Not a great day in New Jersey as this morning, the Devils announced a pair of injuries: Jon Merrill will miss the next four weeks with a right finger injury, while tough guy Luke Gazdic will miss the same amount of time with a broken foot.
Of the two, Merrill is the more profound loss.
The 24-year-old, who underwent major shoulder surgery this summer, only played in 47 games last year due to a variety of injuries. He’s looking to rediscover the form shown during impressive rookie and sophomore campaigns in New Jersey. His second year was especially solid — 14 points in 66 games, averaging over 20 minutes per night — and he boasts good size, going 6-foot-3, 205 pounds.
Merrill’s problem, obviously, is his inability stay healthy.
Gazdic, 27, caught on with the Devils this summer after several seasons fighting his way through the Western Conference, with Dallas and Edmonton. He split last year between the Oilers and their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, and made his “mark” on the NHL during the ’13-14 campaign, when he fought 15 times.
Gazdic signed a two-way deal back in July, so it was expected he’d be on his way to AHL Albany at some point.