Earlier in the month, Hockey’s Future posted their Prospect Awards for the New Jersey Devils. Part 1 covered Hardest Worker, Hardest Shot, Best Defensive Prospect, Fastest Skater, and Prospect of the Year.
Here are the rest of the awards:
Breakout Player for 2014-15
Miles Wood, LW, Nobles and Greenough (Massachusetts Prep)
Wood has gone from an unknown player from the 2013 NHL Draft to one of the more fascinating Devils prospects. He took a big leap in his development in 2013-14, emerging as one of the top scoring forwards in the prep school leagues. The junior finished with 54 points in 29 games and earned MVP honors. One of his notable characteristics is his improved creativity, along with his ability to create time and room for him and his teammates.
After de-committing from Brown in February, Wood chose to join Boston College. He is scheduled to join the Eagles in the 2014-15 season.
Most Improved Prospect
Blake Coleman, C, Miami Redhawks (NCHC)
Following a disappointing sophomore year, Miami’s coaching staff was confident Coleman would breakout in his junior campaign. Sure enough, the Texas native emerged as one of the Redhawks most explosive players. Using his combination of puck skill and strength, the forward proved hard to contain in the offensive zone and was able to create many chances by driving inside the traffic areas. Even after a shoulder injury in the middle of the year, he picked up where he left off and continued to be a presence up top. Coleman will return to Miami for his senior year.
Keith Kinkaid, G, Albany Devils (AHL)
With the acquisition of Cory Schneider last summer, along with the likely competition with fellow prospect Scott Wedgewood, Kinkaid entered 2013-14 with a chip on his shoulder. For the first half of the season, he was on fire between the pipes. He garnered plenty of recognition as he led Albany into playoff contention for most of the season. Kinkaid’s poise and aggressive style helped to elevate his game, but his strong play receded and the team slumped in the late weeks of winter. This has allowed Wedgewood to take the starting job in the final push for the playoffs. Even with his handful of starts in the final month and a half, Kinkaid has been dependable to help Albany earn wins.
Alexander Urbom, D, Albany Devils (AHL)
Entering the 2013-14 season, Urbom was expected to compete for playing time on the New Jersey blue line. He did in fact start the season in the NHL, albeit with a different logo. The Washington Capitals claimed the Swedish defenseman off waivers to add a bruising, depth presence on defense. Urbom was serviceable, but he was unable to prove to Head Coach Adam Oates that he deserved more minutes than then other Capitals defensemen. He watched many games from the press level before the team decided to send him down. New Jersey then reclaimed him in January and sent him back to Albany. Urbom’s stay-at-home presence was a welcomed edition to the Albany Devils, but his spot on the organizations depth chart is not as clear cut as before. With the emergence and graduation of many defensive prospects, it remains to be seen what the future holds for him.
High Risk/Reward Prospect
What makes Kujawinski the top candidate for this award is consistently inconsistent play. What that means is the uncertainty of what he will bring each night or each shift. There is no denying that the physical centerman has the skill and talent to become a top-six scorer. However, his streaky production and shaky play have clouded his future. Something good to take away from this season was that he broke his season high in goals with 23 and 41 points. That is not bad considering he amassed 48 points in 66 last season. Unfortunately, injuries hampered him throughout the year. Kujawinski will have one more year in the OHL to try and shake the injury-prone moniker.
Quotes courtesy of Hockey’s Future.