Grading Each New Jersey Devils Players’ Playoff Performances

New Jersey Devils celebrate their win over the New York Rangers in game seven of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils celebrate their win over the New York Rangers in game seven of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kevin Bahl #88 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Kevin Bahl – Grade: C+

You could tangibly feel the growth of many young Devils during the playoffs, but maybe none more so than Kevin Bahl. The massive defenseman gave many fans hope for the future of the left side.

Over the course of this season, Bahl went ahead and grew from a fringe rotational player to a seventh defenseman to the Devils’ third pairing alongside Damon Severson. Bahl was sometimes really bad and sometimes really good. Towards the end of the season, things became more linear.

An area of concern for Bahl was that he often played below his size of 6’6″, 230 lbs. Come playoff time, Bahl ramped up his physicality tenfold and reaped the benefits. Bahl is still a bit raw as a player, and his puck skills suffer from his size and agility, ala Ryan Graves. His turnover that led to a Patrick Kane breakaway goal in Game 2 against New York is proof of that. It also explains why he managed just one assist in 11 games.

Bahl deserved more playing time based on merit alone, which is another mark on Coach Ruff’s slate. Bahl played more than 15 minutes just three times in the playoffs, which is just a gross mismanagement of another useful player.