There are some pretty significant lineup changes likely for the New Jersey Devils as they take on the New York Islanders Thursday night at Prudential Center, where the Devils will be looking to stop a two game losing streak.
Most importantly, forward Adam Henrique is recovered from his torn thumb ligament and is expected to play. Defenseman Adam Larsson is expected to play in his first game of the season as well.
Jacob Josefson has been moved up to play on the top line and enforcer Cam Janssen has cleared waivers and has been sent to the AHL's Albany Devils.
“It’s nice,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer told reporters about having Henrique back. “I thought we did a great job as a group of everyone stepping up while he was out, but he’s a big part of our team obviously and you can start to slot people in the right spots when he’s in the lineup.”
Henrique will start on the fourth line with Krys Barch and Matt Anderson and may get some time on special teams. But DeBoer said he anticipated Henrique moving to a more substantial role in short order.
“We didn’t really go into detail,” Henrique told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “I think right now we’re going to see how the game’s going, how I feel out there. You never know with special teams how many opportunities there will be and it just allows us to be able to watch my minutes more and ease myself in.”
Henrique, of course, was a Calder Trophy finalist last season after scoring 16 goals and 51 points in his debut season.
As for Larsson, he's in because Mark Fayne has what DeBoer described as a "minor" arm injury.
“Fayners got a minor injury where he’s not 100 percent and it’s an opportunity to put a 100 percent healthy guy in the lineup and get him a game,” DeBoer said of Larsson. “Like we said all along, he’s an NHL player. We just have the luxury of having some depth there, so it’s nice to get him in.”
Stefan Matteau will be a scratch tonight. If he plays in one more game his first-year contract will kick in, and GM Lou Lamoriello is still debating whether Matteau's development is better served with the Devils on a part-time basis or getting more ice time in the junior ranks.
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