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Devils Prospects at the WJC

 

Unfortunately for the Devils, the WJC is underway and the showing for New Jersey is pretty underwhelming. The team doesn't have very many prospects that are even eligible, and of the players that were invited to go - 2 ended up on teams in the tournament. The only representatives for the Devils this year are Denis Guryanov for the Russian team and Charlie McAvoy for the American team.

Guryanov has had a rough go since being drafted by the Devils as a big winger with a lethal shot. Before the 2015 draft he had 15 goals in 23 games in the MHL over in Russia as well as 6 goals in 5 games in the WJC-18. Since then however, he didn't make the WJC last year after a boneheaded penalty and was cut from the team because of a potential suspension. He only scored 4 goals all season in the KHL (and 4 in 7 games for the MHL) before coming to the AHL this season. With only 4 goals in 25 games to go along with 13 points, he hasn't produced very much for a highly touted offense first prospect. Despite starting on a scoring line for Russia this year he's made his way down the depth chart earning under 12 minutes of icetime in the 3rd game of the tournament for Russia. Despite having the size, shot and skating of an elite prospect the Devils are starting to temper their expectations for Guryanov.

On the American side of the tournament, the team has alternate captain Charlie McAvoy, who was picked 24th in the 2016 NEFHL draft by New Jersey. In USA's last game, McAvoy led the defensemen in icetime with 20:22 (behind forward Luke Kunin for the team lead overall) and so far has a goal and assist in 3 games played. The team is hoping for even more offense the longer the tournament goes for the American team. With 13 points in 17 games for BU, McAvoy is having a solid year as a just turned 19 year old and the Devils hope he can keep progressing to become one of the new building blocks on the backend for New Jersey.

Players who didn't make their respective teams for the tournament include Samuel Girard and Jakob Chychrun. Girard was cut from a deep Canadian team and as a small offensive defensemen he likely would have not been a keep factor in non powerplay opportunities. With players like Jake Bean already on the team, Girard's contributions likely would have been very limited. That said, with 36 points in 25 games in the QMJHL, the Devils are excited about what he can bring to the club in a few years. Having a flashy defenseman who can bring offense would be a welcome addition. Chychrun also technically didn't make the cut for the WJC, but that was because he has managed to stick with Arizona in the NHL so far this season. He started strong and has struggled some lately but he still has 7 points in 28 games and is only -2 on one of the worst teams in the league. After drafting defensemen with their top 3 picks this past draft the team is very happy with the progression of all 3 despite only one playing in the WJC.