3 New Jersey Devils Players Who Need to Bounce Back in 2024-25

Following a disappointing 2023-24 season, the New Jersey Devils need to elevate their play in 2024-25.
John Marino
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Missing the playoffs means the New Jersey Devils have a long offseason to think about all of the things that went wrong in the 2023-24 season. Over the summer, Tom Fitzgerald will make changes to the roster and the coaching staff to piece together a stronger team. The Devils hope to turn things around in 2024-25. 

The team as a whole fell short of expectations for a variety of reasons. Aside from injuries, coaching decisions and other factors, several players failed to live up to individual expectations. While the disappointing season doesn’t fall squarely on one player's shoulders, regression contributed to the team’s struggles. 

In order to contribute next season, several players need to return to form or elevate their level of play. Here are three Devils who need to bounce back in 2024-25.

3. Nathan Bastian

The Devils re-signed Nathan Bastian to a two-year contract last offseason to continue his role as a fourth line winger. Bastian has never been known for scoring goals but has always been a physical player who can grind and bring energy to his team. Bastian missed the final two months of the season after he was injured by Matt Rempe, but up until then, the Devils didn’t get as much pop from Bastian in 2023-24 as they would have liked to.

Bastian’s points production dipped a bit from the previous season, with 12 points in 54 games. He wasn’t as visible on the ice as he had been previously. He did contribute 143 hits in 54 games, but he wasn’t driving play or winning as many puck battles. In 2022-23, Bastian averaged 12:26 of ice time per game. In 2023-24, he averaged just 10:09. His coaches chose not to have Bastian on the ice as much as he used to be, which says a lot.

A revolving door of linemates made it a tough season of transition for Bastian. Gone is the consistency that he once had with the BMW line where his regular linemates were Michael McLeod and Miles Wood. McLeod’s exit surely shook up the whole team, but it must have been particularly tough on Bastian. 

Since Bastian isn’t someone who can really be moved up in the lineup, he has to bring something special to the fourth line in order to stick around. His shining moment of the season came during the Stadium Series when he scored two goals and produced a viral goal celebration. The Devils need more from Bastian next year.