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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Jonas Siegenthaler (GP 57 - 1G - 8A - 9P)

The downfall of Jonas Siegenthaler needs to be studied. "Siegs" had a breakout 2021-22, where he looked like a bonafide top-pairing defenseman. In 2022-23, he continued his strong play but began to show some cracks, especially late in the season and the playoffs. His 2023-24 was a total collapse. Injuries certainly play a part (broken foot and a concussion), but Siegs was making mistakes with the puck that you see from AHL call-ups. He was sloppy with the puck and consistently lost his man around the net, which often resulted in goals. Siegs is locked up long-term and figures to be a big part of this team. Hopefully, a change in the defensive system will help turn things around for him next year.

Grade: C

Kevin Bahl (GP 82 - 1G - 10A - 11P)

Another member of the ALL-82 club, Kevin Bahl got his first full season of game time with the Devils. The results were a mixed bag that trended negatively. However, he showed flashes that he could be a quality bottom-pairing defensive defenseman, and if he can hone in and use his size properly, he can prosper at the NHL level. Bahl brings no offense, but when he's at his best, he uses his long reach to break up plays and separate his man from the puck. The issue: he doesn't do it enough. Next year is a big year for Bahl because while he is still young, he'll be in a contract year and can be easily replaceable on the third pair.

Grade: C

Brendan Smith (GP 63 - 5G - 10A - 15P)

Ah yes, Brendan Smith. Everyone's favorite defenseman. Smith should've been nothing more than a depth defenseman, but found himself in the lineup way too often, and getting way too much ice time. The two positive takeaways from Smith's season are he did find the back of the net five times and was also one of the Devil's better penaltykillers. That being said, he was pretty poor at the most important part of the job: defending. The decision to put Luke Hughes with Smith is what anchored a lot of Hughes's numbers. Smith made mistake after mistake, constantly out of position and leaving his man open for high-danger chances. Smith is a free agent this summer and, although beloved in the locker room, should not be back on this team in 2024-25.

Grade: D