On Thursday, the New Jersey Devils announced that veteran hybrid Brendan Smith has been placed on injured reserve. As a result, they’ve recalled defenseman Santeri Hatakka from the Utica Comets (AHL).
Head coach Lindy Ruff revealed that Smith suffered a sprained knee on Saturday when the Devils faced the Panthers in Florida. Smith missed a check that initiated knee contact that sent him down New Jersey’s tunnel in the first period of the game. Smith remained out of the remainder of the contest.
The Devils received Hatakka as part of the Timo Meier trade last winter. The former Sharks defenseman has nine games of NHL experience playing in San Jose, collecting two assists during the 2021-22 season.
Hatakka accrued two goals and nine points in 28 AHL games this season in Utica.
Hatakka made a name for himself at this summer’s Devils development camp. Despite being a throw-in piece to the Meier deal, general manager Tom Fitzgerald certainly took notice of Hatakkas’s positive play, seemingly surprised at the quality of player New Jersey received.
The 23-year-old defenseman will now evidently get a second spin in the NHL amidst so many injuries. Hatakka is a former sixth-round draft selection, 184th overall at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Hatakka joined the Devils for morning skate on Thursday.