The big defensive prospect will bring size and strength to a struggling defensive group.
On Thursday afternoon, New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff announced that defensive prospect Kevin Bahl would make his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
🚨 Lindy Ruff announces Kevin Bahl will make his NHL debut. 🚨
“A big man who can skate, move the puck. His reach and range is something a smaller man doesn’t have.”#NJDevils | @UnibetUS pic.twitter.com/S2E30J2Cu3
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) April 29, 2021
A left-handed defenseman, the 20-year-old will be coming up from the Binghamton Devils after his first season with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate. In 26 games, he scored one goal and five points.
Bahl was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Arizona Coyotes and was traded to the Devils in 2019 as part of a package deal in exchange for Taylor Hall. He was seen as the key piece coming back to New Jersey.
At 6’6″, 230 lbs., Bahl has been held in high regard because of his size. As Ruff noted on Thursday, his reach and range are unique. Bahl isn’t offensively-minded and likely never will be, but he’s expected to do big things as a shut-down defenseman.
Fans have been more excited to see Bahl than most prospects and the hope is that he can be nearly as impactful as fellow defensive rookie Ty Smith has been this season.