Slumping Devils shake things up, healthy scratch Parenteau and Bennett
Earlier this week we discussed the New Jersey Devils, who -- after getting off to a 9-3-3 start -- have gone 3-7-3 in their last 13 games, culminating with Sunday’s 5-0 blowout loss to the Rangers.
Now they’re shaking things up.
P.A. Parenteau and Beau Bennett, two of the club’s regulars at forward, will be healthy scratched for tonight’s game against St. Louis, per NJ.com.
The most noteworthy of the two is Parenteau, who was claimed off waivers from the Islanders just prior to the season. The veteran has been a good offensive contributor, with 11 points, and is tied for fourth on the team in goals, with six.
Parenteau has been in the lineup for all 28 games this year, averaging a healthy 15:34 TOI per. But he’s also minus-11, and his defensive play has come into question by head coach John Hynes:
Asked Hynes specifically about scratching PAP. Hynes said everybody on the roster has to play a two-way game (backcheck, etc.)— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 15, 2016
As for Bennett, he’s played 24 of 28 games this year, missing a bit of time with a leg laceration. The 24-year-old has seven points and averages just under 14 minutes a night so he, too, played a fairly prominent role up front.
Hynes has taken issue with New Jersey’s physicality recently -- specifically, the club’s lack of it.
“For us, there’s got to be more heaviness,” he said earlier this week. “There’s a physicality that’s missing at times. We feel, as of late, we’ve been an easy team to play against.”
In related news, the Devils are giving Luke Gazdic his regular season and team debut tonight. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound tough guy has spent the majority of this year in AHL Albany, after spending last season in the Edmonton organization.