The New Jersey Devils had to make two moves yesterday to get to the 23-man roster limit. Most fans thought a trade and a cut was coming, but surprisingly, Lou Lamoriello decided to put Patrik Elias and Mattias Tedenby on the injured reserve list.
The way that works in the NHL is they must be on that list for one week, but since it is backdated, they are eligible to be removed from it Wednesday. With both men practicing today, what are the Devils going to do for opening night?
Lamoriello could be waiting for teams to finalize their roster and then send down a player who he doesn’t want to get claimed. That could be Jacob Josefson or Rostislav Olesz. If he did that, then he wouldn’t be a man of his word since he claims he isn’t sending anyone down with a one-way contract. The only three players on the entire team with two-way contracts are Stephen Gionta, Adam Larsson and Alexander Urbom.
Is he going to send down Gionta and break up the CBGB line? Urbom has a good chance to be sent down at some point, but he needs to go through waivers and could essentially be claimed. In practice, Tedenby, Josefson and Olesz are on the fifth line. Does that mean anything? Is there still another trade in the works before tomorrow to make room? If so, who could it be?
There are too many scenarios that could play out before Thursday’s game to make a guess what Lamoriello will do. He could go back on what he said and send down Josefson, stating that things have changed since he last spoke. It also has a lot to do with how Peter DeBoer wants to play this team. He has depth in his lines for the first time in New Jersey. He is making hard choices that are good ones, instead of which bad player must we keep on the roster.
There are many places he could go. Will he keep Elias on IR to give him some rest after his mysterious injury? Is Tedenby going to stay on IR until he is needed? Again, this is a good problem to have, but one they need to figure out, and quickly.
If I were to venture a guess, Urbom will be sent down immediately before the game and Elias will be activated. He should be able to clear waivers so early in the season. Then the first injury would warrant him to be called up and possibly stay with the team for the rest of the season. Tedenby will indeed stay on IR for the time being, and if he is needed he will come off of it. Josefson and Olesz will start the season as extra forwards and healthy scratches until DeBoer decides to switch it up.