New Jersey Devils: 3 Ways To Try And Fix Penalty Kill

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76): Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (76): Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (70): (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports) /

Going 11 forwards and 7 defensemen

Some teams will use seven defensemen on certain nights for various reasons. The Devils have done it before. It might have to do with getting the top defenders rest, or it could be for injury reasons up front. Either way, it’s an intriguing option for the Devils.

Right now, the Devils have Ty Smith, Damon Severson, and P.K. Subban who are known more for their offense than defense. Matt Tennyson is also getting a chance to play in the lineup. Nobody wants to see him on the penalty kill. That leads to the Devils playing Severson too much down a man. They need to fix it.

Outside of the Devils top line and its fourth line, any forward could be taken out of the lineup. The middle six has been invisible for most games. If any of them were taking out of the lineup, including veterans like Pavel Zacha and Nikita Gusev, not many would be too upset.

So, here lies the problem. The current players sitting in the owner’s box are Connor Carrick and Will Butcher. In his career, Carrick has less than 30 minutes of penalty kill time. Butcher has about 27 minutes of career PK time (via Natural Stat Trick). They don’t work.

However, there’s an intriguing option on the Devils’ taxi squad. Kevin Bahl might not be ready to be an NHL regular, but with only a few shifts per game and time on the penalty kill, it might be the perfect introduction to the NHL for the 20-year-old prospect. Anything to get Severson, who’s been the Devils best defenseman at even strength, off the penalty kill.