New Jersey Devils: Damon Severson Deserves More Credit Than He’s Given

New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson (28): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson (28): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Jersey Devils desperately needed a win on Friday night. Coming in with a 3-7-2 record in December, the Devils lost their entire lead in the Metropolitan Division. It doesn’t help that Carolina, both New York teams, Washington and Pittsburgh were absolutely dominant in the month. The Devils are now in a dogfight in the Metro, and they need their stars and veterans to step up on a nightly basis to get them through this.

Jack Hughes has been stepping up, doing his best to drag this team to wins. He did that again on Friday night when he scored the first goal against the Penguins. Dougie Hamilton was also great, which he’s been on most nights despite the losing. Nico Hischier played like a captain should. The Devils are getting what they need from the top of the lineup (short of Jesper Bratt), but they need more from their depth if they are going to turn this into a winning streak.

One player that should be stepping up right now is Damon Severson. With John Marino out of the lineup for a few weeks at least, Severson is moved into that line two spot behind Hamilton. One of the biggest advantages the Devils had coming into this season was how much depth they had on the right side of the defense. There really wasn’t another team in the league with that much depth on the right side (maybe Colorado, but that’s about it).

Severson hasn’t been perfect this season. Nobody is going to argue that. However, the hate on Severson has been way over the top. To be honest, it usually is. This fanbase has been very hard on Severson. Sometimes it’s “deserved” as much as it can be, but it’s starting to change the way the coaching staff speaks about Severson.

Lindy Ruff benched Severson after a mistake that lost them a game a few weeks ago. It was a wild decision, especially since the replacement was to put Kevin Bahl on his off hand. Severson has been better since the benching, and the mistakes have been few and far between. Then, on Friday night, Severson pulled a Superman stunt. He played north of 30 minutes in a game the Devils desperately needed to win.

One would think the head coach would applaud such an effort. Not only did Severson play 30 minutes, but he played more than 12 minutes on the penalty kill. That’s an insane effort in a regulation win. However, Ruff’s comments after the game didn’t seem to breed confidence in his veteran defender.

Severson is prone to mistakes. He’s not always going to make the right play, but more often than not, he will. He’ll also make plays only he can make. His offensive instincts from the defense zone are second to none. He can send a tape-to-tape pass from one blue line to the offensive zone entrance. These are both true, and it can be frustrating.

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However, the Devils need to lift up their players. The fanbase is hard enough on Severson. Ruff needs to give Severson his flowers when he deserves it.