New Jersey Devils: Perfect Lineup For 2020-21 Season

Jack Hughes #86 and Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 and Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils /

Forward Line Four

Miles Wood-Travis Zajac-Michael McLeod

The New Jersey Devils don’t need a fourth line that is going to rough you up anymore. Those fourth lines still exist, but they aren’t as needed as they once were. Some teams build their fourth lines with speed, toughness, and maybe even a little bit of skill. It will be good to not have guys like Kevin Rooney or John Hayden contribute almost nothing on the fourth line anymore.

One player who has been a staple to the New Jersey Devils lineup for over a decade is Travis Zajac. He has been the center of just about every line throughout the years. At this point, he would make a very effective defensive-minded fourth-line center. He can go out there with skilled players if needed at any point or win a big faceoff late but in normal five on five play, he could be a great fourth liner.

One thing that might make this feel like more of a modern fourth line is some speed and grit. Miles Wood can provide that. He also takes lots of grief but a lot of it is unwarranted. It isn’t his fault that he has been misused for most of his career. He doesn’t have the best hands to take advantage of his speed which is exactly why he should be on the fourth line. He will have plenty of chances to score playing on a fourth line and you might see the pressure being lifted really help him take his game to the next level.

Michael McLeod has one more chance to prove himself. He isn’t ever going to crack this team’s top six as so many others have come in and passed him by. If he can solidify a bottom-six role for himself in 2021, he will be well off. Playing on the fourth line like this could be really good for him as he will have an opportunity to develop his game offensively and defensively playing with these guys.