The New Jersey Devils are expected to walk away from Mitch Hoelscher
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The New Jersey Devils are cutting ties with prospect Mitch Hoelscher.
His rights expire if he’s not signed to an entry-level contract prior to next Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline. That’s not in the plans, according to the 20-year-old center.
The Ottawa 67’s have been somewhat of a breeding ground for Devils prospects in recent years and, on the surface, Hoelscher did have a pretty good season. From that respect, some may be surprised he’s not getting an ELC. I am part of that group, although I don’t have a problem with the Devils walking away.
I just don’t think there is much upside with Hoelscher. He scored 10 goals in his draft year. He scored 10 goals in his D+1 year.
That number jumped to 34 this season, however, he still finished 6th on his team in points; hardly something to write home about for a drafted forward in his D+2 season (I realize Ottawa was a fantastic team).
Hoelscher works hard. He is energetic. He is smart. He is defensively responsible. But a lot of what he brings comes by choice (work ethic) rather than abilities (skating, puck skills, etc.).
His ceiling is probably that of a fringe NHLer who can center a 4th line and play a little on the PK. The Devils have enough of those types, and a lot of picks coming to make room for, so I can see why they’re parting ways.
Hoelscher will probably get a shot elsewhere – perhaps on a team with an empty prospect cupboard – but I don’t think the Devils are going to miss out on much by letting him go.
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