NEWS: Jeff Frazee To Stay With Devils Organization

Frazee will likely end up competing with Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood for one of two goaltender jobs with the Albany Devils.

Prospect Buzz: Albany Goaltending Has Not Been A Problem

Pat Pickens

While the New Jersey Devils goaltending has been a source of recent stress, the Albany Devils have not struggled with such problems.

The three-headed monster of Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee and Scott Wedgewood have combined for an .899 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average in 59 games.

Toss out Wedgewood’s so-so three games, and Frazee and Kinkaid have combined for a 2.62 goals-against and .912 save percentage.

“(Kinkaid) has been good for us all year,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said Sunday after Albany’s 2-0 loss to Bridgeport. “Our goaltending hasn’t been an issue.”

The problem is, Kinkaid and Frazee — and more recently Wedgewood — have been doomed by Albany’s sudden lack of offense. As was discussed Sunday, Albany’s power play is converting just 11.4 percent of the time.

“We’d be sitting in a lot better position than we are now if it was better,” Kowalsky said.

With Tim Sestito called up — and perhaps another forward making the jump after Alex Ponikarovsky’s recent injury — offense may continue to be the A-Devils’ downfall.

Most of you know that Stefan Matteau was sent back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Sunday.

But what does that actually mean?

Matteau was eligible to return to Blainville-Brisbois because he is only 19-years old. When Blainville-Brisbois’ season ends — the Armada open a best-of-seven series with Acadie-Bathurst Thursday — Matteau will be eligible to complete the year with Albany or return to New Jersey.

Matteau, who only recorded three points in 17 games, already has played in enough NHL games to start his waiver clock. I imagine since Matteau obviously was not quite NHL ready yet, the Devils are trying to let him gain some confidence and keep him from reaching the 160 games which also would remove him from waiver exemption.

Prospect Buzz: College Kids Hit Tournament Time

 

College hockey tournaments are in full swing, which means there are prospects to keep our eyes on.

  • Devils’ prospect Derek Rodwell scored a goal and was a plus-1 in the Fighting Sioux’s 5-3, best-of-three contest against Michigan Tech.
  • Blake Pietila, a forward for Tech, was a minus-3 in that same contest.
  • Blake Coleman, for Miami University, had a tough night, finishing minus-1 in the Redhawks’ 3-0 loss to Michigan State in the CCHA quarterfinals.
  • Michigan defender Jon Merrill was a plus-1 in Michigan’s 4-3 win over Western Michigan Friday night in the CCHA Quarters.

Last week, we talked about Scott Wedgewood’s future prospects.

Evidently, he’s OK at winning games in Albany.

The 20-year old netminder won his first two AHL starts, beating Adirondack 3-2 on Sunday.

Wedgewood had stopped 23 shots the night before in his AHL debut, beating Springfield 4-1. He

To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Albany Devils will need to be road warriors.

Albany opened a six-game road trip last night in Rochester. The A-Devils will trek to the East’s top seed, Syracuse Saturday, before taking on Bridgeport Sunday in a St. Patrick’s Day matinee.

The A-Devils, who beat Rochester to jump ahead of Connecticut and Manchester into the East’s No. 7 spot, will face a similar challenge next weekend when they substitute Rochester for Binghamton, then meet Syracuse and Bridgeport on Saturday and Sunday.

Joe Whitney, a 25-year old, 5-6, 170-pound forward, leads Albany with 40 points in 48 games. Whitney tallied an assist in Friday night’s 3-2 win over the Americans.

Keith Kinkaid made 31 saves in Albany’s win Friday.

 

Prospect Buzz: Boucher Sets Sting Record; A Look At Goaltending

Pat Pickens

To hold the Sarnia Sting’s single-season scoring record is no small accomplishment.

But Reid Boucher has it all to himself.

We discussed his chances of scoring 60-plus goals in a season last week, but 59 goals in 63 games is still something else.

Mr. Boucher’s had a lot of press come his way, deservedly so, but to trump a record held by Steven Stamkos is no small feat. Plus, Sarnia still has five games left this year, so don’t discount Boucher from at least three or four more goals.

Boucher’s been getting a lot of press today, but today– as a response to Martin Brodeur’s balky back, and Johan Hedberg’s inability to stop pucks– we can visit New Jersey’s young goaltending situation.

It’s of paramount importance. As I said yesterday, Brodeur is done after next year, and Hedberg appears to be done now.

We’ve seen Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee is up with the big club, and Scott Wedgewood– who recently was promoted to Albany — could be the next big thing. The Devils signed him from Plymouth of the OHL last year.

Still, Wedgewood has struggled this year. He was only 17-21-5 in the ECHL in Trenton, with an .895 save percentage and 3.24 goals-against average. He is just 20 years-old, but those numbers are alarming.

Frazee, on the other hand, has displayed confidence, and it feels like he’s been in the system forever. He’s only 25 years old, but it’s getting late quickly for him. Plus, he’s only played in 21 games in Albany, ceding much of the play to Kinkaid.

Kinkaid is 23 and has earned the lion’s share of AHL play. Kinkaid’s 17-11-5-2 in 45 decisions thus far in Albany.

I’d venture to guess Kinkaid is the heir to Brodeur’s throne. But, based on the Hockey’s Future boards, none of them are projected to be superstars.

Read: Up And Coming Devils Prospects

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The Hockey Buzz has posted a good look at some Devils prospects. They go over the play of goaltender Scott Wedgewood and winger Reid Boucher. Wedgewood stopped 35 of 36 shots against the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Boucher has 21 goals this season in the OHL. In the article they compare him to Phil Kessel. So there is a lot of potential for the up and coming Devils. Give it a read.