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Devils rich in NCAA prospect pool

Development coaches Pat Rissmiller, Eric Weinrich and Scott Clemmensen travel throughout the season to check in on Devils prospects. Here's what they had to say about those who played in college last year.

by Julie Robenhymer @JulieRobenhymer / newjerseydevils.com

Development coaches Pat Rissmiller, Eric Weinrich and Scott Clemmensen travel throughout the season to check in on Devils prospects. Here's what they had to say about those who played in college last year. 

Jeremy Davies - Northeastern - 21 - Defenseman:
"Jeremy's got a real confident attitude, almost to the point of being cocky, but that isn't a bad thing with the way he plays. He always wants the puck and is a guy that can deliver it to the right areas and has really good skill too. His team wants him to have the puck and he likes to be that guy, so it works well. In terms of what he needs to improve on, his over all defensive game and awareness on the ice needs some attention. When kids are learning to be defenseman they're not really taught the defensive aspects of the game. It's all about scoring, so every player has to learn to actually defend at some point and for him it's just a matter of if he wants to compete in those areas and be that more complete player. But again, his offensive contributions are outstanding and because of that he spends more time in the offensive zone any way. We'll be on top of him again this year and hopefully he continues his progression." - Weinrich

(Returning for his junior season)

Reilly Walsh - Harvard - 19 - Defense:
"His freshman year, he was able to get tons of ice time which is a little unusual, especially in a top program like that, but with his skill set, they needed someone like him to play on the power play. He's another guy with really good offensive instincts and can carry the puck, shoots the puck well, skates well and just needs to spend some time focusing on the other side of the game too. We know the offensive game comes easily to him, but if he wants to be a full-time pro, his play away from the puck needs to improve. 

He was given on opportunity to have more responsibilities and he did well with it and earned himself even more ice time, so he deserved it. They showed a lot of confidence in him in a lot of different situations and it was real good for him and he's just going to get better as he gets older and matures physically. When he does, he's going to be able to dominate." - Weinrich

(Returning for his sophomore season)

Matt Hellickson - Notre Dame - 20 - Defense:
"He was the biggest surprise for me because I never saw any video of him. He was drafted in a late round in his second time through the draft. One of our scouts, Jim Mill, told me a lot about him and he was really excited. Then, when I saw him play, I was really impressed. He has a pretty complete game right now and he's on one of the top teams in college hockey and he contributes every night, plays a lot of minutes and is really reliable. So every time I see him I'm looking for flaws in his game and there really aren't many. He's a strong skater, pivots well, keeps it simple and his coaches really speak highly of him. He's got a great work ethic. So I think he might be one of the steals in the draft for us and I think a lot of other people are starting to see that too. 

His first pass might be his biggest strength and out of all our guys he might be the best one at it and, playing in the NHL, making a good first pass is half the battle. Then he has the ability to cover a lot of ground and keeps pucks alive and gets to loose pucks quick. I just really like the way he plays and I've told a lot of our scouts that this kid might be our best prospect at this point out of all the college guys. 

I met with him this summer while he's training at school and their facilities at Notre Dame are phenomenal. So the longer he stays there, the better because he's going to get great training and play for some good coaches and in some pretty big games." - Weinrich

(Returning for his sophomore season)

Joey Anderson - Minnesota Duluth - 20 - Forward:
"Joey is like a utility man in baseball. He can play any position, anywhere, any situation. He doesn't have one real strength, but he just does everything really well. He's a good skater and knows how to play his position really well. He's always in the right spot and coaches love him because he just does his job. He's a real valuable guy to have on year team because you know you can rely on him every night. He's really dedicated and focused on becoming a great pro. Whatever you ask him to do or to work on he goes out and does it. We like having self-starters on our team and he's a really self-motivated player. Coaches will never have to worry about Joey. 

Any time you can play in a big game and play well, it gives you some confidence and makes the players around you better and shows the coaches that you can rise to the challenge. He's played in some pretty big games the past two or three years and he's shown all of that. Wherever he's played, he just gets praise from the coaches. We think we're pretty lucky to have gotten him in the third round and I think other teams might be kicking themselves for missing out on him." - Weinrich

(Signed in April after his sophomore season)

Brett Seney - Merrimack - 22 - Forward:
"We've seen him play a lot. The first year we saw him his speed and skill and tenacity was prevalent, but he was a little undisciplined and took a lot of penalties. He had a bad temper and played on a really small ice surface that probably wasn't conducive to his style of play. Over the years, he was still a very productive player, but not on a really good team so we're not sure we were ever really able to see all of his skills and ability come out while he was at Merrimack. We were excited to see him get some games in Binghamton to finish the season because he just blossomed. He was like a star. He did everything that we expected that he could do, but he also played with this reckless abandon and was simply fearless. Guys were punching him and taking runs at him and we were like oh geez, he's gonna get killed, but then on the next shift, he'd come out and take a run on the guy that just hit him. So, it really opened our eyes and that of his teammates and the coaches and the staff. We were all like, wow, because we didn't expect this out of Brett. He just wants to be a hockey player. He makes no excuses and just continues to work hard. This kid might be the next Jesper Bratt. We'll see what happens, but for a guy of his size, he'll have to learn to pick his spots to showcase his snarl." - Weinrich

(Signed in March after completing his senior season.)

Tariq Hammond - Denver - 24 - Defense:
"He suffered a really tough ankle injury about a year ago and it's been a long recovery process for him, but he's a defenseman you don't notice a lot, but for all the right reasons. That mean's he's not getting beat or exposed and he's just quietly doing his job. He was one of the captains at Denver and his coach couldn't say enough good things about his character. When he got to Binghamton on the PTO, you knew he wanted to make the most of the opportunity and played well enough to earn himself a contract for next year. He just fought through the adjustment and made an impact and, with a full off-season of training, I think he's only going to get better." - Weinrich 

(Signed in April after completing his senior season. AHL only deal.)

Ryan Schmelzer - Canisius - 24 - Forward:
"No one really knew anything about him until he got to Adirondack at the end of the season, but he lit them on fire and he's been really impressive this week. He fits right in out there and isn't out-of-place at all. He's got good size and seems driven and works hard. He's a good pick up for the depth chart and having him here at camp should be real good for him because I think he'll take all this information and put it to good use these next six weeks and show up at rookie camp ready to go. I'm excited to see where he can take his game next year." - Wenrich

(Signed in April after completing his senior season. AHL only deal.)

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