The New Jersey Devils have struggled with injuries on the back end throughout the 2023-24 National Hockey League season, and general manager Tom Fitzgerald took steps to rectify that on Friday.

The Devils traded for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kurtis MacDermid, adding size and depth at the position ahead of the Mar. 8 NHL Trade Deadline. In return, the Devils sent forward Zakhar Bardakov and a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft back to Denver.

The 23-year-old Bardakov has scored six goals and 10 points in 43 games for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League, totalling 44 points in 156 games over the last three years.

He doesn't figure to move the needle too much in Colorado, and this move is likely more of a salary cap dump for GM Chris MacFarland.

MacDermid has played 29 games for the Avalanche in 2023-24, scoring two goals. The 29-year-old is up to 30 points in 249 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings and Avs. He was last in the lineup on Feb. 22, and has never played a full NHL season over his seven years in the league. The most he's played in a campaign is 58 games.

He's not the most skilled player, but you always need to know when MacDermid is on the ice; the hulking, 6-foot-5 D-man should help the Devils improve — both in size and depth — down the stretch.

Devils fighting for their playoff lives

New Jersey has struggled mightily to stay healthy this season, and that's especially true on the back end.

“Injuries at defenseman have been an issue for New Jersey this season; Dougie Hamilton has been out since Nov. 28 with a torn pectoral muscle, Jonas Siegenthaler returned to the lineup Feb. 20 after missing 16 games with a broken left foot, and Brendan Smith missed 10 games with a knee injury from Jan. 17-Feb. 12,” wrote

The Devils continue to battle for their playoff lives down the stretch, and didn't do themselves any favors in a discouraging 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Now 30-25-4, the Devils are fourth in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Islanders, five points back of the third-place Philadelphia Flyers, and six behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final wildcard berth in the Eastern Conference.

It's not looking good for New Jersey, who will need to quickly turn things around if they hope to return to the dance come April. They're back in action against the Kings on Sunday.