News: Mark Fraser was placed on waivers Thursday, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. Analysis: Mark Fraser signed with the Devils on a two-way deal in the offseason, but he has spent the entire season with the team's AHL affiliate in Albany. His placement on waivers could be for the purpose of releasing him, as the defenseman may prefer to pursue another opportunity at this time.
News: Brandon Kozun cleared waivers Thursday and was reassigned to AHL Toronto, James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail reports. Analysis: Brandon Kozun had been a scratch in almost every game for the Maple Leafs since returning from an ankle injury earlier in December. He'll likely skate in a top-six role with the AHL club and provide a needed scoring punch.
News: Jimmy Howard will be in the net Friday against the Islanders, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Jimmy Howard has been the victim of some terrible luck of late, as he's dropped three consecutive games in shootouts. His most recent loss on Tuesday was doubly frustrating in that he shut out the Blue Jackets for 65 minutes, only to watch opposing goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blank his mates. Even if he's not getting the wins he probably deserves, Howard is at least playing extremely well right now, which should give his fantasy owners plenty of confidence in using him Friday.
News: Stephen Weiss (shoulder) said Thursday that he hopes to return to the Detroit lineup when eligible Sunday versus the Avalanche, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports. Analysis: Stephen Weiss rotated in during line rushes at Thursday's practice, but he said that he's taking a "wait-and-see approach" to his status for Sunday based on how he progresses over the next few days. The Red Wings should have a better idea about his availability for the Avalanche game following Saturday's practice.
News: Johan Franzen (illness) has been cleared to play Friday against the Islanders, Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily reports. Analysis: After skipping Tuesday's game with the illness, Johan Franzen returned to the ice for Thursday's practice and looked to be feeling significantly better. The forward said he's been battling the stomach flu off-and-on for the past three weeks, but passed all tests for the mumps conducted by the team's medical staff. The illness has surely impacted his play of late, as he's gone 12 games without a goal after potting six in his first 13 contests. Now that he's seemingly recharged, Franzen will likely form a trio with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco on Friday.
News: Adam Larsson (mumps) is being labeled as day-to-day and his status for Friday's game against the Lightning will be a "coach's decision," Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: After battling the mumps for the previous week, Adam Larsson was cleared to rejoin the team Wednesday. He's skated each of the last two days and appears to have regained stamina after the virus resulted in him losing considerable weight. With the Devils announcing Thursday that Damon Severson (ankle) would miss the next four-to-five weeks, there's a ready-made lineup spot waiting for Larsson should coach Pete DeBoer decide to play him.
News: Mike Cammalleri (lower body) skated on his own Thursday, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Mike Cammalleri didn't participate in the Devils' optional practice later in the morning, however, which may prevent him from making his return to the lineup Friday against Tampa Bay. Friday will mark the first game of a back-to-back set in any event, so it's possible the Devils might prefer to save Cammalleri for Saturday's tilt with the Capitals, rather than having him play two games immediately upon his return from injury.
News: Damon Severson was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his ankle Thursday and will miss the next four-to-five weeks, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Though his offensive production has tailed off dramatically since the end of October, Damon Severson was still an important cog on the Devils' top pairing, averaging 23:02 of ice time per game. The rookie apparently first suffered the injury after taking a shot to his ankle in a Dec. 6 game against the Capitals, playing through the fracture until he began to experience significant swelling Wednesday. Though he won't require surgery, Severson will still be out until mid- or late-January, forcing coach Pete DeBoer to turn to Eric Gelinas, Seth Helgeson and Adam Larsson to assume more prominent roles on the New Jersey blue line.
News: Dainius Zubrus (leg laceration) was placed on injured reserve Thursday, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: The Devils are still considering Dainius Zubrus day-to-day after he was able to skate earlier in the day, but was moved to IR to create some roster flexibility. Since he's already missed the minimum seven days required for an IR stint, he'll be eligible for activation immediately once he becomes healthier.
News: Carey Price will be in the crease Thursday against the Ducks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports. Analysis: Carey Price has been spectacular in claiming three consecutive wins, stopping 84-of-88 shots (.954 save percentage) to bring his record up to 17-8-1 for the season. The Ducks, who recently saw a seven-game winning streak come to an end, figure to be a stiff test for Price, but it's probably worthwhile to use him while he's playing impressively and on home ice.