The New Jersey Devils will be without their big offseason signing for the foreseeable future, announcing today that Ondrej Palat has undergone successful groin surgery. Palat is expected to make a full recovery, but his recovery timeline has yet to be determined.
It’s tough news for the Devils, who after a brutal start have started to turn into a contender in the Metropolitan Division. Palat had been part of that, with three goals in his first six games with New Jersey, but so has Fabian Zetterlund, who has been given a bigger opportunity with the veteran sidelined.
Hopefully, Palat will be able to return at some point and bring his Stanley Cup experience to the table once again. The scariest part of any free agent contract is usually the fact that it’s going to an older player, and the five-year $30MM deal for Palat is no different.
He has dealt with plenty of injury issues in the past, failing to play in 80 games since his rookie season. Still, the Devils got him more for his postseason experience than anything else, so perhaps he’ll still be able to make the impact they hoped for down the road.
For now, the young group will have to look elsewhere for their veteran presence.