New Jersey Devils Mid-Term Report Card

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Oct 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New Jersey Devils’ defense has been less than stellar this season.

New Jersey currently ranks 21st in the National Hockey League in total goals allowed with 128 in 47 games, while ranking 20th in the league with an average of 2.72 goals allowed per game. While it’s not horrendous, it is not anything to be proud of.

For what it’s worth, the New York Islanders, the top team in the Metropolitan Division at the All-Star break, have also allowed 128 goals this season. But in contrast to New Jersey, the Islanders counteract that by ranking second in the NHL in total goals scored.

But it seems as if it has been a tale of two seasons for the Devils defensive corps.

In the season’s first quarter, New Jersey’s defense ranked among the worst of the worst. But coincidentally, when Captain Bryce Salvador suffered an injury that has kept him sidelined since November 10, the Devils defensive play picked up drastically, and even more so over their past 11 games under their new coaching regime.

New Jersey has seen several bright spot emerge on defense this season, including Damon Severson, and although the 20-year-old rookie has missed the past 15 games while nursing an ankle injury, scored four goals and added eight assists, showing that he can be a very solid addition to the Devils blue line for years to come.

Additionally, Adam Larsson, who failed to see consistent playing time under former coach Peter DeBoer, has emerged as one of the Devils’ best defensemen of late. The former fourth overall pick had four points in 18 games prior to the coaching change. Larsson has responded to the change by tallying five points in the past 11 games, all while averaging more than 20:00 of ice time in each of those 11 games.

Although the future is bright for the Devils’ young defensive corps, this is a league where the present is the only time that matters, and the statistics do not lie. The Devils continue to show inconsistencies on the blue line, which are partially to blame for their record halfway through the season. The Devils allow too many goals per game – and more importantly, too many shots per game at 30.4, ranking in the league’s bottom-third. New Jersey’s poor defensive play has been a recipe for disaster.

Mid-Term Grade: D

Next: New Jersey Devils' Goaltending