Nathan Bastian was drafted in the second round, 41st overall, in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. In his three years with the organization, the 6'4, 205-pound right winger has fully embraced his time in Binghamton and the American Hockey League.
In his 141-game AHL career, Bastian has accumulated 30 goals and 21 assists for 51 points. After a less than stellar team record in Binghamton last season, the Kitchener, ON native has an optimistic outlook on the year ahead. He understands that his development in the American League is important to his overall game.
"You play every day to get better and to win. Being in this league is all learning. One of the biggest parts of that is learning how to win. We believe in the direction we are headed, so hopefully, it all comes together."
Bastian is just one of the many young guys on the Binghamton Devils learning and growing his game. Over his three years with the team, Bastian has transformed into a player that his teammates can look up to, while holding on to his laidback and humorous personality.
"He's a smart young man and is someone I look at as having things pretty well put together," Binghamton Head Coach Mark Dennehy said. "I think he understands our core values and tries his best to live by them. I think he's a player that some of the rookies look to and I know he's someone that I would point them to for help."
His development in the locker room is only rivaled by the growth in his game.
"I've always been impressed with his understanding of his strengths and building his game around those," said Dennehy. "Most recently, I've been watching him work on the things he's needed to and I'm seeing him work on them on a more regular basis."
The Kitchener, ON native's hard work has shown on the ice. In his first four games of the 2019-20 season, Bastian recorded a goal and four assists. His visibility in front of the net and his ability to take away the goaltender's eyes has become a staple in his game, but there are always aspects of play he is striving to improve.
"I think being a bigger guy and adjusting to that, getting faster and quicker is something I've always had to work on. Whether it's on the track or in the gym or most importantly on the ice, it's something that I've worked on over the summer."
In seven games with New Jersey last year, Bastian tallied three goals. His determination has helped motivate his hopes for the future.
"I was proud of myself in how I managed when I was in the NHL last year and [development] camp this summer. I'm only 21 and I still get to come to the rink every day and play in a really good league and get better. I hope nothing but success for New Jersey and if the time comes, I am ready. If not, I'll keep getting better here."