The Devils needed to clear a roster space to accommodate Alexei Ponikarovsky, which they did this morning.
I'm not gonna go too deep into this, but I will say I'm a little surprised. It makes sense in the fact that he was the last one in, so he stands to be the first one out, but how much of a look did you get at him during one optional skate Wednesday? Obviously the Devils didn't know they'd be trading for Poni when Lou said they wanted to take a couple days to evaluate him. I wonder how much Loktionov's reluctance to play anywhere other than center affected this decision. After all, Pete DeBoer did say yesterday that players need to make themselves flexible if they want to stick on the roster. We can also take this to mean the Devils are happy (for now) with what they're getting out of Jacob Josefson and Stefan Matteau. Loktionov's only way into the lineup was to either usurp Josefson or force the Devils to move him to the wing. As for Matteau, his time on the first line may have finally run out, but it seems he lives to play another day -- although he and Bobby Butler remain the players most likely to be sent down once the Devils need to create another roster spot, be it for Zubrus' return or another reason.