There was a "new" face on the ice Friday as the Devils held an optional morning skate prior to their game against the Ottawa Senators.
Travis Zajac skated with some of his teammates for the first time this season after suffering a torn left pectoral injury in the middle of August. He had been skating on his own in previous weeks.
Alongside Zajac in practice was Brian Boyle, Mirco Mueller, Michael McLeod and Dalton Prout, plus goalies Keith Kindkaid and Scott Wedgewood. The group worked on non-contact drills late Friday morning.
Zajac, who underwent surgery during the offseason, was given a timetable of four to six months for his return. Coach John Hynes is optimistic about his recovery.
"He's on a good timeline," Hynes said. "It's seemed he's healed pretty well and is responding to treatments and skating well. So things look like they're on course for slightly quicker."
Zajac, 32, has been a staple in the Devils' lineup for the past 11 seasons. He has missed the first eight games this year. The Devils have started off hot with a 6-2-0 record, and are currently second in the Metropolitan Division.
Although Zajac has not played a game this season, fellow teammate Adam Henrique still feels his presence has helped in the locker room.
"We see those guys in here every day, working hard and improving every day. Trav is coming along, I think how he would like, which is positive."
With Zajac's return date still unclear, the Devils will continue to work with him in his rehab.
"Maybe the end of next week we might have a better timeline," Hynes said. "To see how he responds to actual shooting and these types of practices versus skating with no pucks and stuff like that."