A good top pair on defense is crucial for New Jersey Devils next season.
The New Jersey Devils have made some solid additions this offseason. They had a pretty good draft as well to supplement what is already a pretty good farm system. With that said, the on-ice NHL roster hasn’t been as good over the past few years, and they have lost a lot of hockey games as a result. They are hoping to be a lot more competitive going forward, but that has a lot to do with the defense, especially the top pair.
There are a lot of different options for their top pair but there is one duo that seems to have the most potential. If they pair the newly acquired Ryan Murray with Damon Severson, that might form the best possible pair that they have right now. There is hope for a few guys in the system to become that guy that takes over a top pair but for now, this is the best they have.
They can also be pretty good together if each of them plays to their strengths. Severson is that offensive-minded guy who can make plays and shoot the puck. Murray’s offensive game never developed the way we thought it would with the Columbus Blue Jackets but he still has room to grow while playing his studly defensive game.
They feel like a pair that will feed off what the other does well in all three zones. Each of them is capable of making breakout passes too, so that might help some of the young talented forwards this team has accumulated over the years.
If this was the top pair, it would also slot down P.K. Subban where he might be able to bounce back playing second-pair minutes. He would also probably draw some of the lesser competition which could help him dominate. If Severson and Murray were a good pair together in 2020-21, it leaves room for so many possibilities in the years that follow.
The two goaltenders would love a pair like this in front of them. For Mackenzie Blackwood, he is looking to prove that he can continue to be elite at the NHL level where Corey Crawford has done it for over a decade. Crawford has had prime Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook skating in front of him in his career so he shouldn’t be expecting that but it certainly is the best possible top pair they could offer at this point in time.