Before anyone starts screaming and banging over the keyboards it is important to see hockey analytics supported while an eye test, and sometimes basic stats to support this kind of research. Especially when talking about New Jersey Devils prospects.
Michael Vukojevic LHD
The Utica Comets defenseman has a full comparable of Adam Pelech of the New York Islanders. How is this possible? They’re both 3rd round picks in their respected NHL Draft classes, defensemen. Michael Vukojevic was an 82nd overall pick in 2019 and he’s already proving to be a very dynamic physical presence and a defenseman that is involved offensively shooting pucks on the net, and being an extremely reliable sasquatch of a burly defender.
I project Michael to be a Nikita Zadorov built defenseman given his frame and his physical style of game for a left-handed defender. The probability of Vukojevic making it as a New Jersey Devils defender is pretty good between 44-50% similar to Adam Pelech. Vukojevic is a nice blend of both players, but he does have his own style of play and will be fighting for a promotion next season to be part of the 2022-23 New Jersey Devils out of pre-season camp.
In a perfect world if Michael Vukojevic turns out to be that perfect blend of defenseman in the 3rd round on the New Jersey Devils he can help propel the New Jersey Devils into a fringe playoff team if the goalies behind him become very strong and reliable.
Shakir Mukhamadullin LHD
Shakir Mukhamadullin is on a loan contract in the KHL for Salavat Yulaev for another season, although things might get expedited sooner with the current geopolitics going on with the NHL and the KHL. A lot of people have criticized the Shakir Mukhamadullin pick but I certainly don’t. One of several reasons was that Alexander Holtz and Dawson Mercer were already selected so those are your first 2 of 3 you’re hoping to win a big prize on like at the boardwalks in New Jersey during the summertime.
Shakir Mukhamadullin has a 61-65% chance of making the NHL in his first and second seasons of being removed from draft day. He even exceeds the Boston Bruins Matt Grzelcyk. A player like Mukhamadullin brings that leadership, big 6’4″ 194lb frame that he can utilize that reach on defence. When Shakir goes on the offensive he can bomb the slap shot over 100 mph.
Mukhamadullin is very mobile defensively and is very flee to foot at his size. One thing to note is if his fellow defenseman is similar to him in a 2-way game then his defence pair needs to be more defensively minded to prevent too many odd-man rushes. A more defensive defenseman will only compliment his game and the Devils’ defence and goaltending will be happy they have a possible home run of a d-man playing 15-22 minutes a game at the NHL level.
Endurance won’t be much of a problem given that he has played on Russian ice rinks, and has played in a lot of World Junior tournaments. He is a true leader and fits into GM, Tom Fitzgerald’s building a stronger locker room presence. I would like to see Shakir become more phased into playing that brutal physical hitting, and very frustratingly good defensive style of hockey.
Jaromir Pytlik C
When the New Jersey Devils selected Jaromir Pytlik at 99th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft the Devils got a big-sized centerman who can play physically, control the puck, and be able to power through the opposition. At the time he was playing for the Soo Greyhounds then finished in the OHL in 2019-20 season on loan in the Czechia 2nd Liga, Mestis, and Liiga (top hockey league in Finland) before signing with Kladno in the Czech League with NHL legend and former Devils forward Jaromir Jagr.
That’s right Pytlik is playing alongside Jaromir Jagr who does own the team in Kladno, Czechia. As you see above where Pytlik is able to use his size, momentum, physicality, and stickhandling has been very fluid in guiding the puck en route to being put in for a goal. Tom Fitzgerald has been doing everything to improve the quality of forwards he brings in-house.
Pytlik will be a 3rd line type of forward if he makes it between 27-47% probability rate according to hockeyprospecting.com. The comparable for a current New Jersey Devils forward on the team whose odds is at 27% vs Yegor Sharangovich’s 32% NHL probability in his draft plus 2. If Jaromir Pytlik can come over to the New Jersey Devils’ summer and preseason training camps and proves to transition to Utica he can transition more smoothly on ice, no pun intended.
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