Blake Speers, one of two 19-year-olds to make the Devils out of training camp earlier this month, has been returned to his junior team in OHL Sault Ste. Marie, the club announced on Monday.
Speers was the club’s third round pick, 67th overall, at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and wasn’t expected to make his impact at the NHL level for a while. But a solid training camp and exhibition campaign impressed both Devils head coach John Hynes and GM Ray Shero, who proceeded to give Speers a three-game look before shipping him back to junior.
“When you see him, he’s an impact player every day,” Hynes said, per the Sault Star. “His hockey smarts and instincts are excellent.
“He has speed, he has compete and he has strong puck skills.”
Speers’s three games came against the Panthers, Lightning and Wild, which included a season-high 12:50 TOI against the Bolts. By returning him to Sault Ste. Marie now rather than beyond his ninth game of the year, the Devils avoid “burning” the first year of Speers’ entry-level contract.
With Speers gone, the Devils have recalled Steve Santini from AHL Albany. Santini could make his season debut Tuesday night when Coyotes visit Prudential.