Devils' Dougie Hamilton out indefinitely after pec surgery

Dougie Hamilton, the New Jersey Devils' top defenseman, is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle Friday.

Hamilton, 30, has 16 points in 20 games for the Devils, skating a team-high 20:59 per game. He had been running the second unit of New Jersey's power play, which ranks first in the NHL (35.6%).

His absence is a significant blow to the Devils, who had recently gotten back centers Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier from injury.

New Jersey had won three in a row before Friday night's 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The Devils are on the cusp of an Eastern Conference playoff seed.

Hamilton was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, having suffered the injury Tuesday night in the Devils' win over the New York Islanders.

The Friday surgery was performed by Devils chief medical officer Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow and team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas.

"Had surgery today. Out indefinitely. It's going to be next man up," said Devils coach Lindy Ruff.

Simon Nemec replaced Hamilton on the roster and will make his NHL debut Friday night, Ruff said.

Nemec, 19, was selected second overall by the Devils in the 2022 NHL draft. The Slovak defenseman has eight points in 13 games for the AHL Utica Devils this season.

"He's been with us for a while. He knows exactly how he needs to play. We just need him to play well," Ruff said of Nemec. "His camp was up and down. But as camp went along, he got better."

Ruff acknowledged the loss of Hamilton means some changes for the Devils' defensive pairings and special teams.

"A lot of things change. Our power play unit will change around a little bit. We'll probably give Simon a chance to be on that second unit," he said.

Nemec joins Luke Hughes, drafted fourth overall in 2021, as high-profile rookie defensemen on the Devils' blueline.

New Jersey also announced that veteran forward Tomas Nosek is out indefinitely after having surgery on his right foot. He signed a one-year free agent contract with the Devils last season.