An 0-2-1 start for the Devils has left some wondering what changes will be made to the cap-constrained roster. For now, however, the Devils will carry on shorthanded when they face the Sabres in Buffalo tonight. Here's what to watch for:
In terms of changes on the ice, a few Star-Ledger readers liked the way head coach John MacLean tinkered with his lines against the Penguins, moving Ilya Kovalchuk back to left wing and replacing him on the top line with Jamie Langenbrunner.
But the Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Kovalchuk was back intact at practice on Tuesday, according to Tom Gulitti.
For his part, MacLean says he still has faith in the top line of Kovalchuk-Zajac-Parise. That could change if the combo doesn't produce tonight.
It looks like the Devils will only have 10 forwards tonight, as Anton Volchenkov will be out for the rest of the week, including Friday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche, as well as Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins. Brian Rolston’s time table is also up in the air while the forward undergoes some tests to see if he has a sports hernia. If he does and is placed on long-term IR, that would free up a ton of cap room for the Devils, but they'd still need to clear that space before bringing Rolston back to the lineup. More immediately, the Devs said Monday that fatigue hasn't been a factor in their winless start to the season. We'll see if that stays the case in the third period tonight.
Welcome to the Team
As expected, the Devils used the cap space saved from waiving Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to sign Adam Mair. He skated with the team in the preseason, but should have a little extra energy after officially inking a deal ...
... and because the Sabres are Mair’s former team. Gulitti writes that both Mair and Henrik Tallinder are looking forward to returning to Buffalo.
In Lou We Trust previews tonight’s matchup.
The Post has more on the cap crunch and injury status of Rolston.
The Star-Ledger writes on the Tallinder-Mair return to Buffalo.
Inside this NY Times blog, it’s suggested that, while bringing back The Trap may help the Devils, the team is really snared because of signing Kovalchuk.