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Devils prospects earn regular-season honors

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Pavel Zacha was named top penalty killer in the OHL's Coaches Poll. (Photo: Getty Images)

The next generation of Devils is earning accolades in the Ontario Hockey League and Hockey East.

Devils prospects finished in the top three of seven different categories in the 2015-16 OHL's Coaches Poll, which recognizes players in 20 different skill categories within their own conference.

Sarnia forward Pavel Zacha, the sixth overall pick at last year's Draft, was voted Best Penalty Killer in the Western Conference and took second in Hardest Shot voting. Zacha is second on the Sting with 58 points (28g-30a) and 10 power-play goals in 49 games.

Barrie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (2nd round, 42nd overall in 2015) was named Best Puck-Handling Goalie (tie) in the Eastern Conference and finished second in the Best Shootout Goalie poll. Blackwood is tied for first in the OHL in save percentage (.922), tied for fourth in shutouts (3), and ranks fifth in wins (27) and goals-against average (2.68).

Sault Ste. Marie forward Blake Speers (3rd round, 67th overall in 2015) came in third (tie) in voting for Best Stickhandler in the Western Conference. Speers' teammate, defenseman Colton White, tied for third in the Best Defensive Defenseman poll. Speers leads the Greyhounds with 68 points, 45 assists and 26 power-play helpers in 66 games. He shares the team lead in game-winning goals (6).

Sarnia defenseman Josh Jacobs made the most of his first season in juniors, tying for second in Hardest Worker voting. He has 24 points (4g-20a) in 65 games with the Sting, including eight points (1g-7a) on the power play.

In NCAA honors, Boston College blueliner Steven Santini has been named Hockey East's Best Defensive Defenseman, becoming the seventh Eagle to earn the distinction. Santini, the 42nd overall pick in 2013, posted 17 points in 37 games with a plus-23 rating and 50 blocked shots.

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