Ondrej Palat played 20:42 over 27 shifts against the Washington Capitals on October 24. However, Palat would be out of the lineup the next night in Detroit on October 25. He was ruled out and placed on injured reserve - retroactive to the 24th - by the weekend. ndreas Johnsson was called up to fill out the 23-man active roster. Palat was set to be evaluated on Monday, October 31, as he was ruled out from the road trip the Devils will begin tonight in Vancouver. This afternoon, the New Jersey Devils announced the news about Palat: He had a groin injury serious enough to warrant surgery - which was successfully performed this morning.
That Palat’s surgery was successful is good news. But the larger, more unfortunate news is that Palat had a groin injury and it was serious enough to warrant surgery. Per the Devils’ brief announcement, there is no timeline for a return for Palat. Amanda Stein asked Lindy Ruff about the lack of a timeline. Ruff responded that will depend on a post-surgery evaluation Palat will have a in a few days. Maybe this is a shorter recovery than anticipated. Maybe this is week-to-week. Maybe it will be longer. We do not know. Hence, he is out indefinitely. Perhaps later this week, we will have a more concrete timeline.
One thing we can rule out is whether this had anything to do with Palat’s past. Groin injuries can be repeated. Given that Palat is 31 and injured just five games into a six-season contract, it is something to be concerned about. However, Stein did get confirmation from Ruff that this injury had nothing to do with anything he had from his time playing in Tampa Bay. I can appreciate that clarification from the team. Palat did play a lot of extra games with Tampa Bay given all of the Lightning’s playoff success of the last three seasons. That this is not related to any of that provides a little comfort. Still, the concern will remain going forward based on how long Palat is expected to be out for and whether he is at risk of re-injuring his groin.
Jared is going to have more tomorrow about Palat’s role on the team, so I am not going to steal his thunder. I will say that it is a significant loss for the forwards. So far, the Devils have been more than fine at attacking without him. As the season picks up in frequency and difficulty, Palat will likely be missed regardless.
From a cap perspective, do not be surprised if Palat ends up on long term injured reserve (LTIR) sooner rather than later. The team may need a timeline first before doing so. But with Jonathan Bernier traveling with the team on the road as well as participating in a practice last week, he could be closer to returning. A player cannot just stay on LTIR if they are able to perform and signs are pointing towards Bernier being capable in the near future. A return would otherwise create a cap issue as the Devils have been compliant with Bernier’s $4.125 million cap hit on LTIR. Palat’s $6 million (or technically $5+ million) going to LTIR erases that concern from a cap-perspective. There would still be the issue of having three active goalies, but that is a different topic for a different day.
Still, I and everyone else at AAtJ hope for the best for Palat in his recovery. What is your reaction to this news? How will the Devils manage without Palat for some period of time? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Palat’s injury in the comments. Thank you for reading.