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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Dougie Hamilton (5G - 11A - 16Pts) INJURED

Dougie's presence was sorely missed on the backend after going down for the season. It would have been nice to have him on PP1 during the stretch of incompetence from the Devils' power play. There hasn't been much of an update on Hamilton since his injury, but it does seem as though he should be all clear to start next season.

Grade: B

Nick DeSimone (GP 11 - 1G -1A - 2P)

A waiver wire pickup from Calgary, DeSimone went over a month before getting into the Devils' lineup. DeSimone, while notDevils' perfect, was not a complete liability out there which was nice to see. He showed off some of his offensive skills, unafraid to jump up into the play. However, he often made blatant errors that led to either goals or scoring chances. If the Devils decided to bring him back as a depth defenseman or AHL defenseman, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Grade: C-

Santeri Hatakka (GP 12 - 0G - 2A - 2P)

The Santeri Hatakka hype train started at development camp and carried through the preseason and into the regular season. Hatakka went from a throw-in as part of the Timo Meier trade to having a legitimate chance at a roster sport next season. Even in just the 12 games he played, Hatakka displayed a physical and mature game that makes it easy to envision him as a third-pairing/penalty kill specialist defenseman. He lacks much offensive upside, but he takes the body, blocks shots, and is strong around the net. Hatakka could and should give Kevin Bahl a serious challenge for a spot on the bottom pairing next season.

Grade: B-

Colin Miller (GP 41 - 4G - 4A - 8P) TRADED

Colin Miller was a solid off-season pickup for the Devils as they tried to round out their defense. His preseason was horrendous, and he got hurt before Game 1, but he turned out to be one of the better Devils defensemen once he returned to the lineup. His booming slap shot was always on display and dangerous, and he was just an all-around solid player. However, he never fit into their long-term plans, and with the team out of it by the Trade Deadline, it was smart business to flip him for a draft pick.

Grade: C+