New Jersey Devils End of the Season Report Cards: Defensemen & Goalies

The New Jersey Devils missed the playoffs and finished the season with a 38-39-5 record. Let's check in and grade the Devils defense and goalies after a disappointing season.
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Eighty-two up, 82 down for the New Jersey Devils as their 2023-24 season has come to a close. The encore performance to a historic 2022-23 fell flat on its face as the team missed the playoffs yet again and finished with 81 points.

With the season finished and school almost out, it's time we hand out some report cards. We graded the Devils defenseman and goalies at the midway point of the season, but now it's time to give them a grade over a full 82 games.

Luke Hughes (GP 82 - 9G - 38A - 47P)

For all the highs Luke Hughes had in his rookie year, there were just as many lows. The hype surrounding Luke's first full NHL season probably set unfair expectations. He came into the league as a 19-year-old, led the team in TOI with 21:28, and played in all 82 games. That alone is impressive and enough to call it a successful year. Luke also broke the record for most points by a Devils rookie defenseman with 47.

For stretches at a time, he showed his elite skating in transition, his ability to walk the blue line by utilizing his hands and feet deceptively to throw off defenders, and his passing/playmaking ability. Where the issues lay were his lack of consistent in-zone defending, poor turnovers, and costly mental mistakes. What Luke has going for him is he just made it through the rigors of a full 82-game NHL schedule, and he is well-positioned to learn from his mistakes from this year and work on them in the summer.

Grade: B+

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