Devils rookie d-man Gelinas to play ‘rover,’ isn’t really sure what’s going on

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New Jersey defenseman Eric Gelinas’ had a fine campaign, scoring 27 points in 53 games while emerging as one of the best offensive rookie defensemen in the league.

As such, the Devils are going to start playing him at forward.

“They call the position rover. I don’t know what’s going on,” Gelinas said, per the Star-Ledger. “I switched jerseys twice today, so I have to be ready for anything, I guess.”

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Gelinas has the size and skating ability to make for a pretty effective forward. He got a sniff playing the rover spot (flipping between wing and defense) in Sunday’s win over Toronto and did well enough to possibly warrant another look on Thursday against Phoenix.

What’s more, the Devils are, how to put this, more “conservative” when it comes to lineup choices — so the idea of using veteran journeyman Peter Harrold on the back end, while still keeping Gelinas in the lineup, made plenty of sense.

By their standards, the Devils are already inexperienced enough on D. Another rookie, 21-year-old Jon Merrill, is averaging close to 20 minutes per game — and with the Devils right in the thick of the playoff chanse, Gelinas realizes his move up front is more a byproduct of the situation than a long-term position change.

“I’m a big guy and I’m pretty fast. If I can bring some energy, which is what I was trying to do last game as a forward, when the power play comes I do what I do,” he explained.

“It’s all about helping the team. If everyone does their job, I think we can win some games. We have a good group here. I’m really not focused about where I play. I’m just trying to help out.”

New Jersey gets shut out for second straight game


The best news to come out of this weekend for the New Jersey Devils might just be that this weekend is just about over.

The Minnesota Wild added insult to injuries on Sunday, shutting out a damaged Devils team 4-0. New Jersey was also blanked by Ray Emery and the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 on Saturday.

Combine those demoralizing defeats with injuries to the likes of Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Peter Harrold, Jon Merrill and carryover headaches with Ryane Clowe and Bryce Salvador and things are just miserable for head coach Peter DeBoer’s group right now.

Sometimes teams want to get the next possible opportunity for redemption, yet deep down, the Devils might be glad that they have off until Thursday’s road game against the Flyers. They’re banged up and not playing very well – it’s not just bad puck luck, as New Jersey fired 33 shots on goal in these past two losses – so a little time to heal up and refresh could be very valuable.

On Minnesota’s end, Jason Pominville scored his 10th goal of 2013-14 while Nino Niederreiter collected three assists. Josh Harding got his fourth consecutive win and second shutout of the season.

More Devils injury woes: Volchenkov out with lower-body injury


Zach Parise might be facing his old team on Sunday night, but don’t blame him if he notices a lack of familiar faces. Anton Volchenkov is the latest New Jersey Devils player to be added to the injured list with a lower-body issue, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

This comes on the heels of word that fellow blueliner Peter Harrold had an MRI and will be out “a while.”

And the team is already without Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac, who didn’t even travel with the team to Minnesota. Oh yeah, Ryane Clowe and Bryce Salvador have been banged up for a while, too …

Devils head coach Peter DeBoer admits this is about as bad as things have been for him in New Jersey, injury-wise.

“I think so. I think that’s fair to say,” DeBoer said. “We’ve been fairly healthy. It seems like when it rains it pours. With Salvador out and Clowe out, and Zajac and Elias going down.The unfortunate part is a couple (injuries) aren’t even game-related. They’re either practice or pre-game ritual related.”

Those must be some dangerous rituals.

Devils moves: Schneider off IR, Harrold on it; Merrill called up


The New Jersey Devils had some activity going into their game on Sunday against Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild.

The team activated goalie Cory Schneider off of injured reserve and put defenseman Peter Harrold on it. They’ve recalled 2010 second-round pick Jon Merrill from Albany to take Harrold’s place.

According to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, Schneider’s return means he’ll start in Minnesota against the Wild.

Meanwhile, Merrill’s recall could put him in line to play in his first NHL game. The former University of Michigan standout spent part of last season in the AHL after departing college. Harrold hasn’t played since October 22.

Elias (illness) returns to Devils after two-game absence

New Jersey will have veteran winger Patrik Elias back in the lineup tonight when it takes on Vancouver at the Prudential Center.

Elias, 37, missed the Devils’ last two games — a 4-0 win over the Rangers and a 4-1 loss to Columbus — with a mystery illness, one he chalked up to possibly being food poisoning.

The Devils could certainly use his offense in the lineup. Elias had four points through the first seven games of the year, averaging over 18 minutes per night — on Thursday, he’s expected to skate on the club’s top line between with Andrei Loktionov and Jaromir Jagr.

In other lineup news, team captain Bryce Salvador will miss tonight’s contest while on bereavement leave. AHL callup Eric Gelinas will likely draw in on defense to replace Salvador, meaning Peter Harrold will likely be a scratch, along with Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby.