Notes on Devils Health and Injury Statuses

Here is a roundup of Devils health and injury news from Devils sources.

On an “Inside the Devils Blog” post for the team regarding Tuesday’s practice for available players at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House, reporter Sam Kasan referenced a tweet by the Devils on their official Twitter account that said that goaltender Akira Schmid “and one member of the team’s locker room support staff in the NHL’s Covid-19 protocols.”

The same tweet said that the Devils are “awaiting test results on” goalie Mackenzie Blackwood.

Kasan clarified that Blackwood was kept out of practice while awaiting the results. Kasan also noted that Pavel Zacha, Yegor Sharangovich and Andreas Johnsson were all out of protocol and were on the ice for the practice today.

Kasan also reported that forward Miles Wood was skating “on his own and will begin on-ice rehab next week” after his hip injury. He had surgery for the injury on November 8.

Kasan did temper that news with word from head coach Lindy Ruff saying that Wood returning “to the lineup is still ‘months aways.’”

Ruff continued that Wood was “[m]entally very excited. I think any player wants to put his skates back on and get back out there after … it’s been around two months since he’s had his surgery. It’s the first step in the right direction. He’ll skate on his own. Hopefully, next week he’ll start the next step of that process and he’ll start skating more.”

Ruff continued “[h]e’s in a situation where he’s still months away for us.”

Kasan finished his blog post by mentioning that Wood ended last season “tied for the team lead in goals (17) for New Jersey” and that Wood “hasn’t appeared in a game for the Devils during the current season” due to his surgery.

As of this moment, the Devils are next scheduled to play the New York Islanders at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York on Thursday, January 13 at 7:30 PM.

Devils Make More Roster Moves

In a very busy Sunday, we have more news that I could have rolled into my last post but did not see in time.

Forward Jesper Boqvist and goaltender Akira Schmid have been assigned to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League as per Sam Kasan of the Devils’ official website.

This whittles the New Jersey roster down to 29 players – Kasan said that the team must get down to 23 players by Monday at 5 PM.

One player who will be staying is Jimmy Vesey. The forward was signed to a contract earlier today according to the Devils PR team and announced by Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Fitzgerald. He was on a Professional Try Out (PTO) during training camp and the preseason.

His contract is for one-year and is an NHL contract worth $800,000.

Vesey played 50 NHL games last season split with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks. Prior to that, he played for the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers.

His most productive NHL seasons came with the Rangers, especially 2018-19, when he had 17 goals and 18 assists for a total of 35 points.

Vesey is now 28-years-old – and left-handed shot with totals of 64 goals and 56 assists for 120 points over 354 regular season games. He also has 92 penalty minutes. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he has a goal and 12 assists for 13 points, making his only postseason appearance in 2017.

A Boston-native, he was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2012 (third round, 66th overall), but chose to sign with New York out of Harvard University. In college, he was the 2016 Hobey Baker Award winter as the top men’s hockey player in the NCAA with 24 goals and 22 assists (46 points) over 33 games for the Crimson.