Jonas Siegenthaler’s Broken Foot Leaves Devils Limping Toward Tough Schedule Ahead

Injuries continue to pile up for the New Jersey Devils. Jonas Siegenthaler’s injury in Saturday night’s game is the latest setback for the decimated roster.
Jonas Siegenthaler injured
Jonas Siegenthaler injured / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils lost Jack Hughes to an injury during Friday night’s chaotic game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Bad injury luck continued to plague the Devils on Saturday night. 

Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler broke his foot blocking a shot in the loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Siegenthaler joins a long list of injured Devils that includes Nolan Foote, Tomas Nosek, Dougie Hamilton, Timo Meier, Ondrej Palat, and Jack Hughes. Hamilton will likely miss the rest of the regular season. There’s no timetable for Foote or Nosek. Meier was placed on the Injured Reserve this weekend. Hughes is being evaluated. Palat is expected to miss at least a few more games. There’s no timeline for Siegenthaler’s absence yet.

The Devils have now lost their top defensive pair, Hamilton and Siegenthaler. It will be interesting to see how they handle Siegenthaler’s absence. With several forwards injured, Brendan Smith has been playing forward instead of defenseman. He shifted back to defense after Siegenthaler’s injury in the game against the Canucks.

With the losses of Hamilton and Siegenthaler, the blue line has gotten younger. Considering they already have three young defensemen: Kevin Bahl, Luke Hughes, and Simon Nemec, leaving Smith at forward and sliding a prospect into the lineup would make the blue line very inexperienced. However, Hughes and Nemec have really been the Devils’ best defensemen this season, so their inexperience isn’t what’s costing the Devils.

For now, they’ll need to call up a defenseman from the AHL, but will that player slot into the lineup? Only if Smith is kept at forward. Who might they call up? The organization lacks depth on the left side of the blue line. In looking at defensemen with NHL experience, Cal Foote comes to mind, but he’s right-handed. Perhaps Santeri Hatakka or Daniil Misyul will get the nod. 

It seems likely the Devils will opt to have Smith back as a defenseman and replace the hole at winger instead. The lineup decision may depend on when Ondrej Palat is coming back. Clearly, Siegenthaler’s injury makes the need for a trade more dire. 

To endure the loss of Siegenthaler, the remaining defensemen need to step up now more than ever. Colin Miller had a strong showing on Saturday, contributing his first two goals as a Devil. John Marino hasn’t been great this season. Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec have sparkled, but the Devils need their experienced defensemen to shine, too.

The Devils were outplayed by the Canucks on Saturday night. They were on the back half of a back-to-back, but with the most back-to-backs in the league this year, at some point, they need to figure it out. The pile-up of injuries only makes that even more difficult.

Tough matchups are ahead for the Devils throughout January. They play the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights, and two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The only struggling teams they face the rest of the month are the Montreal Canadiens and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Luckily, the Devils have four non-game days between the game against the Canucks and their next game against the Lightning. This gives the banged-up team some time to recover and regroup before facing an onslaught of tough teams between now and the All-Star Break without some of their best players. The Devils are limping toward the All-Star Break, and it’s going to take everything they have and then some to maintain a playoff position in the coming weeks.