As the trade deadline inches closer, rumors will continue to swirl about which players might be moved on or before March 21. In the spirit of one of the most hectic days in the hockey calendar, I have put together a mini-series breaking down players the New Jersey Devils could move and what contending teams should expect from these players. To kick things off, here’s a look at veteran defenseman Damon Severson.
Severson’s Long Tenure With Devils
Severson has been part of New Jersey’s blue line since the 2014-15 season, meaning he played with Marek Zidlicky, Scott Gomez, and Dainius Zubrus, and when he began his NHL career in New Jersey, Lou Lamoriello was still the general manager. He’s played for six head coaches, including two months of playing for Peter DeBoer. The 6-foot-2 defenseman was selected 60th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft and has been with the team through their recent rebuild.
Severson has shared the Prudential Center ice with legends like Jaromir Jagr and watched teammates like Damien Brunner and Sergey Kalinin come and go. He has seen it all as the most tenured player on the Devils’ roster.
What Severson Brings
For the past few seasons, Severson has received more than his share of criticism. He never seems to get credit when it is due but will be raked over the coals for the smallest mistake. Whether fans choose to admit it or not, Severson has been a crucial member of his team. The Manitoba native has averaged more ice time than any other skater on the Devils, averaging around 23:30 of ice time. He plays in all situations and has successfully replaced Dougie Hamilton as the quarterback of the power play, notching 11 points on the man advantage, which is second on the team behind Jesper Bratt.
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The defenseman is also known to participate in the shootout, and on Nov. 6, he scored the game-deciding goal against the San Jose Sharks. Severson has 31 points in 52 games, the most among Devils defensemen. He has an ability to make great stretch passes and last night, earned the primary assist on Nico Hischier’s 15th goal of the season.
His defensive zone coverage has brought him the most criticism, but is it warranted? His 63 blocks are third-best on the team, and he has a knack for doing the little things that may go unnoticed by those not paying attention to detail. As a top defender, he faces the Connor McDavids and Nathan MacKinnons, and defending players of that caliber is no easy task; it comes down to the simple things, like moving the puck up ice and playing the corners. He faces criticism for not making the right decision, and yes, everyone will make a mistake, but his few mistakes seem to be blown out of proportion, and it takes away from what he brings to the ice every night.
Severson’s Leadership Off the Ice
The two Devils who meet with the media the most after a loss are Severson and team captain Nico Hischier. What is noticeable about the 6-foot-2 defenseman is his honesty when he steps up to the podium. Over the past few months, he has held himself and his teammates accountable for mistakes and poor play. He never offers an excuse and always seems to carry himself as a leader.
He was named an alternate captain during the 2020-21 season. During the Devils’ media day in September, Severson explained that he enjoys being the guy that other players come to with questions, whether it’s where to live off the ice or anything about the organization. He would be a welcome addition to any NHL locker room for what he can offer not only on the ice but off of it as well.
Severson Worth Taking a Chance On
Severson is in the middle of his eighth NHL season and, at 27 years old, could provide veteran leadership and depth to any blue line. He is under contract until the 2022-23 season with an annual cap hit of $4.1 million, which is not a big commitment for a team looking to improve their defense and make a run for the Stanley Cup. On the ice, he could be a good fit for the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs, or Calgary Flames. He may not be a Roman Josi or Cale Makar, but he has developed into a reliable blueliner who has the ability to be a difference-maker for his team.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.