New Jersey Devils: Forward 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 forwards have performed at the halfway point.
New Jersey Devils v Washington Capitals
New Jersey Devils v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Alexander Holtz (10G - 10A - 20Pts)

What a strange year it's been for Alex Holtz. He's the team leader at 5v5 goals and has done a great job rounding out his game. His skating looks much better than last year, and he is a very willing defender now. Yet, for some reason, Lindy Ruff refuses to reward him. That aside, Holtz has been a solid contributor and has found ways to produce in a lesser role. Most impressively, despite seeming like he's in the doghouse, Holtz has found his way into playing every game this season. A second-half surge for him could go a long way in shaping how this offseason will shape out and his role on the team moving forward.

Grade: B-

Curtis Lazar (4G - 10A - 14Pts)

Curtis Lazar has quietly been one of the Devils' most consistent players this season. Due to injuries, he's been slotted all over the lineup. That's allowed him to showcase his fast and physical style of play. Offense isn't the end-all-be-all for Lazar, but he's on track to blow past his career-high of 20 points. He has found ways to contribute at 5v5 in the bottom six, as well as becoming a vital part of the team's PK. The most telling stat for Lazar and his contribution to the team is him leading all forwards in blocked shots with 30.

Grade: B

Nathan Bastian (2G - 5A - 7Pts)

What was once a fun pairing with him and McLeod to form the "Super Buddies" is now no more. McLeod has gone on to greener pastures up in the lineup, while Nathan Bastian is the anchor on a fourth line. The lack of offense is no surprise, but watching Bastian makes you wonder why he's in the lineup. While he does occasionally mix it up and bring physicality, there have been numerous occasions where it's left the Devils shorthanded. Sooner or later, the Devils should turn to younger players who fit that role but also bring more speed and offense.

Grade: D+