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New Jersey Devils season snapshot awards

Palmieri named MVP; Severson emerges as best defenseman

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, the award-worthy candidates for the New Jersey Devils at the pause:

The chances of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons appear dim for the New Jersey Devils, who are 13 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild card from the Eastern Conference.

There have been some positives, including the emergence of a rookie goalie.

To showcase those performances this season, here are their top players in various categories:

 

MVP

Kyle Palmieri leads the Devils with 25 goals, 45 points, 11 power-play goals and 18 power-play points averaging 17:07 of ice time in 65 games. The forward has one of the hardest shots in the NHL, ranks seventh on the Devils in hits (74) and takeaways (29), and is 11th in blocked shots (36).

Video: NJD@NYR: Palmieri buries rebound for second goal

 

Rookie

Mackenzie Blackwood has shown a maturity and ability to thrive in clutch situations during his first full NHL season. The 23-year-old goalie is 22-14-8, and is 8-2-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 12 games. He made an NHL career-high 52 saves in a 4-3 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Feb. 16 and had an NHL career-best 171:37 shutout streak (Feb. 6-13).

 

Defenseman

Damon Severson has picked up a lot of the slack, particularly after the Devils traded Andy Greene (New York Islanders on Feb. 16) and Sami Vatanen (Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 24). Severson leads Devils defensemen in goals (eight), points (31), power-play points (10), takeaways (35) and average ice time (22:58). He had an NHL career-high eight-game point streak (two goals, seven assists) from Jan. 27-Feb. 13, and is first on the Devils in blocked shots (97) and fourth in hits (81).

Video: WSH@NJD: Severson rifles Gusev's set-up for PPG late

 

Defensive forward

Nico Hischier is third on the Devils with 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists), tied with Jack Hughes for first in takeaways (42), second in penalties drawn (21), and first among Devils forwards in average ice time (18:04). Hischier scored his first shorthanded goal and has NHL career highs in shooting percentage (11.4 percent) and face-off winning percentage (51.7 percent).

 

Comeback player

Jesper Bratt has doubled his goal production (16) from last season and has an NHL career-high 101 shots on goal and 15.8 percent shooting percentage averaging 13:59 of ice time in 60 games. The forward leads the Devils in even-strength goals (15), and his 32 points (16 goals, 16 assists) are tied for fourth with Pavel Zacha. Since joining a line with Zacha and Nikita Gusev on Feb. 20, Bratt has eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 games. The line has 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists).

Video: NJD@LAK: Bratt hammers Gusev set-up home from circle

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