New Jersey Devils: What’s Happening With Jesper Bratt?

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 11: Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils plays the puck against the Boston Bruins during the game at Prudential Center on February 11, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 11: Jesper Bratt #63 of the New Jersey Devils plays the puck against the Boston Bruins during the game at Prudential Center on February 11, 2018 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Jesper Bratt went down with injury right before the season started, and he was only supposed to be out a few weeks. The New Jersey Devils deadline has come and gone, yet Bratt seems no closer to returning to the lineup.

Jesper Bratt got one of the worst breaks, no pun intended, possible while practicing with the New Jersey Devils in his native Sweden. Just days before playing in front of his home crowd for likely the only time in his career, a puck took a weird bound in practice and hit him in the face. The prognosis wasn’t terrible, but he was going to miss this once in a lifetime experience.

The timetable was two to three weeks without the Devils young forward. However, here we are, 25 days later, and Bratt still hasn’t been cleared for contact. In fact, it seems like he’s going backwards. He was practicing with teammates on Thursday during an optional morning skate. We all thought it was a step in the right direction. Then on Monday, he was back to skating by himself.

The Devils have been mum on his status, just telling us the medical staff has not cleared him. What makes this so weird is the location of his injury. Bratt broke his jaw. This isn’t the type of injury that lingers. A groin injury or a knee injury may have a setback once a player starts skating or doing drills, but your jaw has little to do with the game of hockey.

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It’s a curious case. It’s possible that Bratt is still feeling pain in his jaw, but would that stop him from playing hockey? At some point, everything hurts. Sure, pain can be an indicator that something isn’t right, but we’re guessing at this point without more information from the Devils.

There is some good news. Bratt is making the trip with the Devils as they embark on a seven-game road trip. That means at some point along the next week or two, Bratt is expected to be ready for NHL action.

The Devils could sorely use Bratt. If he was even close to the player he was to start the season, he could slot immediately in a second line that needs him desperately. Since he was injured, the Devils could never replace. They tried with Stefan Noesen, Blake Coleman, and now Jean-Sebastien Dea. Nothing has worked. The Devils need Bratt to return soon.