Grading New Jersey Devils Lines After First Two Games

Ty Smith #24 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ty Smith #24 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Line Two


The most disappointing line by far is the Devils’ second line. They were quiet in both games. While they did not hurt defensively, there was little sustained offence and they all had a ton of issues with passing and timing. Pavel Zacha played solid on the penalty kill, but besides that there is little to say about them other than they were in the game. This line needs to step it up before the minutes are given to others. With Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt coming back soon, expect them to be split up unless they turn it around.

Week one grade: C

Line Three


This line was predicted to be more of a matchup line with Travis Zajac doing a lot of heavy defensive lifting, but they had a lot of sustained pressure and momentum. Miles Wood was an absolute thorn in the other teams’ side much like Game 1. It showed that he was in their heads before the game began getting in a fight on the first shift. He managed to only take that fighting penalty but avoided taking a minor while still playing physical. The understanding of what he did wrong might have been there. This is a big chance for Wood to prove he can be a middle-six guy to a new coaching staff. Zajac played as Zajac always does, cool, calm and collected. He is still a solid bottom-six center. Jesper Boqvist looked a little more like the weak link on this line, but he is still finding his way. He does however need to be more assertive and should be trying to push the play more and take the role of sniper on this line. Wood and Zajac can both get the puck and win battles in the corner and if he can find the right spots this line could work out well for Jesper.

Week one grade: B

Line Four


This line had the feel preseason of an AHL line that would be on the wrong side of four goals by now while playing 10 minutes a night, but their performance has surprised fans. While still not given the highest ice time, Michael McLeod, Janne Kuokkanen, and Nathan Bastian have put maximum effort into every shift and actually managed sustained pressure and a few scoring chances. McLeod’s effort with the big squad was something he lacked last season and he was drifting aimlessly and looked like he did not care about some shifts. The question for him is why he only seems to play well with Nathan Bastian and will they be able to stick together. Bastian and Kuokkanen have both played physical and drove the net every chance they have had and are playing like they want to stay, like they want to push someone out of the lineup when Hischier and Bratt are back.

Week one grade: B+