By Jason Shaya

Jun 19, 2024

In his first season as a professional hockey player, New Jersey Devils first round draft pick Chase Stillman played 54 games for the Utica Comets, scoring 14 goals and adding ten assists for 24 points. Stillman comes from a strong hockey pedigree as a third-generation pro hockey player (grandfather Bud Stefanski played in the NHL, AHL, IHL, and in Austria + nearly four-decade career in coaching, management, and scouting; father Cory Stillman had 17-year NHL career; brother Riley Stillman currently plays for the Rochester Americans). 

Stillman served as the alternate captain for the 2022-23 Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes, contributing to the win with his gritty play and ability drop the gloves. Heading into his sophomore year, Chase enters the off-season with the goal of making improvements to his game. We asked him to reflect on last season and talk about his mindset heading into the summer.


How do you think your rookie season went overall? It seems like you built a lot of momentum as the year progressed.

Stillman: I think my rookie season went pretty well. Obviously, I’m not super satisfied with anything, but I think I think it was a good start. I am really looking forward to next season to improve on what I’ve learned.


What does a typical day in the summer look like on the road to your second year?

Stillman: I work out Monday to Friday. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have gymnastics, which is like kind of like plyometrics mixed in with mobility and then I skate 2 to 3 times a week. After that I hang out with my brother mostly and go to the lake on the weekends.


What was the biggest eye opener for you going from major junior in the OHL to professional hockey in Utica?

Stillman: Just the strength of everybody, how much faster guys would close, and how much less room you had to move after a pin on the wall or getting space in front of the net. Then again, it’s something that I’ve always expected that it was going to be the biggest jump from junior to pro. I’ve enjoyed it and then I look forward to getting bigger and stronger in the gym this summer myself.


Did you get a chance to get away on vacation this summer and enjoy some down time?

Stillman: Unfortunately, no— I had a pin jammed in my finger after I broke it against the Marlies for the first three weeks of summer. After that, I started my recovery for my finger and then it was pretty much time to start training and skating again.


Can you name your favorite moment from the 2023-24 season? (Maybe your hat trick against Syracuse?)

Stillman: Yeah, I think it was probably the hat trick, that’s maybe the most memorable game that I've had for sure. My first AHL game stands out too, just realizing I’d made it to professional hockey and this is a stepping stone of where I want to be in my career.


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