Enter “The Hamburglar”

The newest New Jersey Devil has made his way to practice with the club.

Sam Kasan reported earlier today on the Devils app “Injury Report” that goalie Andrew Hammond was with the Devils on the ice earlier Tuesday for practice.

Hammond told Kasan “[i]t was my first time getting into a practice in a little while. It’s always fun being out there.”

As Kasan noted, Hammond, who was acquired by the Devils at the trade deadline from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Nate Schnarr, has been battling a lower body injury this season.

With the Habs, he had played in four games this season prior to his injury, notching a 3-0 record with a 2.40 goals against average and a .920 save percentage on the season. Kasan mentioned his 60 career NHL games, where his overall record is 30-15-6 with a 2.31 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

Kasan stated that “there is no target date for when he could rejoin the lineup and dress for a game” despite practicing.

Hammond continued: “It was another step forward. I feel good. I got through practice. That was the first step. I feel good after. I just need to keep building on it. We’ll see how much longer (until a return). I’m trying to get up to game speed. But it was a positive day today.”

Kasan explained that Hammond’s injury and the Devils having been on the road for the week since the deadline has kept the goaltender from having “a chance to be around the team and his new teammates/coaches until recently.”

But Hammond liked what he has seen so far, telling Kasan: “Now that I’ve had a few days here it’s been great. They have a good group here. It’s tight-knit, and they make it very easy for a new player like myself to bled in and be one of the guys. All-in-all, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience so far.”

The Devils will be traveling to Boston for a Thursday night tilt with the Bruins at TD Garden later this week.

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.