Another day, another injury for the Devils, who, despite the growing list of injured players, have remained at the top of the Eastern Conference. This last one, however, may really come back to hurt them. Clarkson had seven goals and eight assists so far this season, and was doing a great job on the Devs' third line (for most of the year, he was on that line). He is going to be greatly missed on the powerplay, as he did a great job in front of the net.
Where I think this really hurts the Devils is their depth after the second line. Their first two lines (Parise-Zajac-Bergfors, Rolston-Elias-Langenbrunner) have been doing a nice job, and have been productive. Now, however, without the likes of Clarkson, Danius Zubrus, Jay Pandolfo, and others, the third and fourth lines are in a ton of trouble. Guys like Dean McAmmond and Matt Halischuk, who were not seen as anything close to important when the season started, are going to have to step up for New Jersey. I have liked the way McAmmond has moved the puck, and it looks like Halischuk has potential as well. However, combined, the two have a mere goal, and Halischuk, who has that tally, has been very frustrated with his lack of being able to find the back of the net. Another forward who will be important is Tim Sestito, who has done a very nice job of moving the puck so far. Although he only has one point, I have been impressed with his play, and hope he can improve, as the Devils so desperately need him to. It looks like Andrew Peters, who I am anything but happy with, will be an everyday player for the time being. Peters does not have a point thus far, and his penalties (although there haven't been TOO many) have hurt the Devs.
Today, the Devils called up forwards Iikka Pikkarainen and Vladimir Zharkov, while sending down defenseman Tyler Eckford (who was played at right wing recently). Zharkov, at the young age of 21, appears to have some talent, and was leading Lowell in points with six goals and 14 assists. If he can provide some scoring for New Jersey, it could go a long way. As for Pikkarainen, his mere one assist has shown that he has been a disappointment for the Devils, and, specifically, for Lou Lamoriello, who was very high on him in the offseason. If he can find something, however, it could really help the Devils latter lines.
The Devils are going to have a really tough time dealing with all of these injuries. Clarkson may hurt the most, as he was having a very nice start. However, the way the Devils have persevered so far, and through the years, you have to think they can do the same now. Hopefully, somebody returns soon, whether it be Oduya, Martin, Pandolfo, or another skater, and the team becomes stronger again. The Devils third and fourth lines are going to struggle; as should be expected, given the literal no-names that will play on them. However, you have to give them a chance, and hope that the Devils can, once again, shine through all of these injuries.