New Jersey Devils: 3 Players On Chopping Block With Jesper Bratt’s Return

Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
Nathan Bastian #14 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Nathan Bastian

McLeod’s partner since they both played for the Mississauga Steelheads is another player on the chopping block. Bastian is less likely to leave the lineup because he brings something different than Bratt. While McLeod is largely mimicked by Bratt’s skill set.

Bastian’s big body has worked for his advantage at times during this season but also didn’t help him stop pucks from going in the net. He’s been given some responsibility this season. He has a little bit of time on the power play, although he’s not a major component of it. His big body would work well sitting down low on the second unit now that P.K. Subban’s huge slap shot is there.

Bastian is also putting in some penalty kill time. Again, that could be simply replaced by Bratt taking his spot on the unit.

Bastian’s skill set likely keeps him in the lineup until Nico Hischier comes back. Then, Bastian’s spot is really in jeopardy. Pavel Zacha can slot into the fourth line at the center position, and McLeod and Bastian are the most likely players to fall out of the lineup. Bastian has a goal and an assist to start the season. It’s nice, but it’s not anything the Devils can rely on. He probably needs one more season in the AHL to hone his skills before he’s completely ready to make it in the NHL long term. The issue with Bastian is he is not waiver exempt. If the Devils want him to play for Binghamton/Newark, then other teams would have the opportunity to claim the former 2nd round pick. That could lead the Devils to keeping him on the roster for the foreseeable future.