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Zajac eyes return in Toronto, Mueller out indefinitely

After his second full practice with the team, Travis Zajac hopes to be in the lineup on Thursday

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein / newjerseydevils.com

Practice sessions are hard to come by during the busy NHL season, but with three days between games, the Devils have found themselves with the luxury of a practice day. 

Tweet from @amandacstein: #NJDevils listen attentively to coach Hynes. pic.twitter.com/aVSmd7BbFj

Travis Zajac took part in his second full practice with the club, as did Michael McLeod. Zajac will go on his first road trip of the season this week and potentially make his season debut on the road this coming week.

"If all looks good after tomorrow's practice and he feels good recovering from today, looks like he'll have a real good chance of playing in Toronto," Coach John Hynes said. 

The Devils visit the Maple Leafs on Thursday night. 

"It's nice to get into a practice and get some drills and get out there with the guys and see the pace," Zajac said. "We've got some guys who aren't messing around this year."

Regardless of whether he plays or not, he'll hit the road on Wednesday with the rest of the team, something he's really looking forward to.

"It's going to be exciting," Zajac said. "Obviously, I've been around but I haven't been around the guys that much. That part I'm definitely going to enjoy, going out to dinner with them, on the plane hanging out and getting to know some of these guys a little more. Just being a part of the success they're having right now. I want to come in and contribute and be a part of that."

Tweet from @amandacstein: #NJDevils lines at practice. They face the #TMLeafs in Toronto on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/krI9rfmkAt

Zajac practiced on the top line with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri on his wings. 

That bumped down Nico Hischier, who has been keeping Zajac's spot on the top line warm. 

Hischier drops down to center the second line with Jesper Bratt and Drew Stafford on his wings. While Adam Henrique moves to left wing on the third line with Brian Boyle at center and Miles Wood on the right wing. 

Of moving Henrique to the right wing, Hynes said: "I think Adam has proven he can play left wing and center. He carried a heavy load for us in October, maybe this frees him up a little bit to play some wing. Maybe he doesn't have to play against the toughest matchups all the time. And I think you're adding a great player with a guy like Boyle and Wood where it gives you depth to your four lines."

Hynes also provided a medical update on both Marcus Johansson and Mirco Mueller. 

Mueller will be out indefinitely with a broken clavicle. Mueller was injured on his first shift in Chicago when he was hit hard along the boards by Blackhawk John Hayden. Mueller played just :18 on Sunday evening before getting hurt.He will have surgery on Thursday. 

Johansson continues to progress slowly from a concussion sustained Nov. 1 in Vancouver. Johansson has resumed working out in the gym with trainers and over the last few days has lightly skated.

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