Nathan Bastian, Current AAV $825,000
Nathan Bastian has been an important part of the Devils, but his role is usually muted. He chips in some offense, plays in the dirty areas, and he often leads the team in hits. He would lead the team in hits this season, but an injury cost him months of the season.
Bastian only played 43 games this season. That already cost him. He also recorded just 15 points. He didn’t have 11 goals like he did last season. There are reasons to believe he would get a similar contract in the offseason. He is a restricted free agent, so the Devils hold onto his rights. He was likely getting somewhere under $1 million per season, but a big postseason could have changed that.
If Bastian was the driving force on the fourth line, then things could have been different. The BMW line was directly causing wins earlier in the year. Obviously, things didn’t continue in 2023, but maybe with a new directive and the head coach focusing on physicality, Bastian’s role could have grown.
Instead, Bastian has seen his ice time diminish. He only has 13 minutes on the ice in two games. Ruff has shortened the bench in both games, and Bastian has been the victim of this cut. That isn’t going to help his case this offseason. A big postseason could have seen him get close to $2 million, but now he’ll have to settle for another minimum deal.