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Devils defenseman Anssi Salmela still months away from playing

Brad Staubitz, Anssi Salmela

New Jersey Devils’ Anssi Salmela, right, looks to pass away from San Jose Sharks’ Brad Staubitz during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 2, 2010, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


With the Devils eventually having to shuffle players around to get under the salary cap, having injuries to players that will be counted on to play bigger minutes in the meantime is a killer. In the case of defenseman Anssi Salmela, his wait to get back on the ice could be a bit longer than expected following ACL and meniscus surgery Rich Chere finds out.

Defenseman Anssi Salmela, who will miss all of training camp following right knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, said he will be examined by a doctor Sept. 28 to determine whether he can begin skating on his own.

Salmela is still probably months away from being able to practice or play a game.

“It was the ACL and meniscus. You have to be patient with that,” Salmela said as he arrived for his physical today.

“It’s alright. It’s good. I’m a couple of months behind, though.”

Salmela is one of the Devils’ top six defensemen and with the rumors whirling around about potentially dealing Bryce Salvador to help the team get under the cap, having Salmela gone for the first part of the season is an unwelcome bite to the roster. Right now, look for Mark Fraser to potentially see his minutes improve.

Since we know you’re curious if having Salmela start the year on the long-term injured reserve could provide some salary relief to the team, that’s not going to happen either as Salmela’s cap hit is just over $600,000 this year. Loophole Lou Lamoriello will need to find another way to make things work there.