New Jersey Devils defenseman Connor Carrick played a short season due to injury but was far from impressive when he did take the ice.
Finishing the year as the worst team in the Metropolitan division, the New Jersey Devils underwent a season to forget, and so did several of their players. Right-handed defenseman Connor Carrick is certainly included in this specific group.
The 26-year-old played just 29 games and was below-average when he was given ice time.
Carrick has already played for a number of teams. Most recently, he was traded to New Jersey from the Dallas Stars prior to the 2019 trade deadline. The Devils then re-signed him to a two-year deal last July.
Carrick has had issues in regards to staying healthy (he’s played just 63 games over the last three years combined) and this campaign was no different. He broke his finger on Oct. 14 and didn’t return until mid-December.
And even after returning from injury, Carrick wound up being a healthy scratch on several occasions. He proved to be incapable of consistent effectiveness and it’s safe to assume he can’t be a top defenseman.
The Devils had more shots against them than even-strength shots when Carrick was on the ice and he had a 40 GF%, good for sixth-worst on the team among players who skated in at least 20 games.
His ixG of 0.75 was good for second worst among the team’s defensemen who logged at least 20 games. Carrick has never been known for his offense and that’s not likely to change, but these numbers aren’t good.
Carrick played 125:25 minutes with Will Butcher this season, more than any other defenseman. Their numbers as a defensive pairing weren’t exactly good. Together, the two had a 43.10 SCF%, 53.06 HDCF%, and 41.67 HDGF%.
Overall, Carrick’s year didn’t go as the organization had expected after re-signing him, but his season did end on a high note. He started 18 of the Devils’ last 19 games and even scored his lone goal of the season on March 6th against the St. Louis Blues.
He can provide depth but it’s hard to see the Devils re-signing him after next season unless he has an uncharacteristically fantastic year.
Fans should expect to see Carrick as either a third-pairing defenseman or a seventh man option next year if the team doesn’t secure any defensemen in the offseason.
Carrick was actually a trade candidate at the deadline this year, something he’s grown accustomed to by now, and a similar possibility may arise at next year’s deadline.
We shouldn’t be surprised to see Carrick moved before his contract with New Jersey is up.
If the Devils hope to get back in the playoffs soon, they must refrain from acquiring and signing players like Carrick who don’t bring much of anything to the table and just eat cap space.
It’s not a good look for a team to have a guy making $1.5 million a year on their third defensive pairing. The Devils need to get their hands on at least one solid defenseman in the offseason and work on developing their blue line youngsters.