With short roster, Devils need to deal

Three games into the 2010-11 season and the Devils are skating a full line short of a full team and still searching for their first win.

Monday, the Devils dropped their first game to the Pittsburgh Penguins in over a season, falling 3-1 at home. Patrik Elias supplied the loan marker for New Jersey, off to an 0-2-1 start overall.

With as much talent as they have, the victories will come soon enough for the Devils, who have skated without a full complement of forwards in their contests against the Stars, Capitals and Penguins. But the roster issues will continue to linger until GM Lou Lamoriello can find a more permanent solution to the salary cap crisis that has dogged the team ever since the signing of free agent Ilya Kovalchuk.

Throwing a little salt on the Devils’ wounds, since the first seven minutes of opening night Kovalchuk is pointless with a minus-5 rating. A bad turnover at the Devils’ blueline on Monday led to the Penguins’ first goal.

Until Lamoriello makes a move to create some cap space, the Devils figure to continue to skate with a minimal roster, meaning fatigue and injuries will impact the team far more than other NHL clubs. While we wait for lasting changes here's some reading to get you ready for the Devs’ next game against the Sabres Wednesday in Buffalo.

Morning Links

  • Penguins D Paul Martin, showered with boos all game long, said he enjoyed scoring an empty-netter against his former team yesterday, according to Tom Gulitti.

  • Also at Fire and Ice, the Devils are trying to keep their heads up and pointed to their strong third-period play yesterday as an example that the short bench isn’t a factor in the losses.

  • Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond’s exile from the Devils could become permanent. After earning a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of Saturday’s loss to the Capitals, New Jersey placed him on waivers. He won’t need to clear re-entry waivers to rejoin the team, but the Devils will need to have salary cap space to accommodate him, which is hardly a certainty.

  • Here’s a lengthy recap of yesterday’s loss on In Lou We Trust, which includes the statement that the team should address its cap crisis immediately. If you thought Lamoriello had no leverage at the trade table at the end of the summer, just imagine how little he wields now.

  • Mark Everson of the Post writes that it’s getting late early for the Devils and sums up their start succinctly:

“The numbers are nasty. The Devils have allowed 14 goals and scored six in opening 0-2-1. They have been outscored 11-2 after the first period. Worse, they haven't opened winless in three games since 2001-02.”