Let’s Do Some Lines

Posted by on December 14, 2011

With the return of Travis Zajac, possibly as soon as Friday, it’s time to look at what the Devils’ lines may look like once he comes back.

First, the easy part: Tim Sestito will likely be the odd man out. Zajac is a center, and Sestito has done nothing to show he deserves to remain with the big club.

That would leave Zajac, Adam Henrique, Ryan Carter and Patrik Elias as the team’s centers.

It might also allow coach DeBoer to finally split up Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise to have two top scoring lines, and a third line that would include a rookie of the year candidate in Henrique, who is currently playing on the top line.

Of course, Zajac will probably get third-line time to start, but you’d think that would last only a handful of games. The lines would likely stay the same, with Zajac centering the third line and Carter shifting to the fourth line to take Sestito’s spot.

Here’s how I’d line up the forwards once Zajac was ready for full-time duties:
(shooting hand in parentheses – Left-handed shot = L; Right-handed = R)

Parise (L) – Zajac (R) – Zubrus (L)
Kovalchuk (R) – Elias (L) – Sykora (L)
Tedenby (L) – Henrique (L) – Clarkson (R)
Boulton (L) – Carter (L) – Janssen (R)

These combinations would allow Parise and Zajac to be reunited, would move Kovalchuk to the second line, and back to the left wing, and would create a pretty good third line that could take regular shifts.

It would also keep Elias at center, something he’s said he’d like to do, and allow Sykora and Zubrus to both play their natural right wing position.

The fourth line would get limited minutes, unless it was a game where you needed bodies thrown around, as well as fists.

No matter what the lines end up being, you can’t argue the fact that the Devils will have solid depth once Zajac returns.

They will have even more depth, and likely more decisions to make as far as line combos go, once Jacob Josefson returns, which could be just over a month away.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and let me know what your line combinations would be.

Last modified on December 14, 2011

Categories: Player News, Team News
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8 Responses to “Let’s Do Some Lines”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I always pictured Henrique centering Kovy and Zajac being on a line with Parise.

    Zajac and Parise always click well and just figured with the chemistry between Kovy/Henrique/Parise now, that DeBoer would keep some of it. But having Henrique center Tedenby and Clarkson makes sense too.

  2. SpeakoftheDevs Says:

    I agree… but that would leave Elias as the third line center, which isn’t happening. The good part is if a certain line isn’t clicking, you can almost mix-and-match all of the top nine forwards for a few shifts to get something going.

  3. Cdiercksen Says:

    Deboer has stated tha the wants to ease Zajac back in. With our top two lines really beginning to click, it’s a no-brainer to insert Zajac between Tedenby and Clarkson, and leave the Henrique and Elias lines intact.

    Eventually, I expect to see your lines, but for starters, I’d like to see how riding the wave goes.

  4. Cdiercksen Says:

    that is literally what you said at the beginning. serves me right for skimming to the line projections. Sorry bud!

  5. SpeakoftheDevs Says:

    Ha, no problem! It will be interesting to see what happens if Zajac has good chemistry with Tedenby and Clarkson to start…

  6. Seldomseen Says:

    It is a good problem for the Devils to have 3 lines, biggest downside will be that moving Henrique to the third line will probably affect his chance of getting the caldor trophy.

  7. SpeakoftheDevs Says:

    I agree that his production might decline, but he should still get PP time, and there could be a lot of shifting around depending on who’s hot. It’s certainly a good problem to have, though.

  8. GGMC Says:

    Very excited about TZ’s return. I agree it is a good problem to have more depth. The drawback is Heqirue gets less ice time and I iked what I saw from the youngster. Nonetheless, it bodes well for the future.

    Don’t forget that Zajac is the subplot for the game as Doc Emirck emcees Scott Niedermayer’s Jesrey Retirement. I’m excited for the ceremony and game tonight. Let’s hope the #27 of few words has some to share with the fans.

    A nice interview piece: Niedermayer on what the Devils fans mean to him. http://bit.ly/uJ7kBH