The New Jersey Devils gave a Thanksgiving gift to their fanbase when they announced they had claimed Nathan Bastian off waivers from the Seattle Kraken. The Devils lost Bastian in the Kraken expansion draft, and the impact to the bottom six has been felt. It didn’t help that the Devils also lost Miles Wood from the BMW line. It’s really had an impact on Michael McLeod, who has been really good in the faceoff dot but has struggled in other aspects of the game.
Now, he gets to play with the player who has been a part of his career dating all the way back to juniors. Bastian and McLeod were part of the “Super Buddies” with the Mississauga Steelheads. They also both grew their games with the Binghamton Devils before they had scattered success with the NHL team.
Both Bastian and McLeod struggled to be NHL regulars until last season. McLeod went two seasons and 33 games without a goal. However, last year he finally started scoring. He had nine goals over 52 games, and he was an important component of the Devils’ energy line.
Without Bastian and Wood, McLeod is once again scoreless. He’s gone 17 games this season without a goal. He’s been on lines with Jimmy Vesey, who has been surprisingly good at times this season. He’s also had a bunch of different linemates. Yegor Sharangovich, Janne Kuokkanen, and Tyce Thompson have all shared time on the fourth line with McLeod.
Now, the Devils have the partner they need for McLeod. The Kraken put Bastian on waivers on Wednesday, and it was just obvious for the Devils to bring him back.
Bastian hasn’t been bad at all for the Kraken. He isn’t scoring goals, but he’s doing a lot of the little things right. His 5v5 percentages are anywhere from above average to great. Bastian was second in high-danger chance percentage on the Kraken. He was on the ice for 21 chances and only saw 11 high-danger chances for the other team while on the ice.
Being on the ice for those kinds of chances will only help McLeod get his scoring touch back. McLeod is even when it comes to high-danger chances, so Bastian will help on both sides of the ice.
This was clearly the right move. Bastian is a big body that the Devils know how to use. He will fit right back in with their roster, and we are all happy to have him back. Happy Thanksgiving!