Interesting item from tonight's pre-game media notes. Right wing Matt Halischuk's number has been changed from 63 to 16.
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire claimed to be unaware of the change. In the past, such a number change signifies that a player has made the team, but the Devils still have one more cut to make to get down to the 23-man limit by 3 p.m. Wednesday.
"We're getting there," Lemaire said this afternoon. "I think the next decision will be made in the next couple of days."
Lemaire did say Halischuk would dress for warm-ups tonight, but had not decided yet whether we will play in the preseason finale against the Islanders at Prudential Center. The Devils will dress 13 forwards for warm-ups.
Today's moves to place defensemen Jay Leach and Rob Davison on waivers seemed to indicate that both Andy Greene and Cory Murphy have made the team. Lemaire wasn't willing to commit to that, though.
"They'll be here until other moves," Lemaire said. "We don't know when."
The Devils will have to make "other moves" when they activate left wing Patrik Elias (groin surgery) and defenseman Mark Fraser (probable head injury), but Lemaire seemed to suggest that general manager Lou Lamoriello might do more than that. Options include a waiver pickup today or a trade.
"I think Lou is looking at all the avenues," Lemaire said. "Who can play? Who's the best? Who are you going to send down? Who could be picked up? All of that. That's why a decision will be made, like many other teams, at the last minute."
I had speculated earlier that Halischuk would be the most likely to be cut because he does not need to clear waivers to be sent down. The number change seems to indicate he might be staying.
We'll have to wait until Wednesday.
If the Devils were looking at a waiver pick-up, here are the players that were placed on waivers today.
ATLANTA: D Nathan Oystrick; COLUMBUS: D David Liffiton, LW Alexandre Picard, D Mathieu Roy; EDMONTON: LW Liam Reddox; FLORIDA: C Jeff Taffe; NASHVILLE: C Cal O'Reilly; ISLANDERS: C Greg Moore; PHOENIX: C Ryan Hollweg; PITTSBURGH: LW Ryan Bayda; D Paul Bissonnette, D Deryk Engelland; D Nate Guenin; RW Chris Conner; TAMPA: D Matt Lashoff. D Mike Lundin; TORONTO: G Joey
MacDonald; VANCOUVER: D Michael Funk, D Brad Lukowich; D Lawrence Nycholat; WASHINGTON: LW Chris Bourque .
What is Lemaire looking for from Rob Niedermayer tonight in his first preseason game with the team after signing a one-year, $1 million deal on Friday?
"Just a solid game," Lemaire said. "The type of game he's been playing all of his career, that's what I'm looking for. To learn the system, learn what we want, try to do it, play solid everywhere on the ice. But mainly to learn how we want to play the game because it's a little different, just a little,"
Lemaire believes Niedermayer will be able to take a regular shift tonight.
"Instead of 40-45 seconds [per shift], he's just got to go 30," Lemaire said. "He'll be fine."