Devils GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed that both players had been diagnosed with the mumps on Wednesday morning, reports Tom Gulitti. This puts the number of confirmed cases into the double digits, and the illness has already sidelined stars like Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry.
Because of the long incubation period of the mumps and how long it takes to properly diagnose a case, Lamoriello has said that Zajac is already over the illness and getting back to full health. Meanwhile, Larsson hasn’t played since Dec. 2 and is day-to-day. He has been isolated from the team while he fights the virus, and is reportedly feeling much better.
Devils winger Jaromir Jagr was recently ill, but a test for the mumps came back negative.
When the mumps began to spread throughout the Minnesota dressing room, it took down five of the team’s defenseman, including Suter, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Christian Folin, and Keith Ballard. The Wild weren’t the first team to lose several players, however, as the Anaheim Ducks have dealt without Perry and defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Clayton Stoner due to the virus.
Earlier in December, the Devils signed veteran center Scott Gomez to a one-year deal due to a depleted roster, and have since lost veterans Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus to injury. If the virus starts to take its toll on the team, much like it did in Anaheim and Minnesota, there’s the possibility the team will have to look at options outside the organization to fill holes on the blueline and up front.
The Devils have already been without defenseman and captain Bryce Salvador, who is on injured reserve with a lower body injury, since Nov. 17. Losing Larsson, who is rounding into form, for much longer could be cause for the Devils to slide even further in the Eastern Conference.