Erik Haula and Curtis Lazar will both be available for tomorrow’s game for the New Jersey Devils according to Amanda Stein, the team’s lead reporter. Furthermore, she adds that forward Michael McLeod will not be available yet, but head coach Lindy Ruff is hoping he will practice with the team soon.
Haula has not played for the Devils since their April 6th win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but will now be available for New Jersey come playoff time. Since being acquired from the Boston Bruins this past offseason, Haula has chipped in nicely for the Devils, scoring 12 goals and 27 assists so far this year. That is a pretty typical year for Haula, as he has become one of the most dependable players in the NHL over the course of his decade-long career.
Lazar, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline, has only managed three games in New Jersey, getting injured on their March 18th game against the Florida Panthers. Being out for almost a month, it is unclear whether or not Lazar will be a part of the Devils’ regular playoff lineup. In 48 games so far this year, a majority of which in Vancouver, Lazar has three goals and two assists.
Similar to Haula, McLeod has been out of the Devils’ lineup for a little under a week. The young forward is continuing to progress throughout his short career, setting a new career-high in points this year with 26. Originally drafted 12th overall by New Jersey in the 2016 NHL Draft, McLeod has yet to break out into the league in accordance with his draft selection. Although he is not a world-breaker when it comes to scoring, he has become one of the Devils’ most physical forwards, throwing over 120 hits the last two seasons.
Other injury notes from the Metro Division:
- In the first year of a 3-year, $7.5MM contract signed with the New York Islanders this past summer, Alexander Romanov has been out of the lineup since the team’s game on April 1st. The Islanders are still battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they may be getting Romanov sooner rather than later. Andrew Gross of Newsday is reporting that Romanov has recently begun skating on his own again. Being one of the better low-key defensemen in the NHL, Romanov has 129 blocked shots and 198 hits for the Islanders this season.
- Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that none of the currently injured Columbus Blue Jackets players will return for the regular season. This includes such players as Boone Jenner, Patrik Laine, and Elvis Merzlikins. Because of the Blue Jackets’ placement in the standings, it is understandable that they would not want to rush any player back from an injury. From Columbus’ perspective, this season is lost, and it will be better for them to have everyone healthy and rested for the start of the 2023-24 season.