The New Jersey Devils have announced that 20-year old defenseman Kevin Bahl will make his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers. The 6’6″, 230-pound defender was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2018. He went in round 2 and was the 55th overall selection as a left-handed shooting defenseman. Bahl was acquired by New Jersey as a piece in the Taylor Hall trade in 2019. He is from New West Minster, Canada, and was born on June 27th in 2000.
Before The NHL
Firstly, Bahl began his hockey career on the Toronto Marlboros U-15 AAA. At 16 years old, Bahl began playing in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s. He played a total of 237 games and scored 14 goals and 73 assists for 87 points. Bahl also competed for Canada in world tournaments. He has played 17 games for Canada and totaled 5 points. Finally, Bahl has been playing for the Binghamton Devils in the AHL. He has played 26 games and has scored 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points. Bahl’s point totals do not jump off of the page, however, the big defenseman fills a vital need for the Devils…
What To Expect Ahead Of His Debut
Kevin Bahl is the type of defenseman that the Devils need. From Damon Severson to Ty Smith to P.K. Subban, the Devils have a surplus of offensive-minded defensemen. It is the common theme in today’s NHL to have your blueline rack up points for you. However, a big, stay-at-home defenseman who is good at defending is a rare and valuable piece. Bahl’s massive stature makes his reach a major benefit of his play. It is hard for players to get around him and get the puck from him. Head coach Lindy Ruff stated that Bahl is, “A big man who can skate, move the puck. His reach and range is something a smaller man doesn’t have.”
Moreover, the debut for Bahl is to slowly ease him into the NHL. Defensemen are known to need more developmental time because of the toughness of their jobs. Defending the best offensive hockey players in the world is a hard task. Bahl’s scouting reports have mentioned he is improving but needs more work to be a full-time NHLer. He will go into the line-up in place of Matt Tennyson.
Kevin Bahl is a defenseman that people are not used to seeing on the Devils. He skates incredibly well for his size and can lock down areas that are needed. But, he is just 20 years old and will need time to adjust to the skill and speed of the NHL. Though the adjustment period takes time, there is no doubt in scout’s minds that Bahl will be a full-time NHLer and a great piece for the Devils back end. Congratulations to Kevin Bahl on his NHL debut!