Chase Stillman, Josh Filmon, New Jersey Devils, Seamus Casey, Topias Vilen

Devils’ Prospects to Watch at 2023 Development Camp

The next part of the NHL offseason consists of development camps for all 32 teams. These camps help prepare prospects for their future endeavors in the league. The New Jersey Devils development camp opened on Monday with 33 players, including 18 forwards, 11 defenders, and four goaltenders.

Of the 33 players, 19 were drafted by New Jersey, five are American Hockey League (AHL) players and nine were invited. Furthermore, four of the five 2023 Draft selections will be in attendance. The lone player who will not attend is Belarussian defenseman Daniil Karpovich, who was selected in the sixth round. A few familiar names, like Simon Nemec, Luke Hughes, and Nolan Foote are reportedly in training to be ready for training camp and will not attend development camp. Here’s a look at the players worth keeping an eye on, beginning on July 10.

Josh Filmon

Josh Filmon is a 19-year-old Canadian winger. He stands at 6-foot-1 and 159 pounds. The Devils selected Filmon in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Draft. He has taken significant and impressive leaps since being drafted. In the 2022-23 season, he played with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he scored 47 goals and 28 assists in 64 games. He also got a small taste of the AHL, where he played four games and scored one goal for the Utica Comets.

This is his second Devils’ development camp and could be a standout. His development post-draft has created hope that he is a late-round steal. He finished his WHL season 28th in scoring and will look to become a mainstay on the Comets this season.

Chase Stillman

The 20-year-old winger was selected in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, going 29th overall. Stillman’s game is heavy, physical, and aggressive. Devils assistant general manager Dan MacKinnon said this about Stillman: “He’s an aggressive player, skates well, has that touch-puck-first mentality where he can gain possession, and has enough skill to make a play,” (from ‘Devils offseason updates: Where things stand with free agents Erik Haula, Timo Meier, more’, NJ.com, 06/22/23). This is his third development camp and will be watched very closely.

Chase Stillman Sudbury Wolves
Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves (Photo by Robert Lefebvre /OHL Images)

In 2022-23, Stillman played with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), scoring 19 goals and 29 assists in 59 games. His progress has just been ok, but the Devils are still hopeful that he will become a physical addition to the roster in the future.

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Stillman will be under pressure given his high draft position. General manager Tom Fitzgerald has already received criticism due to the selection. Keep an eye on him in development camp this week.

Seamus Casey

Often overshadowed by top defensive prospects like Hughes and Nemec, Seamus Casey is a highly-touted prospect who will be an amazing addition to the Devils’ blue line in the near future. The right-shot defenseman is 5-foot-9 and 161 pounds, which has been a concern for scouts. He was selected in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Last season, he played in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a freshman for the University of Michigan alongside Hughes. In 37 games, he scored eight goals and 21 assists.

Casey will be a clear standout at development camp with his speed and skill. Furthermore, he has strong ties to New Jersey. “I have a ton of family in New Jersey,” he told the media at the draft in 2022. “So they’re all pumped up there, they’re huge Devils fans and so am I.” His smooth skating and impressive stick handling should make him fun to watch this week.

Topias Vilén

Another overshadowed defender in the Devils’ pipeline is 20-year-old Topias Vilén. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He is 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, and shoots left. Last season, he played in Finnish Elite League (Liiga) for the Lahden Pelicans and scored nine goals and eight assists in 41 games. He also played for Finland’s U-20 international team and scored one goal and six assists in 13 games. Lastly, he played one playoff game for the Comets and did not register a point.

Without Hughes and Nemec at development camp, Vilén will have to shine against other defenders. There is promise that the Finnish defender could find a home in the AHL and be an option for New Jersey in the future.

Tyler Brennan

Tyler Brennan is a 19-year-old goaltender who stands at 6-foot-4 and 181 pounds. He was selected in the 2022 NHL Draft in the fourth round. He played in the WHL for the Prince George Cougars, with a .898 save percentage and a 2.86 goals-against average in 37 games. His size and athleticism made him a highly-touted draft pick, and he could be used in Utica this season.

Tyler Brennan Prince George Cougars
Tyler Brennan, Prince George Cougars (James Doyle / Prince George Cougars)

Brennan has the potential to replace Akira Schmid’s spot in the AHL. Brennan is still very young and will likely need more time to grow before he joins New Jersey. However, he will be exciting to watch this week.

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Other players, who will be in attendance this week include forwards Sami Salminen, Jaromir Pytlik, Xavier Parent, and Lenni Hameenaho, who could surprise people with their play. Defenders Ethan Edwards, Chase Cheslock, and Santeria Haakka are also worth keeping an eye on. Make sure to stay up to date with THW.

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