New Jersey Devils: Defenseman/Goalie Report Cards At The Halfway Point

The New Jersey Devils are 22-16-3 through the first 41 games. Let's check in on how the defenseman and goalies have performed at the halfway point.
New Jersey Devils v Chicago Blackhawks
New Jersey Devils v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Brendan Smith (1G - 4A - 5Pts)

As an everyday defenseman, he's despised by the fanbase, but as a fill-in fourth-line winger, he's beloved. The discourse around Smith is both funny and sad at the same time. He is perfectly fine as a number seven defenseman, but through injuries and some favoritism from Lindy Ruff, Smith has found himself high up in the lineup on most nights. What Smith does have going for him is that he is probably the Devils' best penalty killer. What he has going against him is that he leads the team in penalty minutes. Smith is also prone to being terribly out of position or making a backbreaking mistake that ends with the puck in the back of the Devils' net. Believe it or not though, the Devils will need him to play big minutes with all the injuries they've sustained.

Grade: C-

Colin Miller (2G - 3A - 5Pts)

The start of Colin Miller's Devils career went as bad as possible. He had a horrendous preseason, followed by an injury that kept him out until mid-November. However, since entering the lineup, he's done a complete 180. Miller has given the Devils good, quality minutes and deserves to play every night, even with a healthy lineup. He's shown off his heavy shot and hasn't been afraid to jump into the play. The pending UFA has looked deserving of a new contract through the first half of the season.

Grade: B-