The Devils once again have a few prospects playing in the World Junior Classic going on in ottawa right now. While the prospect list has been pretty empty the last few seasons it's good to see a number of players represent different countries from the teams recent draft picks.
The Devils were most excited about 2013 6th round pick Nick Paul making team Canada as one of the last cuts beating out some high profile prospects including top 5 pick Michael Dal Colle. Paul is a well rounded two way player who has started to show some offensive capabilities this season and with his big size on the ice it must have been something Canada was looking for. For such a late pick by the Devils (and also 101st in the NHL draft), the team is very happy with his development so far. Canada is probably the hardest team to make for any prospect, let alone one drafted so far out of the spotlight. Paul is also leading his OHL team in goals and points (19+15 in 27 games) despite missing some games while at the tournament.
Also at forward and making a strong WJC team is 2014 19th overall pick Alex Tuch. While the team had been hoping for Larkin or Milano at the time the team is still quite content with the big forward who plays for Boston College. With 12 points in 17 games at BC, Tuch is having a solid freshman season and like Paul boasts some big size. Tuch is definitely a forward who likes to shoot as he has shown in the WJC so far playing on a line with elite prospect Jack Eichel. Tuch has only managed 2 points through the first three games but the team has still seen a lot of success but the Devils hope Tuch's presence in front of the net can help see him get some more goals as the tournament goes on.
Also returning this year to the WJC is his BC teammate Ian McCoshen who was held pointless last year in 5 WJC games. This year hasn't been much different with no points through 3 games played. While he is also struggling to put up points at BC witth only 5 in 16 games he has a solid +11 rating which is second on the team. The team hopes the big defenseman can continue to develop into an all around top 4 defenseman prospect. From the games I've seen he hasn't been at his best so far in the tournament but hopefully there is more to come as the American team turns on the offense.
The team also had a couple of surprise (to me) picks for the Russian team as both Rinat Valiev and Alex Sharov both made the roster. Valiev was the Devils 150th pick in the 2013 draft while Sharov was a shot in the dark gamble at 231st overall in 2014. Valiev didn't get drafted in the NHL in 2013 but was redeemed in 2014 by being a 3rd round pick by the Leafs. Sharov likewise was passed over in 2014 and the Devils would be pleasantly surprised if he manages to get picked next year with a strong showing in the WJC. While Sharov also has a couple points like Tuch, Sharov has shown some good hands so far but has also been prett soft. The team wouldnt be surprised if thats the reason he was passed over in the draft and if he doesn't change that it could happen again. Either way, getting an 8th round pick onto a WJC team validates the pick somewhat.
The last two Devils players representing the team at the WJC are Slovakian forward Peter Cehlarik and Czech defenseman Dominik Masin. Cehlarik had a nice deflection goal the other night and today had a great chance that was robbed in close by Thatcher Demko but overall played a decent game on a weak Slovakian team. Masin, like McCoshen, is pointless so far in the tournament but is projected as more of a defensive defenseman right now. Originally the team hoped he would show more offense in his game coming over and playing in the OHL this year but right now it looks like that might not be the case. He's still only 18 for a few months and for the 69th pick the Devils will be happy with any kind of value he can provide down the road.