The New Jersey Devils have yet to win a game in December (5 game losing streak). Despite GM Lou Lamoriello's comments from a few days ago (here is John's opinion on the matter), the Devils did make a move today: they placed winger Brian Rolston on waivers. Here is Kevin's initial opinion on the Rolston move.
There is some injury news, and good news for that matter, that has happened during the week as the Devils prepare to host the Phoenix Coyotes later tonight. The long list of the Devils' injuries that started in late October has been continually depleting. You can officially count the number on one hand now.
This is an overview of the current injuries on the team; the list after the jump.
Bryce Salvador - Head/Concussion - Salvador was hit a couple times in a preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was sent for tests, and it was determined he suffered a concussion and will be out indefinitely. This initially helped the Devils solve their cap issues when he was put on LTIR. On Nov. 16th, Salvador was spotted at The Rock, yet told Gulitti he's still not even allowed to exercise, but that has changed recently. Salvador has started to work out on a stationary bike. This is the only physical action he can do for the time being. This is a big step for Salvador, who is still a long ways from returning. Until his symptoms fully dissipate, we won't be seeing him. I wouldn't expect him in a game until mid-January or even February.
Zach Parise - Torn Right Knee - Parise tore his meniscus in his right knee when he collided with a player against the Los Angeles Kings. It's been an ailing injury that began hurting him in training camp. He's been placed on LTIR on Nov. 12th retroactive to Oct. 30th. He had surgery on Nov. 2nd. His timetable of 3 months hasn't changed and he is expected back early February. His knee brace has been removed and he will begin "motion" which is most likely light rehabilitation. Everything is on schedule and looks good for Parise's return in February. By the way, there still hasn't been any talks regarding his contract for next season; he's a Restricted Free Agent after the season.
Jacob Josefson - Torn Left Thumb - Josefson tore a ligament in his left hand against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 27th. He was slashed on the hand and then fell on it, though it can not be determined what actually caused the tear. He's scheduled to miss 6 to 8 weeks, which would be around the new year. He was spotted at the Rock with Parise in the team suite, perhaps taking a nap? Per Gulitti, Josefson had his cast and pins removed and will start therapy. Josefson has started skating. Figuring this is the middle of the month, another two weeks of skating then practicing sounds reasonable, thus his timetable remains unchanged.
Matt Taormina - Sprained Left Ankle - The rookie defenseman twisted his ankle in practice on Nov. 14th. He's been out since, and hasn't skated. Per Gulitti, he's been placed on injured reserve retroactive to his last game played (Nov. 12th vs. the Edmonton Oilers). Lamoriello confirmed it's a high ankle sprain and was waiting for clearance from the doctors to begin skating. Per Tom Gulitti, he started skating last week, took a few days off, then went back to ice.
Mark Fraser - Broken Left Hand - Fraser suffered his injury against Buffalo on Oct. 13th, and the next day he found out he broke his hand, would need surgery to insert a pin, and would wear a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. Fraser had to stay off the ice and couldn't work out for a period of time because he couldn't sweat (because of the pin and cast). Fraser joined Salvador on the bike and is on schedule (8 weeks). His cast was removed over a week ago and wears a temporary one when he is not exercising. He has been skating on his own for a week or so, and is awaiting clearance from the doctor to begin practicing.
Anssi Salmela - Torn Right Knee - This was an off-season ACL injury that was reported in September that he was months behind. That turns out to be shorter than expected. He began skating in late October. His first full practice was Nov. 11th. He's expecting to be back in December, which is a little ahead of schedule. He's wants to be careful before getting into a game to risk further injury. Anssi was to see a doctor last week, who may clear him to play. He's still waiting clearance and he will most likely play a game in Albany before returning to New Jersey. Salmela was sent to Albany for a conditioning stint. He returned from his assignment after playing two games, and per both Lamoriello and Maclean, he will play in tonight's game against the Coyotes.
Salmela will make his glorified return from his knew injury tonight. He's not going to be the silver lining but it will bolster a defense half full of inexperienced players. For anyone unfamiliar with Salmela, here is his Scouting Report from SB Nation Atlanta (yes, Atlanta..for some reason):
- Is extremely mobile, can handle the puck well and also produce from the back end. Has pretty good size.
- Must improve his ability to defend opposing forwards in front of the net. Lacks offensive consistency.
- Offensive depth defenseman.
He may not help a whole lot defensively but he does have the potential to be good at the blue on. With the Devils offensive struggles, especially from the defense, Salmela can help this team once he forms from comfortableness in a NHL game.
Fraser, Taormina, and Josefson are all skating and will hopefully be back by or around the new year. Fraser is the only Devils of this group to have played last year.
Express your concern about the injuries in the comments. Who should be sent down when Fraser and Salmela eventual return? What should the new lines/pairings look like? Who do the Devils need the most that is expected back soon? Thanks for reading.