The team’s fourth-line center was a bright spot in a terrible stretch for the Devils.
The New Jersey Devils are in near-turmoil right now. They’re on a league-worst six-game losing streak and are just three points ahead of the last-place New York Islanders, who have four games in hand.
There’s no excuse for a team with as much talent as the Devils to be performing as poorly as they are, indicating that head coach Lindy Ruff and company’s days are likely numbered.
The Devils had a busy week, playing four games and losing them all. They also had some COVID issues, losing Jesper Boqvist, Ryan Graves, Nico Hischier, and P.K. Subban to protocol.
The NHL has paused the season and the Devils won’t play until Dec. 27th the earliest. This is good news for the Devils. They could really use this time off to regroup and start fresh again.
The players on protocol as well as starting goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood, who’s recovering from a mild neck injury, will also have time to rest and get better.
The Devils didn’t look too hot in Week 10 and no player was consistently great, but it was good to see a bottom-six forward shine in his own way during an overall dark period for the team.
Player of the Week: C Michael McLeod
@ PHI: 1 A
vs. VGK: 1 A
@ DET: 1 G
Average Game Score: 0.69
Average defensive impact: 0.36
In Week 10, McLeod was the Devils’ best player and had his best week of the season. He wasn’t perfect, but was able to notch an incredibly impressive three-game point-streak.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 19, 2021
Given his severe offensive struggles on the year, it was refreshing to see McLeod not only pick up points, but have himself a nice little scoring streak.
McLeod has been pretty great defensively this season, easily his greatest strength, and did well in his own zone this week.
McLeod’s offensive issues have had a serious negative impact on his overall play, so seeing him play as well as he did this week was a breath of fresh air. B
y being the team’s best player, he also showed that he’s capable of carrying the weight and has real potential as a depth centerman in this league.
More weeks like this from the 23-year-old would add a lot of positivity to the rebuild and future of the team.
Honorable Mention #1: LW/C Yegor Sharangovich
vs. PIT: 1 A
Average Game Score: 0.30
Average defensive impact: -0.02
After a few weeks of absence, Sharangovich is back as an honorable mention. It was good to finally see Sharangovich get a point after going four-straight without one.
He was a top-five player on the team twice last week, an impressive feat given the fact that he spent time at two different positions. His versatility is nice and has come in handy this season.
Sharangovich, who emerged onto the scene as a solid goal-scorer last season, has been disappointing in terms of putting up points in 2021-22, but his overall game seems to be improving.
He wasn’t fantastic in his own zone this week, but his defensive game has gotten so much better. He was a defensive nightmare in his rookie season and it’s great to see him take that aspect of his game to the next level.
Honorable Mention #2: LHD Jonas Siegenthaler
vs. VGK: 1 A
@ DET: 1 A
Average Game Score: 0.16
Average defensive impact: 0.37
The guy the Devils can always count on, Siegenthaler, is back as an honorable mention. The team’s best defensive-defenseman showed off his offensive potential with two assists in Week 9 and followed that up with yet another two-assist week.
Siegenthaler wasn’t as good offensively or defensively as he was in Week 9, but still looked pretty good and was one of the team’s best players. The team’s Mr. Consistent must remain just that if there’s any hope for the Devils to turn this around.
Honorable Mention #3: RW Tomáš Tatar
vs. VGK: 1 G, 1 A
Average Game Score: 0.12
Average defensive impact: -0.09
Week 8’s player of the week is back on here, this time as an honorable mention. Tatar wasn’t particularly great this week, especially in his own zone (which is odd given the fact that he’s actually been quite good defensively this season).
However, he played well enough to be one of the team’s best players this week. He was a top-four player on the Devils twice in Week 10 and stood out against the Vegas Golden Knights, when he scored a goal and an assist.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 17, 2021
More consistent play from one of the team’s marquee free agent signings would be more than appreciated.