Gordon, to me, is the third-most important guy on this team and its success. He doesn't get a lot of exposure or flashy stats, but the guy makes everybody better around him and he does all the little things that put the team in position to win. He's a better player at center, and he's firmly established himself in that position with both his preseason and last year's play.
As Strung said, he and Steckel played very well together as a defensive unit during Hershey's Calder Cup run, so it's logical to them together again. But Steckel still has to prove that he can play against the NHL's top lines in meaningful games, 'cause that will be his assignment.
I really like Mike Green's game. He has excellent hockey sense and a big heart. He will make mistakes that lead to chances against but he will learn to pick his spots. He already has improved at that. And he is good about rushing back when things go awry. His puck control is excellent.
Jurcina, Green and Poti all looked solid. I didn't see enough of the other guys to have an opinion one way or the other. Schultz looked fine on the 4-5 shifts I saw of him.
Backstrom looks really good out there. It'll take him awhile to get fully acclimated to the NHL and the new culture (of course) but it looks like he will be able to do the things he did in the SEL in the NHL. His passing, dangling and puck control are first rate. If he learns to shoot the puck we'll have ourselves a legit 1st line center in a couple years.