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Preseason Game Preview #7: New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins

It’s the final game of our preseason, and the final cuts should come tomorrow.

Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils
We should be seeing Jack Hughes tonight.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (4-2-0) at the Boston Bruins (3-2-0). SBN Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder.

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - NESN. No MSG broadcast.

The Final Roster Spots

Yesterday, the Devils made the decision to put Andreas Johnsson on waivers, seemingly ending his hopes of making the NHL roster out of the preseason. Additionally, they sent down Graeme Clarke, Nolan Foote, Nikita Okhotiuk, and Reilly Walsh, among others. With Tyce Thompson out again due to injury, the remaining forwards that may be cut include Michael McLeod, Mason Geertsen, Alex Holtz, Jesper Boqvist, and Fabian Zetterlund. With Nathan Bastian practicing with the NHL special teams, I think his spot is absolutely safe. With 10 definite forwards on the roster, the Devils will have to select three or four of those player to stay with the team during the regular season.

Whether only one of those forwards is cut or two depends on Simon Nemec. Nemec was a notable omission from cuts yesterday, and the Devils could carry eight defensemen if Bahl and Nemec both make the team. I’m not quite sure where Nemec would play (unless the Devils wanted to run out some lineups with seven defensemen), so I am leaning towards the belief that only one forward will be sent to Utica along with Simon Nemec. Of course, the only forward left who is waiver ineligible is Holtz. Assuming Holtz gets a top six opportunity, someone will have to go through waivers.

That said, tonight is an extremely important game for Jesper Boqvist, Fabian Zetterlund, and possibly Michael McLeod. Boqvist failed in the top center role, miserably, against the Islanders. McLeod was asked to be a second line center and did not do a single thing with the puck except throw it away so he wouldn’t have to handle it. It has not exactly been the most inspiring stuff from those two.

Who Should Sit?

To give all those players a chance, some veterans will have to sit tonight. I think that should include players such as Miles Wood, who may need to ease back into the full schedule when considering the long rehab for his hip that he is coming off of. Tomas Tatar and Ondrej Palat could also get veteran treatment tonight, and I would not be surprised if Bastian was out of the lineup due to the fact he’s played in the last two. To give those players a chance to prove themselves, I think the lines should look something like this:

Bratt - Hughes - Holtz

Sharangovich - Boqvist - Mercer

Tatar - Haula - Zetterlund

Geertsen - McLeod

I think the Devils have to dress seven defensmen tonight if they want to make a more educated choice for Nemec.

Graves - Hamilton

Siegenthaler - Severson

Bahl - Marino


This lineup would get all of the bubble players into the lineup so Lindy Ruff and Tom Fitzgerald can make their final cuts tomorrow. Hopefully when the lines are released later this morning, they indicate that Ruff is giving each of those fringe players a chance to prove they can handle their expected role in the NHL. The exact combinations do not really matter - but I do think Holtz, Boqvist, and Zetterlund should get looks on separate lines.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of tonight’s game? Will you be watching? Who are you rooting for to make the team? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.