The New Jersey Devils were hit a blow on Tuesday with defenseman Mirco Mueller previously suffering a fractured clavicle during the team’s Sunday matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. As a result, Mueller has now been ruled out indefinitely while the defenseman is expected to be placed on injured reserve sooner rather than later.
Mueller, a 22-year-old former first-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks, has totaled two points in an average of 17 minutes of ice time over 13 games this season. He played less than a minute in a 7-5 come-from-behind victory in Chicago before leaving with contest due to the aforementioned setback.
While the Devils have lost Mueller, New Jersey will soon be adding another important player back onto the roster. Center Travis Zajac could be making his season debut on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“If all looks good after tomorrow practice and he feels good recovering from today, looks like he’ll have a real good chance of playing in Toronto,” said Devils head coach John Hynes.
The 32-year-old Zajac is in his 12th season in the NHL, all with the Devils, after being drafted by the franchise in the first round back in 2004. He made his debut at the age of 21 in the 2006-07 season, totaling 42 points and finishing 10th in the voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy. Zajac has missed the first few weeks of the season after an offseason pectoral injury required surgery to correct.
With the victory over the Blackhawks, the Devils are now 11-4-2 with 24 points and sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011-12, when New Jersey lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings.