After a five hour flight delay that saw the Devils reach Edmonton at 11:30 PM on Tuesday evening, New Jersey hit the ice to practice at Rogers Place and the lines deployed by head coach John Hynes are interesting, to say the least.
The Devils forward group looks like something put together as a Hail Mary attempt to get the offense going.
Taylor Hall/Blake Coleman/Kyle Palmieri
Beau Bennett/Travis Zajac/P.A. Parenteau
Miles Wood/Adam Henrique/Nick Lappin
Michael Cammalleri/Sergey Kalinin/Devante Smith-Pelly
Pavel Zacha/Jacob Josefson/Luke Gazdic
Zacha, Josefson and Gazdic comprise what amounts to the fifth line as all have spent time as healthy scratches this season. It looks doubtful that any of them will play on Thursday night.
Coleman getting to center Hall and Palmieri is icing on the cake for the young Devils forward who was called up to New Jersey on Tuesday and will be making his NHL debut. He joined the team in Edmonton after getting his things in order in Albany.
Cammalleri being demoted to the fourth line will be tough to handle for the Devils veteran who has struggled this season, outside of a few outbursts in Carolina.
On defense, Karl Stollery, who was also called up with Coleman, is rotating with Seth Helgeson, so one of the other will play, but not both.
Andy Greene is not with the team at the moment so will at least miss the game against the Oilers. Look for Jon Merrill and Ben Lovejoy to get the tough assignments on Thursday. They will be tasked with trying to keep up with Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid was a terror for the Devils defense on Saturday night where he had eight shots on goal.
The game at Rogers Place will be Taylor Hall’s first game back in Edmonton, and his first trip to the newly opened arena following his off-season trade to New Jersey. Hall said it took him a period to focus on just playing hockey on Saturday night after facing his Oilers teammates for the first time.
Hall, who spent six seasons in Edmonton after being drafted first overall in 2010 looked like he was trying to beat the Oilers on his own, and his turnover in overtime led the Travis Zajac penalty which resulted in Edmonton’s overtime goal.
The Devils will be looking for a better effort come Thursday night, and judging by the line combinations, it seems like coach Hynes is desperate to find something that will keep his bosses happy.