New Jersey Devils: Miles Wood And Marcus Johansson Return To Practice

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 1: Goaltender Roberto Luongo
SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 1: Goaltender Roberto Luongo /

There was some great news for the New Jersey Devils on Monday, as two of their better offensive forwards, Miles Wood and Marcus Johansson, returned to practice.

It’s always a good day when you get players back from the ranks of the injured. Marcus Johansson, out for weeks with a head injury, practiced with the New Jersey Devils for the first time since January. Joining number 90 was the ultra-fast winger Miles Wood, who returned from a hiatus of approximately one week from what appeared to be an elbow injury suffered during the recent West Coast road trip.

Not that the Devils need it after their high-flying weekend, but seeing that duo return to practice has got to be a shot in the arm for the club. Wood and MoJo are both talented, skilled players.

How might this play out?  It’s hard to say. One might assume that Wood will be ready to return earlier than Johansson, given his extended absence and Marcus’ post-practice comments about not yet being 100%. Wood could slot in for a number of players, I imagine that Stefan Noesen is one likely candidate to come out. That doesn’t exactly thrill me. I think Noesen is a pretty darn good two way player, but I guess having too many forwards and a difficult choice is a good problem to have.

The Devils may soon have a good problem on their hands, that being too many NHL quality forwards.

Beyond that, the selection criteria is harder still. Generally speaking, one might think either Brian Gibbons or Blake Coleman would be the next logical choice to be a healthy scratch. But can you really take either of them out, especially Coleman who is actually scoring more goals recently? I don’t think so.

Personally, I think Coach Hynes might look to sit Jesper Bratt next but, in my eyes, that would both a huge mistake and illogical. How can a player be good enough to be on your top line yet a candidate to be a healthy scratch? I would find a decision of that nature to be somewhat counterintuitive.

I am tempted to suggest Patrick Maroon, given his relative lack of mobility, but as I am close to certain the coaching staff would never, ever, ever think about that, there’s no point to pondering that alternative. Maroon is a good player along the boards and in close quarters who also provides a valuable net-front presence on the power play, so it’s not all that easy to suggest that either. As I noted, it is not an easy decision.

Next: Micro Mueller should stay in the lineup

While it seems as though MoJo might still be a bit of time away from being game-ready, it could very well be the case that Johansson might have a bit of a wait to get back into the lineup when he is fully fit.  We’ll see.  One can only hope that his progression is positive enough to make that issue a reality in the coming days. While I don’t necessarily know how I would handle his return, I do know he’s a great talent and certainly upgrades the talent level on the team.