The loss of 21-year old center Jacob Josefson
to a wrist fracture in Tuesday's game against the Islanders leaves the New Jersey Devils
scrambling a bit to fill his spot on the fourth line.
Heading into Thursday's game in Detroit, Devils coach Peter DeBoer
plans to slide forward Ryan Carter
to center and flank him with Eric Boulton
on the left side and Steve Bernier
on the right.
"We want to find that mix," DeBoer said prior to an optional morning skate here at Joe Louis Arena. "We want to have four lines that we can put out there at any time and some other guys are going to get an opportunity to fill that spot. For me, I've been talking about it for a long time. It's a critical piece for us and we've got to find the right group there."
DeBoer was asked if he thinks the Devils will be a "four-line team" once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
"I don't know," he said. "We'll see. I don't have an answer to that. I want to be comfortable enough that it's an option for us. That's where I want to get to."
Getting center Travis Zajac
back March 25 after an extended injury absence should help in that regard. He fits in as the top-line center, which allows standout rookie Adam Henrique
to slide into the third-line center role. With veteran Patrik Elias
centering the second line, the Devils look particularly strong up the middle.
"It's all about depth this time of year," DeBoer said. "Everyone's got good high-end players. The depth guys are what makes the difference and this team over here [Detroit] is built around depth. You can see the importance of it."