Michael Ryder isn’t shocked that he has been demoted to the Devils’ fourth line.

But that’s where he found himself in Tuesday’s VIP practice in front of fans on the main rink in Prudential Center.

“Well, I only have one goal in how many games is it? The coach thinks this is the best thing to do for the team, so I just have t work hard and try and earn my ice time back,” Ryder told The Star-Ledger.

“These are what the coach feels are the best combinations, I guess. It’s what he feels we need to win.”

Ryder, who has one goal in 26 games, started practice as the fourth forward in the line with Ryan Carter, Jacob Josefson and Steve Bernier. As practice continued, even defenseman Eric Gelinas skated with that group as a “rover.”

Coach Pete DeBoer was hesitant to call it the fourth line, but said it was a very real possibility Ryder will play there Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

“Yeah, if you call it the fourth line. Third or fourth line, I don’t think it matters,” DeBoer said. “We go into every game with the idea we’re going to play all four lines and then guys sort themselves out as far as how much they’re going to play.”

Ryder views it as the fourth line.