Sami Vatanen Injured
During the Devils 4-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, Vatanen had to leave the game in the first period and did not return. The injury occurred when Vatanen took an elbow to the face from Oilers forward Alex Chiasson. Vatanen headed right down the tunnel to the locker room after only played 2:53 of the game. For the remainder of the game, the Devils had to play with five defenceman.
Through 15 games this season Vatanen has registered eight points (four goals and four assists).
If Vatanen is out for a long period of time, this is a massive blow to the Devils defence. He has been a workhorse for the Devils since coming over from the Anaheim Ducks. He averages 22:15 of ice time and plays in all situations for the Devils. That will be hard to replace. The Devils remain without Connor Carrick, who is on injured reserve as he recovers after having surgery to repair a broken finger. So going forward the Devils will need guys like P.K. Subban Damon Severson, Will Butcher, Andy Greene, Mirco Mueller, and Matt Tennyson to step up. Tennyson will be in for the injured Vatanen on Sunday when the Devils take on the Vancouver Canucks. Also, there is a possibility the Devils call up a defenceman from Binghamton of the AHL if Vatanen has to miss more than one game.
It has been a struggle for the Devils this season to put it lightly. Even with all the changes, the Devils made in the off-season, one area that still needed improvement was their defence. Yes, adding Subban was good, but they still needed a defenceman that could just stay at home and have less of an offensive mind. Ideally, the defenceman they find could play the left side with Subban.
- NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – JANUARY 10: Sami Vatanen #45 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center on January 10, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. The Maple Leafs defeated the Devils 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)