Severson and Bratt Off of COVID List

Amanda Stein reported yesterday that defenseman Damon Severson and forward Jesper Bratt have come out of COVID protocol and returned to practice.

She said the Devils’ COVID list now only has Janne Kuokkanen, Mason Geertsen and Dougie Hamilton on it.

This is an obvious help to the Devils, who have their games this weekend in Montreal (January 15) and Toronto (January 17) postponed, because it will give Severson and Bratt five days of practice and to get back into game condition before New Jersey plays its next game on Wednesday, January 19 versus Arizona.

Bratt told Stein: “I feel like we’re pretty fortunate with the schedule. I mean, unfortunately, I missed two games, but it seemed that we could have missed four. So, in this schedule we have coming up, I’m excited that we have almost a week now of practice and it’s gonna be good to get back into these (practices).”

Severson added: “I’m excited to come back, and we’re getting some bodies healthy again, a couple more guys, hopefully, the next few days come back of the protocol, with a few days before our next game.”

Stein pointed out that Severson will be spending time at practice getting back into things while having to do without activity during his quarantine.

Severson elaborated that “[j]ust putting a little extra work on the ice. Just making sure you put a few extra drills in between, making sure the hands are ready to shoot, just kind of little things like that maybe. I haven’t been able to really do that just sitting at home. So, yeah, a couple of little extra things here and there to make sure that I’m sharp.”

Devils coach Lindy Ruff is “very encouraged” by the players beginning to get healthy according to Stein. He said to her: “[w]ell, (it’s) encouraging when your team has been hit hard at different times. We’ve taken a couple of hits. One in mid-December, and now, this one early in January. So, (let’s) get everybody up and running and then just looking for a strong push.”

In other news, Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended by the National Hockey League Department of Player Safety yesterday for his illegal check to the head of AJ Greer in Thursday’s Devils loss at New York.

Johnston got three games without pay. According to the NHL Public Relations press release put out yesterday on the matter, “Johnston will forfeit $15,000.00” that will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Johnston did receive a minor penalty in the game for the infraction. The Devils have not had an update as to how Greer is doing and if there were any injuries sustained by him.

Devils Trade Palmieri, Zajac to Islanders

The New York Islanders were aggressive before the upcoming NHL trade deadline and the Devils were the beneficiaries of that – at price.

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac are now Islanders and the Devils got a good package back for them.

Let’s start with Palmieri. He was an unrestricted free agent to be and the Devils were unable to come to terms on a new contract with in exchange for him, the Devils essentially got a 2021 first-round Draft pick. The Devils will retain 50-percent of his salary. Palmieri had a modified no trade clause.

For Zajac, the Devils got a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2022 Draft and the Devils will likewise retain 50-percent of salary. Zajac had a full no trade clause in his contract and needed to waive it in order to be traded.

The Devils also obtained AJ Greer and Mason Jobst in the trade.

Greer is 24 years old, a 6-foot, 2-inch 205 pound left winger who was with the Bridgeport SoundTigers of the AHL. He has one goal and an assist over ten game in the American League. He has played 37 games at the NHL level where he has one goal and five assists (six points).

He was Colorado’s second round pick in 2015 (39th overall).

Jobst is 27, 5-foot, 8-inches, 185 pounds. He has two assists over six games with the SoundTigers.

Both players will report to the Binghamton Devils.

The real star of the trade is pretty much the first-rounder. It will be a low first-round pick because of how the Isles are doing and are likely to do, but it can always be flipped for an NHL caliber player. The Devils now have nine picks in the 2021 Draft (their own first rounder, third rounder, fourth rounder, sixth rounder, the Islanders’ first and second rounders, the Sabres’ fifth rounder and the Coyotes’ third and seventh rounders).

It’s sad to see these guys go. Palmieri was a great leader. A Jersey-raised guy who wore the Devils uniform with pride. Of course, he was born on Long Island so he has connections there. Through many of the lean years, Palms was one of the few reasons to get excited about the Devils. He will provide veteran leadership and scoring to New York.

Speaking of veteran leadership, Travis Zajac has that in droves. He just recently played in his 1,000th NHL game and can lead. He will give the Isles a lot of defensive forward prowess and will kill penalties and win faceoffs.

This move also gives Zajac a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Following 2012, you wanted to see him get another chance at winning. And to do it with ex/current teammate Andy Greene would be all the more sweeter.

Good luck to both guys on the Island. Let’s see how this plays out from a Devils perspective as well.