Carter Practices, Skates With Fourth Line

The Devils arrived in Winnipeg on Wednesday and held a 1:30 p.m. practice at the arena. As for participants, everyone on the trip took part, including Ryan Carter.

Carter, who has been sidelined by concussion-like symptoms, skated on the fourth line, rotating in and out with Stefan Matteau, Krys Barch, Bobby Butler and recent callup Tim Sestito. The rejiggered fourth line is part of Pete DeBoer’s recent trend of trying new forward combos over the past week in an attempt to wake up the Devils’ slumping offense.

Here are the other line pairings for the day:

Corey Griffin

The biggest question for me is whether Carter practiced with or without contact. All the Devils would say is that he’s on the trip and that he participated in practice. If he skated with contact, that would pretty much indicate he could return as soon as tomorrow. However, if he’s still restricted, my guess is they’d hold him out at least one more game due to the nature of his injury. We likely won’t know anything more official until tomorrow’s morning skate, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

As for the line combos, this is the second straight day of DeBoer trying Loktionov with Kovy and Henrique, which is a tasty combo in my eyes. I like what I’ve seen of Loktionov offensively thus far and I think this trio could do some damage for a brief time. Eventually, Henrique will likely return to centering a line because that’s where DeBoer is more comfortable playing him. That also means Loktionov is basically destined to return to the fourth line at some point despite his potential. The fact that Loktionov is uncomfortable anywhere other than center is a huge impediment to his playing time because he’s not better than either Henrique or Zajac at this point. The Elias-Zajac-Clarkson line played well at times Sunday and that might be a line that sticks together for the foreseeable future. There’s been a lot of thought along the lines that Henrique is a better fit as Kovy’s center and I like the way Zajac and Elias have meshed when paired together this season. One thing’s for sure, tomorrow’s morning skate should be very interesting.