We continue to revel for a moment in what has been a difficult time in our current lives with the Corona virus that has been a front and center concern. I’m going to begin where I left off with the Binghamton Devils’ profile series, which included some questions for members of the Panel. Please be safe as we are all in this together.
In turning back the clock a month or so, the Binghamton Devils were on a roll. And a rather big one. The BDevils just completed their seventh consecutive victory with a 5-2 win in a mid-week contest in Rochester as forward Egor Sharangovich earned 1st Star honors with a pair of goals and an assist. Marian Studenic had also contributed with a goal and assist while newcomer goalie Zane McIntyre stopped 31 of 33 Amerks’ shots for his fourth consecutive victory for the BDevils.
Then before we knew it, play had stopped with the COVID-19 outbreak overtaking the world.
This is the fourth in a series regarding player profiles with the assistance of The Panel. The first can be found regarding defenseman Josh Jacobs, then goaltender Gilles Senn and recently rookie forward Mikhail Maltsev.
Part of that surge falls on the shoulders of forward Nathan Bastian. Bastian has been a staple for the Binghamton Devils over the last two years and on a path of a point per game production before the current pause.
Bastian is listed at 6’ 4”, 205 lbs., and is amongst the tallest players for the Binghamton Devils while entering in his final season of a three-year deal signed in 2018. In 62 games for Binghamton, he recorded 16 goals and 22 assists in what has been considered a breakout-year for the recently turned 22-year-old forward.
The Kitchener, ONT native was drafted in the second round, and 41st overall by New Jersey in 2016 and is no stranger in getting dirty in the corner areas.
Our own Panel member Chris Wassel had this to share involving what was the 3rd Quarter Results grades that maintained a consistent pace of 83, 83, 84 during his evaluations;
“The odd thing is that Bastian quietly develops into a nice middle-six forward for Binghamton. Also, he can easily play in the top-six and not look out of place. His consistency throughout the season has been welcome. Bastian tallied ten points in 18 games for the second quarter in a row. He is up to 12 goals on the season and is on pace for 18. The nice thing is Bastian could end up with 40-45 points which would be well above his 24 point career-high. Again, the forward continues to work which is something McLeod could learn from.”
I digged deeper with
5, 6 questions for @ChrisWasselDFS of the Panel concerning Bastian’s recent performance this season;
You follow Nathan Bastian for the Panel Quarterly Reports and has emerged as one of the team leaders for the BDevils this season, encouraging I’m sure. At the tender age of 22, what would be your message to him as he enters into his final year of his contract?
It is fascinating to see how Bastian has improved and done everything the coaching staff has asked him. Whether it was working on skating technique, defense, or even net-front presence, Bastian has made huge strides and the production shows.
In his third full season with Binghamton, Bastian started to put the offense and defense together and began to lead by example. The message for a player like Bastian is simple. Keep improving in all phases and do not get complacent. Regression can be an ugly thing and often surfaces unexpectedly.
Do you see Nathan in New Jersey next season, or will he need additional time in Binghamton, or possibly moved to another organization as an option?
The argument for some that follow Binghamton was this. Bastian was likely ready for a callup before the pause. It is one of those confounding questions where New Jersey needs to see what they have in certain players – like a Michael McLeod.
Bastian must have a stronger training camp whenever camp starts in New Jersey. He showed some flashes in the last two camps but must be more consistent. Can he show a few of those “wow” moments like the short-handed goal during the last Binghamton game before the pause? If he does, he may see time in New Jersey very quickly next season.
You also noted during the third quarter reports about Bastian with a possible hidden message... “The nice thing is Bastian could end up with 40-45 points which would be well above his 24 point career-high. Again, the forward continues to work which is something McLeod could learn from.” If we can pivot for a moment towards Michael McLeod, what exactly are your thoughts on his buddy McLeod and his future with the Devils?
Something happened with McLeod where one wonders if the old system affected him in some irreversible ways. The center still has the speed, but the 22-year-old seemed so concerned with defense that he has all but abandoned the offensive side of things.
There have been scoring chances but consider McLeod between New Jersey and Binghamton amassed just eight goals in 59 games in 2019-20. That number was six in 76 contests in 2018-19. It indicates a little bit of improvement but not that significant breakthrough.
McLeod has one more year, err chance, to show New Jersey he should be re-signed beyond the 2020-21 campaign. The forward can look to Bastian who battles for everything and has developed a shot from distance and near the net. That is the kind of tenacity needed from McLeod going forward.
Bastian has had some solid numbers this season to back up his recent success at the AHL level yet wasn’t on the list of call-ups for the parent club. Why is that do you think?
This had been mentioned a few times that New Jersey wanted to look at other players besides Bastian. The Devils saw what they have in him but wanted to showcase players like McLeod. If the regular season had proceeded onward, Bastian might have seen an April callup.
Expect Bastian to see ice time in New Jersey early in 2020-21, especially if a new coach is in place. That would be his fastest road to the parent club as it seems Alain Nasreddine feels Bastian is not quite ready for the NHL. There is an agree to disagree vibe from those in the Binghamton community on the right-winger.
There is a plethora of forward depth for the Devils Organization as we stand, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but are you concerned about Bastian falling within the cracks?
Bastian does a lot of things well and has shown an ability to pot 15-20 goals at the AHL level. His ice time has increased, and his goal scoring came on at just the right time. This was all as Binghamton went on their run to a playoff spot.
The fact that he can play offensively in all situations and kill some penalties as well bodes nicely for his future. Most often forget how big Bastian is. He is 6 foot 4 and nearly 210 pounds of solid muscle. The forward throwing his weight around is not the issue it once was when he first came up with Binghamton. He will not fall through the cracks
Your involvement with DobberProspects, Bang The Book, Fantasy Hockey X, Featurd, MY NHL TRADE RUMORS, including The Panel all currently on pause, what keeps Chris occupied these days during the COVID-19 era we are all experiencing?
It was surreal to see sports just taken down one by one. For a brief bit, there was some golf, Australian Rules Football, and even La Liga soccer. Now, it is what feels like beer league Russian hockey, Belarus soccer, and yes ping pong. There is that at least.
For now, it is covering the virtual NHL while looking back at some prospects. The pause gives time to examine the season that was and allows a look ahead at what is to come.
From a betting standpoint, we wait on the first sport that will hopefully return. Until then, it is much ado about nothing. When it comes to sports, the reality is there are far more important things now. Living one day at a time means hopefully one day closer to a time where sports returns.
In the meantime, now it is writing about food, fitness, a little hockey and sports along with working on the house.
Thanks, Chris for engaging your efforts for this and good luck with those projects you mentioned while we play the waiting game for hockey to return amongst all of us!