New Jersey Devils End of the Season Report Cards: Forwards

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 forwards after a disappointing season.
New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken
New Jersey Devils v Seattle Kraken / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Ondrej Palat (GP 71 - 11G - 20A - 31P)

The Palat signing looks much worse when the Devils don't make the playoffs. Yet, despite limited production, Palat managed to finish in the top five in Expected Goals Above Replacement this season. Palat, though, plain and simple has not been good for the Devils. He yet again missed games because of injury, and even when he was in the lineup, he would vanish for shits, periods, and games on end. Whether or not he's a great presence in the locker room is unknown by fans, but his contributions on the ice are not of someone who should be eating up $6 million a season. His value was always going to come in the postseason, but when you don't make it to the big dance, it's difficult to rationalize having him on the team.

Grade: C-

Alexander Holtz (GP 82 - 16G - 12A - 28P)

A surprise entry into the Devils All-82 club this season, Holtz was at the center of a ton of friction in the Devils community this season. Lindy Ruff's reluctance to play him and Tom Fitzgerald's belittling comments about the former seventh-overall pick were incredibly frustrating and head-scratching for a player in desperate need of game time. On the ice, Holtz clearly had his struggles. His 200-foot game isn't where it needs to be to cement himself as a part of the core, but he showed a ton of flashes with his shot, sneaky good playmaking, and much-improved skating. He was rarely given the ice time needed to work on his game which is what made this situation most frustrating. What happens to him this offseason will be fascinating considering it seems the organization may be done with him, however, maybe there's hope for him when a new coach gets in the building.

Grade: C

Curtis Lazar (GP 71 - 7G - 18A - 25P)

Curtis Lazar becoming a fan favorite was not something most of us had on our Bingo cards entering the year. However, the deadline acquisition from last season played with a tenacity and willingness to do the little things that it takes to win. To show for it he ended with a career-high 25 points, as well as a team-leading +10. Lazar should settle in nicely into the 4C role next season after having to play higher up in the lineup this year. And at just $1 million, he is a bargain.

Grade: B+