Jesper Bratt Returns When New Jersey Devils Need Him Most

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt missed the first few weeks of the season after breaking his jaw days before opening night. He is finally ready to return.

It’s news we expected weeks ago, but we are happy it is finally coming when the New Jersey Devils need it most. Head coach John Hynes confirms that Jesper Bratt will be in the lineup on Friday night when the team takes on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This news couldn’t come at a better time. The Devils are spiraling downward after a 4-0 start. They’ve looked terrible in most games, and literally get skated out of the building. Something feels off, and the team just looks different.

Bratt looked decent in the preseason, seeming like he found the step he lost in the second half of last season. He didn’t score in the three games he played, but showed all the intangibles to bring him to put him on the second line with Pavel Zacha and Marcus Johansson. It looked like this season would look more like the first half of last season. He took six shots in those three games, a good sign of confidence.

Hopefully, Bratt won’t be discouraged by this injury. He comes onto a team that desperate needs what he brings. He’s very quick, but also understands positioning matters on both sides of the ice. He is an offensive dynamo that can play on the penalty kill. He will help the Devils special teams that need it right now. The second unit of the power play and the penalty kill as a whole has not done its job.

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Bratt will have a lot on his plate right away. His normal line mate Zacha is down in Binghamton figuring things out. He’s now replaced by center Brett Seney. For Seney, who himself had a nice preseason, he’s a rookie that’s already on the second line. Bratt and Johansson will need to step up for this line, and help Seney get acclimated to the NHL.

Bratt is still just 20 years old. A kid who’s too young to drink (well, not this weekend because they are in Canada) will need to turn an NHL team around. The Devils really need someone not named Kyle Palmieri, Taylor Hall or Nico Hischier to score. If Bratt can establish that second line, along with Travis Zajac, Brian Boyle and Miles Wood continuing their scoring ways, the Devils will finally have scoring depth. It starts with that second line, however.

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Bratt is a welcomed addition to this lineup. Let’s hope he finds his scoring stroke fairly soon.