In this column I will provide all the possible moves the New Jersey Devils can make to add a man to their active roster after assigning Stefan Matteau to Junior Hockey. I am assuming that the Devils will not play Krystofer Barch, Harri Pesonen, and Tom Kostopoulos all in the same game. The one exception may come Tuesday night in the Devils’ rivalry game against the New York Rangers. I also do not expect them to play seven defense-men (Mark Fayne has been a healthy scratch lately) or three goalies anytime soon.
We’ll start with one of the less exciting possibilities: returning from injury.
The Devils have been beat up all season and currently have three players injured. Was Matteau’s QMJHL assignment designed to open up a roster spot for them?
Definitely unlikely, but the most likely in terms of returning from an injury. Zubrus, out since sustaining a wrist injury on February 5 against the Rangers, could really help the struggling Devils offense. The initial assessment was 4-6 weeks on February 14. That would make it almost 5 weeks today. Is Zubrus really close to a return and the Devils just aren’t telling us? I doubt it. I also doubt that this was the reason for no Matteau. Don’t worry: the Devils would find a way to get Zubrus on the roster anyway.
First, the Devils will not dress three goalies. Upon Brodeur’s return, current back up Jeff Frazee will be sent down to Albany. And on top of that, no one knows when Brodeur will return. His injury of soreness has sidelined him since February 24. He may practice today. Good news there but not the reason Matteau was reassigned.
The Devils probably wouldn’t mind if Tallinder doesn’t return this season. He hasn’t performed, and they have a surplus of defense-men. They would be thrilled if someone would want him in a trade, but I doubt that will happen. Check out one of my previous articles on long shot Tallinder trade possibilities here. This Swede wasn’t the reason for Matteau’s assignment to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
Overall, the Devils did not send Matteau down to open up a roster spot for one of their own returning from injury.
This is the first part of what I hope to be four. Part II will examine possible minor league call-ups, while Parts III and IV will be more exciting with possible trades.