The New Jersey Devils have been one of this season’s biggest early surprises, currently tied for first in the tough Metropolitan Division in which they finished last in 2016-17. However, things are about to get a bit more difficult. The team has survived the absences of Marcus Johansson and Travis Zajac for stretches of time, but now they’ll have to make due without last season’s team-leading goal scorer. The team announced this morning that Kyle Palmieri will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken foot.
Ironically, the team also played through a short-term loss of Palmieri this season due to none other than a foot injury. While his right foot is the one currently broken, it was his left foot that was injured last month and cost him six games. However, even the low end of his potential recovering time would cause him to miss far more than just six games.
The team reports that Palmieri suffered the injury while blocking a shot in the team’s 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Monday night. Yet, Palmieri returned to that game and played through the extra time needed to get the win. Not only is Palmieri a valued scorer, he is also a tough, well-rounded two-way player. While the Devils have been surging, they struggle to shoot enough and haven’t been getting enough defensive effort from the forward corps. The loss of Palmieri will surely be felt in both of these departments.