New Jersey Devils: Ondrej Palat Will Be a Big Help To Offense

Ondrej Palat #18 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Ondrej Palat #18 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Prior to the last game against the St. Louis Blues, Ondrej Palat was activated from the long-term injured reserve list after being sidelined for a few months with a groin injury. His return is perfect timing for a New Jersey Devils team that has been incredibly inconsistent during the last month. The last time the Devils won a game at the Prudential Center was on December 6th against the Chicago Blackhawks.

One of the issues hindering the Devils on the offensive side of things was the shoulder injury to Nathan Bastian. His absence has been a huge blow to their bottom six, which complicated their overall depth as result. So, Palat can certainly help provide some extra scoring, and he’s also a huge asset in the locker room in terms of leadership. When I asked Erik Haula about the return of Palat, he was ecstatic to have him back in the lineup.

“We’re happy to have him back,” Haula said. “He was out for a while, and now he’s healthy. He’s going to help us win.”

While Palat does provide a decent amount of scoring, he should be placed in a bottom-six role for the time being. He can ease back into everything and help provide an additional offensive spark. It might not seem like the ideal role for him, but he appeared to be open to any potential change when I asked him where he sees himself best fit at this point in the season.

“It doesn’t really matter,” Palat said. “It’s up to the coaches as to where they put me in the lineup. I will do whatever coaches want me to do.”

Listen to the full discussion on one of the latest episodes of Locked On Devils:

Prior to his groin injury, Palat had three goals in six game appearances. Last season for the Tampa Bay Lighting he was able to net 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 77 games played. So, having that kind of offensive production on the bottom six can definitely help rectify their struggles. This won’t make the Devils so top-heavy, and they can once again rely on somebody to help get them a goal outside of their top players of Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Bratt.

Next. Devils Starting To Regain Offensive Production. dark

Once he starts to regain his consistency, then I wouldn’t mind seeing him play on the same line with Hughes and then move Haula back down to the bottom six. Because it seemed as though he and Hughes had good chemistry to start off the season and Haula can thrive better on the third line with Yegor Sharangovich. It has gotten to a certain point of the season where I’m sure that Tom Fitzgerald will start to consider making a trade to help out the Devils. However, it seems as though he first wants to see the type of impact Palat can potentially have before making a big move.