The last of New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald’s internal summer work is complete. On Monday, New Jersey announced they inked defenseman Kevin Bahl to a two-year contract extension. The 23-year-old defenseman’s contract carries a $1.05 million average annual value.
In the second half of the 2022-23 season, Bahl began to establish himself as a reliable third-pairing defenseman. In a career-high 42 games, Bahl totaled two goals and six assists for eight points. The 6-foot-6, 230 lb defenseman carved out his role as a big-body, defensive defenseman that found success limiting his opponents’ opportunities.
Bahl made his postseason debut in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He played in 11 out of 12 games tallying an assist and 31 penalty minutes while averaging 13:31 TOI.
Despite coming on a little earlier in the season, it wasn’t until mid-March when Bahl admitted he finally felt comfortable as a full-time NHLer.
“It was maybe around that Florida trip,” Bahl said explaining when he felt he had figured out how to be successful in the NHL. “We had a couple of games there. I think I was out for the Florida one, but after (one of the) Tampa games, I said ‘I can do it with the best.’ I remember saying to myself, ‘(Tampa Bay) is one of the best teams in the league, they won multiple cups.’ So, for me to be competing with that team, I thought I had a good game that one and I was like, ‘You know what I can really do this.'”
Bahl has yet to play a full NHL season. In 66 career games, all with New Jersey, Bahl totaled three goals and 11 points. The young, left-shot defenseman goes into the 2023-24 season aiming to play in his first full NHL season.
Bahl was the last remaining restricted free-agent Fitzgerald needed to get sorted out under contract. Now that the left-shot defenseman is under contract, New Jersey has 23 out of 23 contracts on the roster. New Jersey’s projected cap space is now $1,919,167, according to CapFriendly.
Follow us on 𝕏:
And on Threads: