The Devils Draft Prospect Series continues today with Reilly Walsh. Be sure to check out the two previous posts on Jesper Boqvist and Fabian Zetterlund, and be sure to check the “Draft Prospect Series” tag in the future!
18-year old Reilly Walsh was the first (North) American and the first defenseman chosen by the New Jersey Devils in the 2017 NHL Entry-Level Draft, chosen 81st overall in the third round. His father, Mike, also played NCAA hockey with Colgate University and played 14 NHL games with the New York Islanders; he is also Proctor Academy’s head coach.
Born April 21, Walsh is 6′ 0″ and 185 lbs. He was ranked #60 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He’s played in the U.S. developmental system for several years, in both the USHS and the USHL. He’s slated to join Harvard (NCAA) in the fall.
Here are some of his stats:
He’s played four years and accumulated 181 points in 122 USHS games, averaging about 1.48 points per game, and he had 69 points in 30 games during the 2016-17 season. That’s pretty damn good for a defenseman. According to a Boston Herald article (linked later in this post), Walsh led all New England prep schools in scoring this past season at Proctor Academy and was the first defenseman to do so since 1985-86 (Brian Leetch). He was also named the Top England Prep Prospect by the New England Hockey Journal a few months ago. Walsh had 10 points in 24 games in two stints with the Chicago Steel (USHL), Clark Cup champions, last year as well.
I really like him. Walsh is an offensive defenseman and his defensive skills leave a little something to be desired. He’s also a bit on the smaller side but college hockey is going to help him build muscle, and grow bigger and stronger. (If you can’t already tell, I love college hockey). He’s a phenomenal skater and plays a solid all-around game. If he can work on his size and his defensive ability, he could become a great NHL defenseman and he’s someone I would want the Devils to keep in the system and develop from within. I’d like to see him at least get some time in Binghamton (AHL) this year if not a game or two in the NHL.
Here’s a really good article from the Boston Herald about Walsh. He mentions watching and modeling his style of play after current NHL defensemen Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Roman Josi (Nashville), and Duncan Keith (Chicago). Not bad.
And according to this well-written Boston Globe article, Walsh has been compared to Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere. But what matters to me the most is how he responded to it: ““I think that’s pretty cool,” said Walsh. “To be compared to anybody in the league is a huge compliment. I think he’s a really skilled offensive player, young, and went through the college scene with Union. So to be compared to anyone like that is a huge compliment.””
If any of you are interested (because I am), Harvard comes to town to play Princeton on December 2 at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink in Princeton. It’s hard to crack the lineup at the age of 18 but if he’s playing, I’ll be there and I’ll be sure to take notes! Walsh is definitely a prospect that excites me and I’m looking forward to watching him in the future.