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Boyle to make season debut for Devils against Canucks

Forward will appear in first game since being diagnosed with leukemia

NHL.com @NHL

New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle will make his season debut against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; SN360, MSG+, NHL.TV).

Boyle hasn't played this season because of chronic myeloid leukemia. He was diagnosed after getting a blood test taken during his training camp physical on Sept. 19 and was given clearance to practice Oct. 21.

The Devils activated Boyle on Wednesday and placed forward Kyle Palmieri (lower body) on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 22.

"I'm excited. it's been a long road," Boyle said after the morning skate. "It's been great with all the support and patience from the organization. I am very excited.

"I've loved this game, it's given me so much. … The relationships, the people, some of my closest friends I have met through hockey, some of my best memories with my family, my parents, my dad were at hockey games, whether I was playing or watching. I am so blessed to be able to do this, and we all are."

Video: 11/1 NJD vs. VAN Pregame: Brian Boyle

Boyle, who signed a two-year, $5.1 million contract with the Devils on July 1, had 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 75 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Toronto acquired Boyle in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb. 27.

The 32-year-old has 169 points (93 goals, 76 assists) in 624 games for the Maple Leafs, Lightning, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings, and 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 106 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 10 NHL seasons.

Boyle, usually a center, will play left wing on a line with Blake Coleman at center and Miles Wood on right wing.

"I am comfortable there. I played there last year and the year before," Boyle said of the position switch. "The whole game will be an adjustment, I didn't get training camp obviously, but Blake and Miles, we chatted again this morning, and from watching them I know what to expect from them, and that's something I can fit in nicely with. It's a good opportunity, Blake has been playing really well in the middle and that's something that he'll continue to do. I'll be able to read off them fairly well just from watching them."

The Devils (8-2-0), who are in first place in the Metropolitan Division, will play the first of a three-game Western Canada road trip. New Jersey is at the Edmonton Oilers on Friday and at the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

"We're adding a very good player, a guy with a ton of experience, he's got lots of size, very competitive, very good in the face-off circle," Devils coach John Hynes said. "It's been a long road for him, it's been a long offseason, and obviously with the cancer diagnosis and his recovery from that, so I know he's excited to play and we're excited as a team and organization to have him back in the lineup.

"He knows his body. He's a veteran player, he knows what he is doing and he is very confident he is ready to go."

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