NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Peter Harrold will make his New Jersey Devils debut Tuesday -- as a forward.
Harrold, who has one goal, 12 points, 26 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating in 41 games with the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany this season, will open at right wing, on a line with left wing Eric Boulton and center Ryan Carter when the Devils host the Buffalo Sabres.
Just because the 28-year-old Harrold is starting the game at forward, however, doesn't necessarily mean he'll remain there the entire game.
"He gives us seven defensemen," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's an opportunity to kind of monitor our defense. He's an extra body if someone is not going and he's capable of helping out on the power play. He has some versatility."
Harrold has 8 goals and 18 assists in 164 career NHL games -- all with the Los Angeles Kings. He signed with the Devils as an unrestricted free agent last summer.
He has played forward in the past with the Kings.
"I played forward two years ago [under then-Kings coach Terry Murray]," Harrold said. "I played there about 20-25 games and it's a little different. You get into it more on the offensive end and I enjoy that part of the game, but playing defense is what counts the most."
The Devils only have six healthy defensemen on the roster, with Andy Greene and Henrik Tallinder sidelined by injuries. Greene resumed skating last week and could be back after the All-Star break.
"The big thing for me is making sure I know the system and I have to be defensively reliable," Harrold said. "I think that's going to be my biggest focus as a forward. Clearly if I can pitch in offensively, I'd like to, but taking care of our own end would be the biggest thing."
The Devils are coming off two straight losses, to the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers, by identical 4-1 scores.
The optional morning skate Tuesday did not include Ilya Kovalchuk, Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, Dainius Zubrus, Bryce Salvador or Brad Mills.
This will be the Devils' final game before the All-Star break. Their next game will be Jan. 31, when they host the New York Rangers.
Here is the projected lineup for the Devils tonight:
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Peter Harrold
Bryce Salvador - Mark Fayne
Matt Taormina - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Kurtis Foster
Martin Brodeur will get his fifth straight start in goal; Johan Hedberg will serve as the backup.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike _morreale