Before the New Jersey Devils play against the Florida Panthers tonight, the lead reporter of the team, Amanda Stein, gave some important updates from the team’s practice earlier this morning. As the Devils begin a weekend back-to-back against the Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stein reports that forwards Miles Wood and Nathan Bastian have not made the trip to Florida with the team.
Wood, one of the many upcoming free agents on the Devils’ roster, will miss his second straight game. After only playing three games during the 2021-22 season, Wood has again become a steady depth player for the Devils this year. Playing in his seventh season in New Jersey, Wood has reached the double-digit goal mark five times, with a career-high 19 goals coming during the 2017-18 season.
Much like Wood, Bastian has not played in the last few games for the Devils, having missed since the March 12th game against the Carolina Hurricanes. After being selected by the Seattle Kraken during their expansion draft, Bastian found his way back to New Jersey last year after a mid-season waiver claim. In his first full year back with the Devils, Bastian has also provided some depth scoring for the team, putting up six goals and six assists in 39 games played so far this year.
- Although he’s been one of the more injury-plagued goalies the last several years, Stein also mentioned that goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was practicing with the team this morning. Having not played since the team’s game against the Winnipeg Jets on February 19th, Blackwood will still be out of the lineup tonight, however; it is good news to see him back out practicing with the team. In 17 games played this year, Blackwood has a record of 8-5, with a .900 SV% and a 3.04 GAA.
- Lastly, Stein mentions that forward Nolan Foote was also seen practicing with the team before their game in Sunrise. Drafted 27th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, Foote has yet to crack the Devils’ lineup in a meaningful way. Playing only 16 games over the last three seasons, Nolan has scored a collective four goals and two assists for New Jersey. As he has played most of his games in the AHL, he has a career mark of 39 goals and 40 assists in 128 games played in hockey’s highest minor league system.