Devils News Ahead of Tonight’s Tilt at Islanders

The Devils have had some roster issues over the last few weeks, especially in net. But tonight they will be getting some reinforcements back to their ranks that should help them out a little.

According to Sam Kasan on the team’s official blog, four players are back off of the COVID protocol list and they will elevate one from the taxi squad.

Kasan reports that all of the five players in total will be available tonight.

He said that forwards Nate Bastian, Andreas Johnsson, Yegor Sharangovich and Pavel Zacha have come off the COVID list.

Under this season’s COVID protocol rules, players that are asymptomatic will only spend a maximum of five days on the COVID protocol list.

Kasan said that Sharangovich and Zacha missed three games while Johnsson was out two and Bastian only missed one.

In addition to those roster moves, defenseman Colton White was moved “from the taxi squad to the main roster” and will be available for tonight’s game as well.

In addition to all of that, Kasan noted in a separate post that the Devils have addressed their goaltending situation (for the moment).

Instead of the assumption that the Devils would recall Mareks Mitens from Utica of the AHL, they have gone a totally different route.

New Jersey signed goalie Kyle Shapiro to an amateur tryout (ATO) contract and he will be the Devils’ emergency backup goalie for tonight’s game.

Kasan gave some background on Shapiro, 28 years-old, is currently an assistant coach with the North American Hockey League (NAHL) team the New Jersey Titans, a lower-tier junior club based in Middletown, New Jersey.

Shapiro, who does serve as the Devils’ usual emergency backup goalie, is a native of Ocean, New Jersey and played three seasons of college hockey at the University of Southern Maine and one season at New England College – both of which are NCAA Division III.

Jon Gillies will get the start tonight, his second start as a Devil, with Mackenzie Blackwood – who tested positive for COVID yesterday – and Akira Schmid (who is in COVID protocol as well) both out.

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.