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The New Jersey Devils have recently announced the exciting re-signing of promising defenseman Kevin Bahl to a two-year contract. This new deal is worth $2,100,000, with an annual average value of $1,050,000, securing Bahl’s presence on the team for the upcoming seasons. At the age of 23, Bahl’s potential for growth and impact makes him a significant asset for the Devils as they look toward the future.
In a move that reflects the team’s belief in his abilities, Kevin Bahl’s contract extension provides stability for both player and franchise. The two-year deal is structured as follows: he will earn $900,000 for the 2023-24 season and $1,200,000 for the 2024-25 season. This commitment to the young defenseman indicates the Devils’ confidence in his continued development and potential to become an integral part of their defensive core.
Stellar Performance in The 2022-23 NHL Season
The 2022-23 NHL season proved to be a breakthrough year for Kevin Bahl as he showcased his skills and potential on the ice. Playing in a career-high 42 games, Bahl demonstrated his increasing importance within the team’s lineup. Standing at an imposing 6-foot-6 and weighing 230 pounds, he used his size and physicality to make a significant impact on both ends of the ice.
Bahl’s offensive contributions were a pleasant surprise, as he recorded a career-high eight points, consisting of two goals and six assists. This offensive output added a new dimension to his game and earned him recognition as a player capable of contributing in multiple aspects of play.
While excelling in the offensive zone, Bahl also proved to be a formidable force in the defensive end. He accumulated 35 penalty minutes, showcasing his willingness to stand up for his teammates and play a physical brand of hockey. Notably, Bahl’s 6.52 hits per 60 minutes ranked second among all New Jersey defensemen who played more than 10 games during the 2022-23 regular season, highlighting his ability to make his presence felt on the ice.
During the season, Bahl reached several notable milestones. He earned his first career fighting major when he engaged in a spirited bout with Boston forward Trent Frederic on December 28, 2022. This display of grit and toughness further endeared him to the Devils’ faithful and earned him respect from his teammates.
Playoff Debut and Performance
Bahl’s stellar performance during the regular season earned him the opportunity to make his post season debut in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The young defenseman did not disappoint, showcasing his readiness for high-stakes games.
He played a consistent role in the playoffs, appearing in 11 out of the 12 playoff contests. This significant ice time during crucial moments demonstrated the coaching staff’s confidence in Bahl’s abilities and potential impact on the team’s success.
Notably, Bahl continued to display his physicality during the playoffs and recorded his first career postseason fighting major in Game 5 against the New York Rangers, where he engaged in a spirited fight with forward Barclay Goodrow. This willingness to step up and play with intensity in the postseason bodes well for his future as a key contributor to the Devils’ defensive efforts.
Development and Journey to the NHL
Kevin Bahl’s journey to the NHL is a testament to his determination and skill as a defenseman. Born on June 27, 2000, in New Westminster, British Columbia, his hockey journey began to take shape during his time in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Ottawa 67’s. From 2016-17 to 2019-20, Bahl showcased his defensive prowess and earned recognition as one of the league’s standout blueliners.
His performance with the Ottawa 67’s caught the attention of NHL scouts, leading to his selection by the Arizona Coyotes in the second round, 55th overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft. However, fate had other plans for Bahl, as he was later acquired by the New Jersey Devils in a trade that saw Taylor Hall head to Arizona on December 16, 2019.
Bahl’s transition to the Devils’ organization was an opportunity for him to grow further as a player. He made his long-awaited NHL debut with New Jersey on April 29, 2021, against the Philadelphia Flyers. Since then, he has shown steady improvement, honing his skills in both the NHL and the American Hockey League (AHL).
Before earning his spot in the NHL, Bahl gained valuable experience during his time with New Jersey’s AHL affiliates, Binghamton and Utica. From 2020-21 to 2022-23, he played in 84 regular-season AHL games, refining his abilities and preparing for his eventual role in the Devils’ defensive unit.
The 2022-23 NHL season marked a pivotal point in Bahl’s career, as he not only secured a regular spot in the Devils’ lineup but also demonstrated significant growth as a player. His impressive performance during the season earned him the opportunity to represent the Devils in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In addition to his achievements in North America, Bahl had the honor of representing his home country, Canada, in international play. He participated in the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) 2018 U18 World Junior Championship, showcasing his abilities on the world stage at a young age. Bahl’s talent and contributions were further highlighted when he helped Canada capture a Gold Medal at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
With each step in his journey, Kevin Bahl has continued to develop into a formidable defenseman. His combination of size, physicality, defensive acumen, and recent offensive growth make him an exciting prospect for the New Jersey Devils. As he continues to refine his game and gain experience at the NHL level, the future looks bright for Bahl as a key piece in the Devils’ pursuit of success.
The New Jersey Devils’ decision to re-sign Kevin Bahl is a testament to his growth and potential as a defenseman. With a promising two-year contract extension, Bahl’s presence on the team is secure, and his career trajectory is on an upward path. Having played a career-high 42 games in the 2022-23 season, Bahl’s performance has demonstrated his ability to make an impact on the ice. As he continues to develop and gain valuable experience, the young blueliner is poised to become an integral part of the Devils’ defensive core and contribute to the team’s success in the seasons to come.