Today at 5 PM, all thirty teams in the NHL needed to meet salary cap requirements and have no more than 23 men on their active roster. On Saturday, the Devils has 27 men on the roster after they traded Krys Barch to Florida. Like the other teams, the New Jersey Devils were compliant by the deadline. However, they did not go the entirely conventional route to get there.
The team did make two demotions. Keith Kinkaid unsurprisingly went down to Albany since he was the third goalie. There was no issue as he did not have to go through waivers. Cam Janssen did have to go through waivers and he did clear them so he was assigned to Albany today. The final two moves raise a bit of an eyebrow at first glance. As Tom Gulitti reported at Fire & Ice earlier today, the Devils placed Patrik Elias on injured reserve retroactive to last Tuesday and Mattias Tedenby on non-roster injured reserve to get down to 23 men. This means no one else has been cut. Alexander Urbom and Stephen Gionta (among others) remain for now.
I cannot stress the "for now" in that last sentence. As Lou told Gulitti in that Fire & Ice post and as he publicly stated multiple times in the past, "When you have time on your side, you use it." Well, he bought himself a little time. Using IR to keep guys around a little while longer could be pretty clever move. Yet, Elias can be activated on Wednesday and he should be good to go for Thursday. That will mean someone has to go when that happens; the same would apply to Tedenby when he's deemed to be fully recovered. That could mean another demotion or even possibly some other roster player getting moved. I actually wonder whether Lou is close to making a deal (not necessarily a big one, maybe something like the Barch deal) or management is having that much of a struggle deciding which player should go down if he's essentially buying himself one to two days to have more than 23 bodies in New Jersey. That's a bit weird since plenty of bottom-end-of-the-roster players were put on waivers in the past two days and most of them went unclaimed. One would think that if there was a time to put someone on waivers, it would be when most of the league does it so they don't stick out. Oh well.
So unless Lou's got something else planned, I would think that Urbom, Gionta or some other forward should not get too comfortable just yet. Shoes will eventually have to drop, to turn a phrase. Today's usage of IR also means to me that the entirety of the roster isn't set just yet for Thursday's opener at Pittsburgh. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. It's not at all clear yet who will play with who, especially now that Jaromir Jagr is now practicing. On top of that, Martin Brodeur isn't entirely sure about playing even though he did practice. That's entirely understandable; he's grieving. Reading in between the lines, it seems like he'll want to but we'll see. Still, while the Devils met requirements, more decisions have to be made. So it goes during the season.