New Jersey Devils notes: On Clarke, sitting Hughes, and Misyul
I shared some thoughts on what we did – and didn't – see at the Prospects Challenge, as well as season outlooks for 2023.
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A few notes as the New Jersey Devils conclude their annual participation in the Prospects Challenge:
Devils giving Clarke every opportunity
Graeme Clarke impressed me over the course of the tournament. His decision making with the puck was very good and his shot made him a threat from anywhere in the offensive zone. His ability to process the game at a high level was obvious.
The best thing I can say about Clarke is that he looked the part of someone who has not only played pro hockey – but enjoyed success while doing so.
I found it interesting that the Devils kept going to the well with Clarke and dressed him in all three prospect games, including a 10 a.m. contest in which next to no prospects of note – certainly none with any NHL aspirations this season – were playing.
Clarke is waivers exempt, meaning he’s going to have to put together a hell of a camp to push his way onto the team in the here and now.
Put simply, the gap has to be evident for the Devils to keep Clarke over Player X when they could send Clarke to Utica, and bring him back at any point, while Player X is at the risk of being claimed from any team for nothing.
It would seem the Devils are giving Clarke every opportunity to try and create that gap. They want a big body of work to fall back on so they can be sure of their decision to keep Clarke around – if that’s what eventually happens.
There is a long way to go, and preseason games obviously carry drastically more importance, but Clarke is doing himself a favor with each positive showing he puts forth.
Sitting Hughes was the right call
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