New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton isn’t returning to the ice for the team’s Super Bowl Sunday matchup against Pittsburgh, but Devils team reporter Amanda Stein says he’s getting closer to returning to the lineup from a jaw injury that’s kept him out of the lineup since the beginning of January. Hamilton has been practicing with the team but is still getting comfortable with the helmet protection required for him to safely play as his jaw continues to recover. New Jersey has won just four out of 15 games with Hamilton out of the lineup. They undoubtedly miss his production and play-driving ability from the back end.
Some more injury notes from around the NHL:
- Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill says forward Vladislav Namestnikov is questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Minnesota Wild, meaning that brothers Givani Smith and Gemel Smith could both draw in and play their first game together in the NHL. Defenseman Nick Leddy is also probable to return after sitting out with an upper-body injury for the past two weeks. Namestnikov has provided good value this season on his $2MM cap hit, proving to be an important depth piece for Detroit with 13 goals, 10 assists, and 23 points in 49 games. Detroit has played Gemel Smith in just one game since claiming him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning almost a month ago.
- Per PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan, Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong says that young center Barrett Hayton could return to the team’s lineup this coming week, potentially as soon as February 19th against the Los Angeles Kings. Hayton, selected fifth overall in 2018, had six points in 26 games this season prior to suffering a hand injury in early January. He’d been getting chances in a top-six role prior to the injury, something that’s likely to continue with his return.