Yesterday, Andrew Gross reported at Fire & Ice that Sergey Kalinin would be activated from injured reserve for tonight’s game against Minnesota. Space on the active roster needed to be made in order to do that. Earlier this afternoon, the New Jersey Devils created that space on the roster. Gross reported at Fire & Ice that forward Miles Wood has been demoted to the Albany Devils in the American Hockey League. Subsequently, the team activated Kalinin.
Wood was one of two forwards on the Devils roster that could be moved without going through waivers. As Blake Speers - who can still be sent back to Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL - was practicing on a line yesterday, it was not likely going to be him after all. While Wood made the team out of training camp and appeared in the team’s first two games, he was on a “fifth line” all week in practice. The writing was on the wall that he would be sent to the AHL and now he has. I think that’s the best place for 21-year old. This is his first professional season and he should be on a team where he’ll play and more than just a handful of minutes per game. Albany will provide that environment. Don’t be surprised if we see him back in New Jersey as a call up later in this season, though. He didn’t make the team out of necessity; the coaches like something about him.
As for Kalinin, this will be his 2016-17 season debut. He was held out due to illness after the team’s last preseason game. In order to make space on the roster for Wood and Speers, he was put on IR. Now that he’s healthy and he’s been practicing, he’ll suit up to play tonight. This Tweet by Andrew Gross confirms that he’ll start on a fourth line with Vernon Fiddler and Devante Smith-Pelly. That would be a good place for him to start. He was primarily a bottom-six player last season and as this is his season debut, he can be limited on an as-needed basis as he gets the proverbial rust off.
Expect Kalinin on a line with Fiddler and Smith-Pelly. Zajac likely to center Cammalleri and Speers.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) October 22, 2016
I am also quoting this Tweet as it suggests another change from Friday’s practice. Speers practiced with Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique on Friday. Gross is saying that he’ll be with Michael Cammalleri and Travis Zajac instead. If that’s true, then Kyle Palmieri will join Hall and Henrique instead. That’s an interesting change. We’ll see how long it lasts tonight.