James Nichols, New Jersey Devils reporter for The Fourth Period, joined Daily face-to-face live Thursday to discuss the Devils’ season and John Marino’s major contribution to the blue line since his acquisition from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nichols also talks about the evolution of Kevin Bahl and how the monster defender has been solid on the blue line for the Devils as well.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’m looking at that blue line, and we all know who Dougie Hamilton is, he’s legit, but you said that, that blue line is tied with Rangers and at the start of the year that would have surprised a lot of people . What was the biggest surprise for you on the Devils blue line that allowed them to have this success?
James Nichols: Yeah, I think most people would say, including myself but John Marino’s evolution or revelation. Just because the Devils got him for pennies, they sent Ty Smith and a draft pick to the Penguins. It was surprising at the time of the trade that the Penguins would drop a player with the term. But I would say that Marino helped stabilize that blue line a bit; he played very well in tandem with Ryan Graves. As a duo, I just think they were one of the best, if not the best, duo for the Devils.
James Nichols: More recently, Kevin Bahl turned it on, and Bahl’s evolution has also been very good. That bold for that physical aspect that we talked about a little earlier, because he’s the tallest player on this team at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, maybe more than that. The evolution of Kevin Bahl and the acquisition of Marino have been very good for this team. Now that they have Luke Hughes in the mix, we’ll see how much he plays, but that’s a luxury they have for their seventh defender right now.