Today, the New Jersey Devils made a number of roster moves that is worth noting. Let’s jump into it.
New Jersey has placed F Beau Bennett (right leg laceration) on injured reserve, retroactive to November 28. pic.twitter.com/nSJ6uDnJaf— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 30, 2016
First, the team announced the Devils have put Beau Bennett on injured reserve due to a right leg laceration. He is on IR retroactive to November 28, which was when he suffered the injury. This is unfortunate news. Bennett may not have been much of a scorer - he scored his first goal of the season last week - but he has been a solid winger in the run of play. He also played in 20 games already this season. That’s nothing to scoff at since he has never played more than 49 NHL games in his career so far. He’s been unlucky when it comes to injuries. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury in practice and so he’s on the shelf. As I understand it, being placed on IR retroactive to November 28 means that the earliest he can be activated would be on Monday, December 5. He will miss tomorrow’s game against Chicago and Saturday’s matinee in Nashville at a minimum. Here’s hoping he’s back by the Vancouver game on December 6 and that he is lucky enough to stay active for most of the rest of the season.
In addition, the club has recalled F John Quenneville from Albany (AHL). He will join the team in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/iB1bWmWCeF— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 30, 2016
Second, after announcing Bennett is on injured reserve, the team announced that they called up John Quenneville from Albany. With Bennett being out for Jets game and having not traveled to Winnipeg, the Devils called up Miles Wood for Tuesday’s game. Now that Bennett is on IR, the Devils had a spot open on their active roster and clearly wanted to fill it. Quenneville is the latest call up from the A-Devs to get a chance this season.
I’m not surprised that Quenneville is getting this opportunity. He has been Albany’s leader in goals (7), points (17), and shots (55) in 19 games played. While this is his first professional hockey season, that kind of production from a 20-year old does not get ignored by the parent club for long. Brian had a tough choice between him and Wood for his A-Devil of the Week selection in Tuesday’s prospect post. He now looks good for considering both as they were good enough to be moved up to New Jersey for the time being.
However, Quenneville may not get a chance to play on Thursday. According to Andrew Gross at NorthJersey.com earlier today, Taylor Hall is hopeful to play in Chicago. Hall returned to practice with the team on Monday and he has traveled with them. Here is what he had to say:
“I think I’m ready to go,” Hall told The Record. “With injuries, you want to get to 100 percent before you come back, but you never know if you’re actually 100 percent until you play in a game and you feel that pace and that speed. I think I’m ready for that.”
This is definitely news for most Devils fans to get excited about. The team’s most talented forward has recovered sooner than expected from arthroscopic knee surgery and he thinks he can play as soon as tomorrow. Per Gross’ article, that decision will come after the morning skate.
If that decision is that he’s good to go for Chicago, then the Devils have to do a little more work. Hall is still on IR along with Bennett. The Devils are now carrying 23 skaters. To activate Hall, someone has to be moved off the roster. According to CapFriendly, there are four Devils who are waiver-exempt and can go immediately back lbany. (Aside: Zacha is listed as one even though his options are either juniors or stay in the NHL. Auvitu somehow is listed as being exempt, but he’s played a game this season so he’s not?) Those four are Damon Severson, Nick Lappin, Wood, and Quenneville. Severson is as safe as safe can be and Lappin as entrenched himself as a regular fourth liner on the team. Since Wood had such a strong game in Winnipeg, I would think Quenneville may be sent back sooner than expected.
Of course, if Hall is not activated for Thursday’s game, then no one has to move. And then we’ll see whether Quenneville will make his NHL debut against Chicago, who is coached by his second cousin, Joel Quenneville. The Devils can then make a roster move after the Chicago game as they see fit.
But you know who suffers in all of this? Reid Boucher. Boucher has been a healthy scratch in the team’s last three games. When Bennett was ruled out due to his leg laceration, Boucher remained on the outside. Instead of moving him into the lineup, the team called up Miles Wood and the coaches put him in the game. Wood made the most of his opportunity; he flew around the rink as fast as he could, he used his speed to generate offense, he drew a penalty and a penalty shot, and - most of all - he scored a goal. Now with Bennett ruled to be out for the week, the team chose to call up Quenneville instead of keeping Boucher as the lone spare. As a spare forward, you work in practices, off the ice, and so forth to be ready when an opportunity comes. Clearly, the Devils would rather give others a chance than to give Boucher another one. But I cannot blame the team as A) Boucher has had plenty of opportunities in nine appearances this season and B) Wood took his chance and ran with it and so there’s reason to think Quenneville might do the same.
What’s your reaction to all of this roster-related news? Do you like Quenneville being called up? How excited are you, if any, at the possibility of Hall returning as soon as tomorrow? What can Boucher do, if anything, to get back into games? Please leave your answers in the comments. Thank you for reading.