The New Jersey Devils have six prospects within the NCAA. Who are they and how are they doing? Even though there are only six guys in NCAA hockey, they’re talented. So, lets look into them.
Tyce Thompson- Providence College
Tyce Thompson is a beast. He is a scoring machine for Providence College. He was selected in the 4th round, 96th overall back in 2019. 2019 would be his second year of eligibility for an NHL Entry Draft. In 12 games played, Thompson has nine goals, 10 assists, for 19 points. Despite only playing a few amount of games so far in the NCAA season, he’s already surpassed his goal total from last year. Last season for Providence, he put up 25 points in 42 games. He is on track to smash that record.
Tyce is the brother of Buffalo Sabres player, Tage Thompson. The 6’0 right-shot center finds ways around the defenseman and finds the open ice to use his lethal release. He has a nose for the net with rebounds and passes in front to put in the wide open net. One NHLer that I compare Thompson to is Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues. Both guys push hard to the net and find open spaces on the ice to receive the puck. They both also have a good release with solid accuracy.
If Thompson wants to make the NHL, he has to put on more weight. He’s only 165 lbs and to be a powerful center so he can adapt his game to the NHL, he should be at least 195 lbs.
Reilly Walsh- Harvard
Reilly Walsh is a great defense man for Harvard. The Devils selected Walsh with the 81st overall selection back in 2017. He is a 5’11 blue liner that can put up points. He was ranked #66 by TSN/Bob McKenzie, so the Devils thought they got a steal out of him. Reilly is playing his third year at Harvard. His best season offensively came last year when he put up 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 33 games. The right-shot defense man has played five games for far this year, and is over a point per game pace. He’s got two goals and four assists.
Walsh’s best attributes is his lethal shot and keeps the puck away from the opponent. He has the tools to become a great power play quarter back. For the sake of his development, the Devils should work on signing him to his ELC. If he wants to become a solid NHL defense man, he should look at skipping his last season at Harvard, and play for the Devils’ AHL team, the Binghamton Devils. This way, Reilly will learn how to play against men, and the difference from the speedy college games, to the hard hitting, gritty minor teams.
A defense man in the NHL I would compare Walsh to is Maple Leaf blue liner, Tyson Barrie. Barrie played really good as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. He typically was the power play quarter back, kept the puck away from other players, and was a good skater.
Aarne Talvitie- Penn State
Aarne Talvitie seems to be a fan favorite all around. He’s a leader in the locker room and an excellent two way player. He’s currently committed to Penn State University. Talvitie has played in a few tournaments, he’s played in WJC-U20 where he was the captain for team Finland and put up four goals and three assists for seven points in seven games. He played for the International-Jr Finnish team in which he put up 10 goals and three assists for 13 points in 15 games.
Talvitie has had some injury problems. In the World Junior Championship Gold Medal game, he sustained a knee injury v.s. team United States. This would take him out for the rest of the game, and the NCAA season. That injury would limit him to 17 games, where he’d put up five goals and 11 assists, giving him 16 points. Despite the injury, he’s come back to college hockey with force, posting so far, four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 11 games.
He displays great leadership qualities, solid point totals, and a great defensive game. Despite all of this, he was a 6th round pick (160 overall) back in 2017. A player I would compare him to is Los Angeles Kings forward, Anze Kopitar. Kopitar plays solid defense, is a leader, and has solid point totals. I’m sure every Devils fan would be happy if Talvitie could be even half of Kopitar.
Matthew Hellickson- Notre Dame
Next, we have another 2017 draft pick in Matthew Hellickson. Hellickson is a defense man for the University of Notre Dame. He was taken by the Devils in the 7th round, 214th overall. He’s played the previous two year in Notre Dame, in which he has skated 40 games each. His first NCAA season, he put up 12 points, the next having 16. This season, he’s played 10 games and scored two goals and put up three assists for five points. He’s on track for a career high in NCAA points, going for 20.
In the USHL entry draft, he was selected 1st overall back in 2016 by the Sioux City Musketeers. To me, I don’t see Hellickson being much of an NHL presence in the future. His potential is most likely going to max out as an AHL top-4 defense man. I hope he definitely goes further, as that would be a great surprise. John Ramage of the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate) is my comparable. It may seem that I don’t have hope in Hellickson, but I’m rooting for him. I hope he is a great player at the pro hockey level.
Case McCarthy- Boston Uni.
Next up we have Boston University Terriers defense man, Case McCarthy. Selected by the Devils in the 2019 draft with 118th overall pick, in the 4th round. The 6’1, 198 lb blue liner is playing in his first NCAA season. So far, he’s played 11 games, but has only registered two assists. Through the people I’ve talked to, and the interviews I’ve watched, it seems McCarthy has a lot of tools to become an NHL defense man.
From what I’ve been told, McCarthy has an outstanding breakout pass. He can use his 6’1 frame to make big body checks, while not getting pulled out of the play. Additionally, he said himself that he has a good blue line shot. With all of this, an NHL compatible to him is Shea Weber. I don’t think his potential is an elite defense man such as Weber, but his playing style is like his. Weber can lay his body out on opponents, he has a great point shot, and he can have an outlet pass. On top of that, both of them are right handed.
Patrick Moynihan- Providence
Finally, we have Patrick Moynihan of Providence. The Devils took him in the 6th round, 158th overall in 2019. The 5’11, right shot center has played 12 games for Providence, and has scored four goals and three assists for seven points. Scouts say Moynihan has a great shot that fools goalies, and he’s a diligent and versatile forward. In addition to that, the Devils scouting team says he is a great leader, and that’s what they look for. Formerly, Moynihan played in the USHL for the USNDTP.
Even if there isn’t that many prospects in the NCAA, there is talent. Clearly, we have a future coming in college hockey.
Discuss this article and more in the Overtime Heroics Forums!