After the New Jersey Devils completed their morning skate Tuesday, the team had quite a few injury updates to share.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton will have surgery tomorrow to repair a broken jaw suffered on January 2, and he’s been moved to injured reserve. Goalie Jonathan Bernier had hip surgery yesterday and is out for the remainder of the season. Team captain Nico Hischier is out for tonight’s game against Boston with a lower-body injury, and forwards Yegor Sharangovich and Pavel Zacha entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol today.
Hamilton’s certainly been decent this season, his first with the Devils. Through 30 games, the free-agent acquisition has seven goals and 13 assists while logging 21:24 per game, the second-highest mark on the team behind Damon Severson.
The long-term absence of Bernier is organizationally tough to swallow, too. Bernier had been solid through 10 games with a .902 save percentage, but the injury had been bothering him intermittently throughout the season and it’s the right move to shut him down to hopefully avoid career-ending complications.
Right now, the backup role will be competed for by Akira Schmid, Jon Gillies, and Nico Daws, all of whom have played NHL games this season. Gillies will likely win the role to allow more development time for Schmid and Daws, who are both just 21 and haven’t blown the doors off in NHL action. More time in the AHL will serve them best.
Both Sharangovich and Zacha have been valuable depth pieces for New Jersey, and they’ll hopefully only be subject to the five-day quarantine and will only miss the team’s next three games. Sharangovich has seven goals and 14 points through 30 games this year, while Zacha has nine goals and 16 points through 33.
It’s hard to remember the last time that a team issued injury updates simultaneously about this many players, and it forces the Devils to make serious adjustments to their roster and their lineups. It’s a seriously tough break for a team that’s barely hanging on to their chances to make the playoffs.