New Jersey Devils: They Have A Chance To Come Back Strong

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 28: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Prudential Center on January 28, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 28: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Prudential Center on January 28, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Times are tough right now in New Jersey Devils land. They are off to a better start in the standings than some people thought, but they can’t get on the ice now. COVID-19 has spread through the team like wildfire. Going into Thursday, they have 17 players on the COVID-19 protocol list. It is a major struggle right now, but it won’t last forever. All games are postponed through Saturday and we don’t know how far it is going to go beyond that.

The New Jersey Devils have a chance to come back strong when they are healthy.

The New Jersey Devils are going to have gone more than a week (at minimum) before they return to the ice. That is not fun as we are missing our team. They could, however, come back even stronger when they are healthy. At 4-3-2, they have maintained an okay pace in the standings without some very important players.

For one, Nico Hischier hasn’t played a single game yet this season. He sustained an injury while training in Switzerland before the season came back and hasn’t been ready since. This is more time for him to get it right without the Devils playing games without him. New Jersey also signed Sami Vatanen to a one-year deal during camp but getting him to the United States and quarantined has kept him out of the lineup. He should also help out a lot when he joins the lineup.

Jesper Bratt has only played a few games as he went through the same process as Vatanen when coming back to North America. Now, he is right back on the protocol list along with a large portion of his teammates. Bratt was off to a blistering start playing with Jack Hughes and Andreas Johnsson so the hope is that this trio can pick it right up where they left off.

Mackenzie Blackwood was the first New Jersey Devils player to hit the COVID-19 list. Now, he is off the list. It was tough to lose Blackwood for that long because it looks like he could be one of the best goalies in the league. With that came a bit of a positive and that is the backup position. Scott Wedgewood and Eric Comrie were not perfect but they both showed that the Devils have a chance to win when they are in the net. The sky won’t fall if Blackwood gets a rest going forward.

When New Jersey comes back, all of their players who are on the list will be good to go. They also could have some of the guys who haven’t played ready to go. They might be able to ice the team as it was designed to be iced next time they are allowed to play. The fact that they have played well with the lineup they had should excite people about what is to come.

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If Hughes, Bratt, Blackwood, and the fourth line keep it up, along with the addition of Hischier, this team could be pretty good. Whether or not they will be a playoff team remains to be seen but the future is certainly bright. When they come back, there is a good chance they will play very well if they are fully healthy.