The New Jersey Devils announced on Wednesday that the franchise havs signed second-round pick Nathan Bastian to an entry-level contract.
The 18-year-old right-winger is currently in the midst of his third season with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL. Bastian has already netted four goals and six assists through the season’s first six games. He racked up five of those assists in one game alone against the Guelph Storm.
Bastian spent some time in training camp and the preseason with the Devils before the team reassigned him to Mississauga on October 1. In 64 games for the Steelheads last season, he racked up 59 points (19 goals, 40 assists) and earned the right to play in the CHL Top Prospects Game. Bastian’s Steelheads teammate Michael McLeod, who was drafted by the Devils 12th overall in the same draft, also appeared in the game.
Bastian, who was taken with the 41st overall pick, signed a three-year deal with New Jersey.
The Devils have fallen on tough times since losing in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Los Angeles Kings back in 2012. They have missed the postseason in each of the last four years and their 38-36-8 finish last year was the second-worst mark in the Metropolitan Division.
New Jersey is off to a 1-1-1 start to the 2016-2017 campaign, though the five goals they have scored through those first three games is the lowest mark in the league. The team acquired former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers during the offseason in an attempt to boost the offense that also finished last in goals per game (2.22) in the NHL last season. Hall scored his first two goals of the season in the Devils’ win on Tuesday over the Anaheim Ducks.