The New Jersey Devils lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins was not one to tell home about unless you’re telling home how bad this season has gone. Mackenzie Blackwood is out with injury. Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt went to morning skate, but they aren’t cleared for this game. P.K. Subban is on the COVID-19 protocols. Ty Smith is out with an injury, the first game he will miss all season. So, this is the lineup the Devils are putting out there.
Obviously, Amanda Stein’s lines aren’t in exact order. Lindy Ruff has played different players together (as he started the game with Ryan Murray and Damon Severson on a line). However, it is hard to fathom a lineup as inexperienced and with less upside than this one.
Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes are in the lineup, but there’s not much else to get excited about. The Devils have some experience on the defense, but four of the six players have been healthy scratched or in the minors for most of the season. This also isn’t because they are young defensemen who need time, they aren’t even part of the future of this franchise.
The offense is way too young and a lot of these players could really use seasoning in the AHL. Unfortunately, that’s not how things are going. Hopefully, one day we can look at this lineup and laugh, but tonight it’s the reality of this franchise. After gutting the team during the trade deadline and then seeing most of its really good players out of the lineup, this team just isn’t very good (and the team isn’t very good at full strength).
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The Devils are taking on a Pittsburgh team that really needs these points, so naturally the Devils win-win on the back of Scott Wedgewood.