This season, the Devils have been silencing their critics and have played generally well thus far. They are one of the league’s older teams, but are young in one specific area: defense.
The Devils are currently running on 7 defensemen, Andy Greene, Eric Gelinas, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, John Moore, David Schlemko and Damon Severson. This group of defensemen are generally young, as Greene is the only member older than 29. This group of defensemen have played well, better than expected, in fact, but there is one small problem that faces this group: development.
See, when you have 7 defensemen, only 6 can play, so one of those defensemen are forced to sit out. More often than not, it has been either Jon Merrill or Eric Gelinas, two players in an important stage in their development. The rest of the defensemen have been outstanding, but these two haven’t had great seasons. Both have a -4 rating and a combined 5 points and 26 penalty minutes.
As a fan of both players, I want them to develop into solid, top 4 defensemen. I do understand that you have to do what you have to do to win, and I support that, but these players need to be given the chances they need to develop into players that will help you win down the road.
All stats are accurate as of December 31st, 2015.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.