The Ottawa Senators are just two games into their preseason schedule but there have already been a couple stand out performances in what is expected to be an extremely competitive camp.
And while fans have struggled to get a good look at this team through the first couple preseason contests, that should all change on Thursday night when the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs will be played at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa and televised nationally on TSN.
With a couple weeks left in camp, a few thoughts on what we’ve seen from this team so far and what it could mean heading into the regular season both for the Ottawa Senators, and the AHL team down in Binghamton.
-Cory Conacher is off to a strong start. The diminutive winger is one of the players being given a chance to earn a spot in the team’s top six and he’s looked good through the first couple games. It’s far too early to declare a winner but I would give him the edge in the competition for that second line wing spot.
-Rugged defenceman Michael Sdao is certainly doing everything he can to get noticed. He’s not going to make the team this year but with a couple fights and an allegedly thunderous hit vs. the Flames on Monday night, Sdao is making sure management remembers his name. Although after watching his first fight and hearing about the second against McGrattan, he may want to keep his gloves on for the rest of camp.
-We talked a little bit about Buddy Robinson before training camp and the 6’5 forward has not disappointed through a couple games. Robinson scored against the Jets on Sunday and followed that up with a shorthanded beauty against Calgary. There really isn’t room for Buddy right now but he’s forcing his way to the front of the Binghamton call up list.
-Goaltender Andrew Hammond has appeared in both preseason games and looked good in both. The Bowling Green graduate came into camp as a relative unknown but has made the best of his opportunity so far. Hammond will battle Nathan Lawson for playing time with the Binghamton Senators this season.
-Craig Anderson, Colin Greening, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Neil, Jean Gabriel Pageau and Patrick Wiercioch have all yet to see game action in this preseason. Have to think they all suit up against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Erik Karlsson says he also expects to play in that game.
-With four players sent back to Junior, the Senators are down to 52 players left in camp if my count is accurate. There will be more cuts to come but MacLean is likely going to keep guys around a little longer than usual. The Sens close out their preseason schedule with a split squad game so the Sens will need at least 24 forwards, 12 defenceman, and four goalies left to play in those games.
-Sens were on the ice today for practice and sent out the following combinations, according to Sylvain St. Laurent on Twitter-Michalek-Spezza-Ryan, Conacher-Turris-MacArthur, Greening-Zibanejad-Neil, Kassian-Smith-Condra, Cowick-Grant-Puempel Petersson-Pageau-Prince. The defence pairings included Methot-Karlsson, Phillips-Wideman, and Cowen-Wiercioch with Corvo, Claesson, New and Blood rotating in and out.
Paul MacLean suggested that the team will announce their line up for Thursday night's game later this afternoon.