Dougie Hamilton Devils
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils desperately need their best defenseman back.

Over the summer, the New Jersey Devils made a significant commitment to improving their blue line when they signed veteran Dougie Hamilton.

Early on, the returns were… okay. He was producing and playing well, but the team wasn’t winning as much as fans would have liked.

Unfortunately, Hamilton suffered a broken jaw against the Capitals on Jan. 2 and hasn’t played in a game since.

Hamilton joined the Devils at practice on Wednesday, a good sign that he’s on the way to returning. He’s still considered week-to-week but seeing him at practice is a very good sign.

This is the first time Hamilton has been on the ice with his teammates since having jaw surgery.

Needed help

Hamilton has appeared in 30 games this season. And, even though he hasn’t played since early in the Jan. 2 game, he still ranks sixth on the team with 20 points.

Indeed, even though Hamilton has missed almost four weeks of action, he leads all Devils in points. Damon Severson has 19 points in 39 games — nine more than Hamilton.

Hamilton still leads the team with 108 credited shots on net. He’s averaging 21:24 per game, second on the roster to only Severson.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.