When the New Jersey signed Ryane Clowe to a five-year, $24.25 million contract over the summer it raised a lot of eyebrows. The most die-hard Devils fans called it “the price of doing business in today’s free agent landscape.” Most pundits called it preposterous. To be fair though, Clowe hasn’t proven to be either a good investment or a bad one to this point.
That’s because he’s played all of six games for New Jersey this season. Clowe has been on the shelf since October 13. He was cracked in the jaw by Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets that night, and hasn’t played an NHL hockey game since. The Devils are now a third of the way through their season and Clowe has missed 23 straight contests.
Recovering from the concussion that Trouba gave him has been long and tough, but Clowe has finally been given medical clearance to play hockey again, as per Tom Gulitti of the New Jersey Daily Record.
The forward spoke at length with Rich Chere of the New Jersey Star-Ledger on December 6 about how he’d been feeling and where his mind was at:
The toughest part mentally or emotionally for me is I signed here for five years and played six games. I felt so good and I felt excited. Then bang, it happens. I felt down on myself. I think I’m a pretty proud guy. I really wanted to come in here and make an impact right away. So that was tough.
When that was published, Clowe hadn’t been cleared to play. Now he’ll have the chance to show Devils fans that his contract isn’t really as bad as it looks.
New Jersey general manager Lou Lamoriello stressed to the Daily Record that Clowe wouldn’t be rushed back though, saying “we’re going to take our time and just make sure everything is 100 percent.” The fact that the 31-year-old has been cleared is a massive step in the right direction though, and he should be seeing game action sooner rather than later.