New Jersey Devils: Blake Coleman Hitting His Prime At The Right Time

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 18: New Jersey Devils Winger Blake Coleman (20) prepares to take the ice during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on November 18, 2018. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 18: New Jersey Devils Winger Blake Coleman (20) prepares to take the ice during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on November 18, 2018. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils may be having a down season, but one player is surely not following that trend. Blake Coleman is having his best season yet.

Last season, the New Jersey Devils spoke very highly of three rookies who were having amazing seasons all at the same time. Nico Hischier was the team’s number-one overall pick, and was playing like he belonged on the team’s top line. Will Butcher surprised everyone and signed with the Devils after leaving the Colorado Avalanche, and he hit 39 assists from the blue line. Jesper Bratt became a wonder, making the NHL as a 19-year-old 6th-round pick. The Swedish winger fell off towards the end of the season, but he still ranked 16th in the league in points per game among rookies with at least 50 games played.

With those rookies playing so well, the play of another rookie went overlooked. Blake Coleman was a very good, young player for the Devils last season. He was one of the team’s best penalty killers, he had a knack for stealing the puck, and he was relentless on the forecheck.

His offensive instincts weren’t perfect last season, but he still ended the season with 25 points. That’s not bad for a rookie with little more than fourth-line expectations. He did his job, and he did it very well.

In the offseason, the Devils rewarded Coleman with a three-year contract that pays him $5.4 million over the course of the deal. He’s well outplaying that deal this season.

The Texas native already has 19 points in 36 games. He’s on pace for 43 points, and 23 goals. Anyone and everyone would sign up for those numbers from Coleman before the season. He’s scoring in every situation.

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Honestly, Coleman could be having an even better season if he had a little better luck this month. He’s shooting 10.5% this season, but his December percentage sits at 7.5%. If he shot his average this month, he would have another two goals.

Coleman currently sits fifth on the Devils in scoring. He’s ahead of Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt in scoring from a guy who was on this team to be a penalty killer.

Speaking of that, he’s finally learned how to score when making a break while down a man. It seemed like he was getting a breakaway at least once per game, but could never convert. Then, he scored on November 17th for his first shorthanded goal of the year. He’s scored another goal and had an assist on the penalty kill since then.

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Coleman is already 27 years old. He’s actually the same age as Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. There are only four forwards on the roster older than him. He is hitting his prime right now, and it’s showing with how well he’s playing this season. He’s going to break the 20 goal plateau if he stays healthy. He could be that good for the next three years until he needs to get paid again. It’s one small good thing coming out of what’s been a bad season.