New Jersey Devils: Time To Call Up A Young Defensemen

New Jersey Devils - Reilly Walsh (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
New Jersey Devils - Reilly Walsh (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils are so bad. Like, they are really, really bad. Nothing can make them worse. There’s no reason to force some defensemen into this terrible, terrible display of professional hockey. However, there’s no way this team can keep playing Matt Tennyson.

Jonas Siegenthaler and P.K. Subban are both on the COVID-19 protocol list as of Monday. That left the Devils with this lineup on Sunday:

Ryan Murray-Damon Severson
Will Butcher-Connor Carrick
Colton White-Matt Tennyson

That’s a pretty bad D-core. The top two players are much better suited as second-line players, and everyone on the bottom four is a seventh defenseman at best. Colton White was playing on his third-straight night on Sunday. One a back to back, head coach Lindy Ruff switched out exactly zero defensemen.

Ty Smith is likely going to come back soon from his injury. He will severely help this unit, but he is still a rookie. He can only do so much. Still, putting Smith on that top line and moving everyone else down one is a good start.

So, there are some talented defensive players in the AHL. There has been no reason before now to call any of them up to the NHL. Getting them real experience in a lesser league was important, however, the situation has changed.

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The reason one might not want to call up a talented young defenseman to the NHL is they could develop bad habits out of desperation. The issue with that thought process is it’s happening at the AHL level. The Binghamton Devils are terrible in the standings. Sure, they make comebacks in most games, but the defense has lost them games on a weekly basis. They have five wins in 25 games. They are the worst team in the AHL, and it’s not really close.

Keeping Reilly Walsh and Kevin Bahl in an organization that just isn’t winning at all would be better suited when they are playing against NHL talent. They will make mistakes, but so are the players on the ice now. How much worse can it get for them?

Also, the Devils can get them in one game a week in the NHL and send them both right down. This isn’t a normal year. The AHL team is playing at the same exact address as the NHL team. There’s no extra travel for a player (barring home and away games matching up) who gets called up or sent down. They don’t have to worry about where they are staying that night when they need to play in the NHL. Also, this would give them a couple extra bucks in their pocket since they get paid about five times more for NHL games than they do for AHL games.

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There are ways bad teams can keep their young players engaged despite the losing. Getting them some extra money is one way. Letting them make an NHL debut is another way. None of them will play six games total, so the Devils don’t have to worry about burning contract years. This was something that sounded like a bad idea earlier in the season, but with how bad everything is going across all areas of the organization, they might as well give Walsh and Bahl a look. White and Josh Jacobs will probably end up getting the looks, but Walsh and Bahl are the two that will actually get this fanbase excited.