New Jersey Devils Prospects Have A Huge Weekend

Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes (43) (Syndication: Detroit Free Press)
Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes (43) (Syndication: Detroit Free Press) /

The New Jersey Devils have had a very rough season, but for one week the prospects get to shine for their future.

It’s been a tough week for the New Jersey Devils, though most of the season has been terrible. Many didn’t want to feel invested with this team after a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last Sunday and blowing a 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Devils and their fans had some fantastic moments from their prospects over the weekend. From their AHL team in Utica, the University of Michigan hockey team, even the Olympics saw the Devil’s prospects shine. There is a lot of excitement that these prospects have that can finally get the Devils out of their rebuild, so let’s see how all of them did.

Holtz and Greer Continue to Dominate for Utica

It’s shocking when the AHL team is more fun to watch than the NHL team. That’s what’s happening here. Utica has the 2nd best record in the league with 30 wins. Part of the reason why Utica is this good is because of how good the young talent is, and this roster has some impressive prospects.

Perhaps the two best players are Alexander Holtz and A.J. Greer. Holtz has been tearing it up since returning to the AHL after being in the NHL for a short time. Holtz went on an eight-game point streak up until the game against the Rochester Americans. However, Holtz scored a very silky goal on Saturday’s game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, deking out Phantom’s goalie Felix Sandström. If Holtz keeps this up, we may very well see him with the Devils, maybe for an entire season next year.

A.J. Greer leads the left-wingers on the team with 32 points. This week has been phenomenal for Greer, as his last two games have provided him with two very memorable moments for him. Against Rochester, he provided the only offense for the Comets. Greer, who had a four-goal performance, led the Comets to win over the Americans in a 4-2 win. But he certainly wasn’t done for the week. Against the Phantoms, with the game tied at 1 in a shootout, Greer put a backhand up in the corner to beat Kirill Ustimenko to win the game. If Greer can build himself after those two games and do it consistently, he will be a future elite left winger for the Devils.

Future Devil Gritsyuk Wins Silver at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Who would’ve thought that a Devils prospect would make a significant impact in the Winter Olympics? In just four Olympics games, Devils former 5th rounder Arseni Gritsyuk made a great showcase of how stacked the winger position is. He certainly didn’t lead the team in points, but he was the best right-winger out of all the Russian players. Scoring 3 points in 4 games, Gritsyuk looks like a gem if he continues playing the way he does. Against Denmark on Wednesday, Gritsyuk had two primary assists, one to Nikita Nesterov and another to Vyacheslav Voinov.

But Gritsyuk’s most significant moment of the tournament came against Sweden on Friday with a chance to go to the gold medal game on the line. With the score tied 2-2 in the shootout in the 8th round, it was up to Gritsyuk to finish the game. Gritsyuk didn’t disappoint as a post shot hit the top shelf to beat Sweden goalie Lars Johansson to send Russia to the gold medal game. Though Russia lost the gold medal game to Finland, Gritsyuk and the Russian team still earned silver in the tournament. Even after all of that, Gristyuk impacted the future of the Devils by winning a medal.

Luke Hughes Dominates “The Game” on the Ice for the Future of Michigan

While we have Jack Hughes keeping us entertained, his little brother Luke has had the best week out of all the prospects. For his freshman year at Michigan, Hughes has done nothing more than impress everyone on how good he can become. However, this week has been very special to Luke, as he managed to have moments that will be a part of history in his freshman year.

Michigan played rival Ohio State in “The Game” series. While they managed to beat Ohio State in football for the first time in 10 years, these two games are just as good as that. In the first game on Thursday, Luke scored two goals. The first goal came in the second period to put Michigan up 2-1 and the other as an empty netter to seal the game with a 5-3 win. But Michigan revealed after the game that Luke broke a 45-year-old Michigan record. Luke had just broken the freshman defenseman scoring record, scoring 14 goals.

That wouldn’t be the only impressive thing Hughes did against Ohio State. In the very next game, Michigan had just gone up 1-0 in the second period. Hughes had the puck as he was speeding down the ice. He made a deke at a defenseman and then managed to deke out Ohio State goaltender Jakub Dobes to score a brilliant end-to-end goal.

Michigan went on to win the game 3-0. This week for Luke Hughes has been nothing short of brilliant and inspiring. Imagine what he could do as a sophomore and as a first-year Devil once he leaves Michigan. Seeing him and his brother Jack Hughes together in the future with this type of play already has fans excited to see what’s next with this franchise. Here is to be hoping he can continue his excellence and the other future prospects.