New Jersey Devils: Forward Grades Through One Quarter Of The Season

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4
New Jersey Devils
Nathan Bastian #14 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Bottom-Six Wingers

Nathan Bastian

GP:14 G:1 A:3 PTS:4

Nathan Bastian has been good since day one of this season. Being paired with McLeod brings time tested chemistry from their days in Mississauga. His points with the big club are pretty ridiculous all things considered, being a fourth liner with 7 points in 21 games over his short career. It was only a matter of time he stuck with the big club. The physicality he brings has been sorely needed and that alone should keep him in the lineup. The Devils are no longer getting pushed around every game and Bastian is a huge part of that. His skating has taken a big step forward, and his shot is now of NHL quality so other teams will need a real game plan against him and his line or they will dominate against other bottom lines most games.

Quarter season grade: A+

Miles Wood

GP:14 G:5 A:3 PTS:8

With an insane start of scoring goals and taking bad penalties, Miles Wood looked like he was going to continue to be giving the Devils a rollercoaster of a season. Since then, he has stopped taking the normal Miles Wood running the goalie penalty and has only racked up 13 PIMS this season, which all things considered is quite good. His physical play has not went away which is a huge part of his game, but he did need to get smarter about it. On top of all of this, he is currently the Devils leading goal scorer and this bodes incredibly well for his future.

Quarter season grade: A+

Nikita Gusev

GP:11 G:2 A:1 PTS:3

After being one of the Devils few bright spots last season Gusev has taken a huge turn for the worse. His hockey IQ, edgework in small spaces and playmaking were well above average last season but this year none of that has been there. It is hard to tell what changed in the off season, if he has been playing with a very well hidden injury or just didn’t train hard enough but Gusev needs a wake up call and is near being benched in all likelihood. Both of his goals have came in the last two games but both were on an entirely open net with the game already finished so he will need to put up some points that matter to the team and will have to build on what he has done fast.

Quarter season grade: F