Let’s change the subject, shall we? No negativity this time. I promise.
It’s July 15th and a quick glance at the Senators’ depth chart shows a line up that looks a little crowded as we approach the quite time of the NHL’s off season. With a handful of young players ready to make the jump to the big club this season, there isn’t a whole lot of room. Training camp is still a couple months away but you have to think moving out at least one forward and one defenceman is a priority for Management over the next couple months.
Up front, there appears to 15 or 16 players battling for 12 spots. As we have seen in the past, one way deals and waiver status always plays a big part in the team’s roster decisions. A best guess at the forward combinations on opening night shows that a few players penciled into many fan lineups, may not really have a spot when things start next October.
The most obvious omission from this line up is Curtis Lazar. To listen to Bryan Murray and other members of the Management team talk, it sounds like Lazar is all but assured a nine game audition to start the season. But is there room right now? Jean Gabriel Pageau has spent significant time with the team the past couple seasons but again, may get caught in a numbers game and start the season in Binghamton.
Matt Puempel, Shane Prince and Derek Grant all look pretty close too. In total that’s 18 forwards pushing for 12 spots.
Things aren’t much clearer on the blueline. The depth chart shows 8 NHL ready guys, 7 of which are on one way contracts. Cody Ceci has the only two way contract in the bunch but seemed to cement his place as an NHL regular last season.
Mark Borowiecki is the 8th. The two year contract he signed last year included a one way deal in year two. The organization is obviously really high on him and will want to get him into the lineup on a regular basis this season but again, is there room? Meanwhile in Binghamton, Freddy Claesson looks close to making the jump.
In total, that’s 27 guys fighting for just 18 line up spots. 20 if you include a scratch up front and on defence.
Based on speculation I’ve heard, I think Colin Greening and maybe Erik Condra are candidates to be moved but that depends on finding an interested team. Defence is a little harder to predict but it seems like Patrick Wiercioch is a name that comes up often, despite the fact that the advanced stats have some pretty great things about him.
One thing is certain- if training camp was to start today, it would be a tad crowded. I expect the Senators to address that before the team hits the ice in September.