No one expected for New Jersey star and 2017-18 Hart Trophy winner to miss as much time as he did last season. The Devils’ forward didn’t play another game after Christmas due to a knee injury and then in February underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that helped keep him out for the rest of the year.
However, NHL.com reports that Hall now says he’s fully healthy and will be ready for training camp.
“I feel really good,” Hall said. “It’s been a long process not playing a game for that long. It really takes a toll on you mentally but being back on the ice and being able to play at a at a pretty high intensity, even though it’s just the summer, feels really nice. I haven’t had any issues with the knee so far since I’ve been skating, and it’s been a really good process, so hopefully that can continue in [training] camp.”
Despite than missing more than half a season (33 games total), he still was on pace for a big season with 11 goals and 37 points and the 27-year-old is hoping to return to his 2017-18 success when he tallied 39 goals and 92 points and helped, practically single-handedly, lead the Devils to a playoff berth. He will have much more help this season as New Jersey have added first-overall pick Jack Hughes to the team as well as star defenseman P.K. Subban and KHL star Nikita Gusev.
- The Philadelphia Flyers were able to sign second-line center Kevin Hayes this offseason, but there were many who wondered whether Hayes would choose to sign with Philadelphia after the team hired head coach Alain Vigneault this summer. Vigneault, who coached Hayes with the Rangers, was known to limit Hayes’ playing time on the power play. However, Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi writes that Hayes said that Vigneault was one of the main reasons why he signed in Philadelphia. “I had a great relationship with AV,” said Hayes. “Obviously as a player, you want to play the most minutes and you want to play in every situation. But when I entered the league, you have to prove yourself, and I thought every year with AV, I got more and more ice time and more and more situational play. We had a fine relationship, to be honest, off the ice and on the ice.”
- Newsday’s Andrew Gross writes that New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss said he doesn’t know how much playing time he will get this year as the backup behind recently signed Semyon Varlamov. “I have no clue what happens,” Greiss said when asked whether he expected to split time with Varlamov. “It depends what’s happening on the ice. If you play well, you’ll get the ice time. If you don’t play well, then we’ll see you on the bench.” Despite quite a bit of attention that was geared towards Robin Lehner last year, Greiss had an impressive season as well. He played 43 games with a 2.28 GAA and a .927 save percentage, but only made one appearance in the playoffs. Varlamov was signed to a four-year, $20MM deal and will likely be expected to carry the load. However, with Varlamov’s injury history, Greiss might get plenty of playing time.