back to Saginaw hoping to build off his strong performance in New Jersey that even saw him get into a few preseason games. He spun his wheels early and just as he was starting to get back on track, Corrente and four other members of the Spirit were suspended for a pair of games for breaking team rules. The incident eventually turned into a criminal investigation and at the end of February, the group of players were all sentenced to two years probation, 250 hours of community service and fined just over $1000. The incident probably played a part in a trade that saw Corrente get dealt to his home town of Mississauga to play with the Ice Dogs in early January.

Corrente’s debut with the Ice Dogs was then delayed by a sprained ankle suffered while still playing for Saginaw. When he finally was able to return to action, his numbers picked up a touch as he scored 11 points in 14 games with the Ice Dogs. His combined totals with the Spirit and Ice Dogs saw him score three goals and 26 assists in 43 games. He posted a +13 rating and 94 PIM’s. Corrente and the Ice Dogs qualified for the playoffs, but ended up getting eliminated in five games to the Sudbury Wolves in the opening round of the postseason, where Corrente contributed with an assist in the five games.

Though Corrente’s 2006-07 was more or less a forgettable one, the Devils hope it was just a blip on the radar screen and that he will turn things around next season. Corrente took a minor step back in terms of his development, but he is still young enough at 18 years of age to put this turbulent season behind him. While Corrente’s skill set makes him well suited to the way the game at the NHL level is now being played, there are a few things he must work on to help him turn into the type of player the Devils hope he can become. Corrente is an excellent skater with great puck-moving skills. His aggressiveness and willingness to play physical is also a great asset, however he must learn to pick his spots better and control his emotions as he often takes unnecessary penalties. His maturity obviously also comes into play with the off-ice troubles he had this season, but as he gets older hopefully those types of incidents won’t repeat themselves. Corrente’s upside is unlimited and the Devils top defense prospect will look to bounce back next season and put the troubles of 2006-07 behind him.

Kyle Henegan, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
HT: 6’4 WT: 204 lbs
DOB: 10-27-1987
Draft: 2006 (7th round, 208th overall)

Though it appears that the role of the true type of enforcer is going by the wayside, the Devils are one of the few teams that often dress a pugilist and with the conversion of Henegan from defenseman to forward, the Devils appear to have another enforcer in the making. Henegan, from all accounts, adapted relatively smoothly to the position change, and even contributed a few points on the way. Henegan started the season in Shawinigan before being dealt to Victoriaville in late December, where he even showed a few flashed of offense, putting up 10 points in 28 games. For the season, Henegan finished with five goals and 13 assists in 59 games and posted 136 PIM’s, down from the 200 he recorded the previous season. The drop in penalty minutes shouldn’t be anything to be alarmed with though, and actually shows that Henegan is developing in other aspects of his game.

Henegan’s Victoriaville Tigres were one of the stronger teams in the QMJHL, but were upset in the first round of the playoffs, where he appeared in all six games, recording 22 more minutes in penalties. Henegan has the size and ability to possibly be an enforcer in the NHL one day, but he’ll need to keep on improving in other aspects of this game while in junior before he gets that opportunity.

Kirill Tulupov, D, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
HT: 6’3 WT: 220 lbs
DOB: 04-23-1988
Draft: 2006 (3rd round, 67th overall)

A third-round draft pick of the Devils this past summer, Tulupov had a solid debut in the QMJHL for Chicoutimi and seemingly got better and better as the season progressed. It didn’t take him that long to get comfortable to the North American game, having played in Toronto with a private club team the past two seasons. Tulupov was not able to start the season on time due to visa problems and he was a little sluggish out of the gate offensively, but as he became more comfortable with his surroundings, his numbers started to increase substantially and it could be argued that by season’s end, he was one of the Sagueneens’ top defenseman. In 54 games, he finished with 8 goals and 20 assists, 88 PIM’s and a sound -3 rating on a Chicoutimi team that barely squeaked into the postseason. In the Sags short-lived postseason, Tulupov had a goal and an assist in a four-game sweep at the hands of Val d’Or.

Tulupov appears to be just scratching the surface of his vast potential after a successful first season in the CHL. A physical, mean and nasty tower of power, Tulupov has a vast array of tools and appears at this point to be one of the Devils more well-rounded defense prospects. His offensive skill set is still a work in progress, but he owns a potent slap shot and is slowly getting better in this area as evidenced by the offensive flourish he had in the second half with Chicoutimi. Physically, Tulupov is probably already ready for the AHL, but the Devils will not rush the massive blueliner and will likely let him play next season in the CHL again before promoting him. He appears poised for a huge breakout next season.

Sean Zimmerman, D, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
HT: 6’1 WT: 220 lbs
DOB: 05-24-1987
Draft: 2005 (6th round, 170th overall)

The Devils appear to have made the right choice in sending Zimmerman back for another season of junior, even though he could have played in the AHL this season. He had another solid, yet unspectacular junior season in Spokane with the Chiefs. In 60 regular season games, Zimmerman recorded 2 goals and 12 assists, to go along with 69 PIM’s. His +9 rating was good enough to place him second overall on the Chiefs. Zimmerman’s commitment to solid defensive play is evidenced by the fact that he has been a plus player in all four of his junior seasons. His steady play did not go unnoticed by the selectors of the American entry to this past winter’s World Junior Championships as Zimmerman represented his country at the tourney where Team USA took home a bronze medal.

After Zimmerman’s Chiefs were eliminated in the playoffs by the Everett Silvertips in the first round of the WHL playoffs, he reported to Lowell where he appeared in one game. Zimmerman’s sound fundamentals and defensive awareness are great traits to have as a prospect in the Devils organization. Though he has completed four seasons of junior hockey, Zimmerman just only recently turned 20 and therefore will return for a fifth and final season in the WHL before turning pro full time.

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