Zibanejad has been amazing this pre-season but i rather have ottawa not burn a year on his contract...its not like we need to make the playoffs right away and then get knocked out first round what's the point.
Greening - Spezza - Filatov
Michalek - Da Costa- Alfredsson
Foligno - Smith/Regin - Butler
Condra - Konopka- Neil
Cowen - Karlsson
Gonchar - Carkner/Kuba
Phillips - Lee
Rundblad can learn the defensive game in the AHL its better for him that is if he agrees to go down.....i really wish we could get rid of Kuba some way....cuz then i'd say keep Rundblad up but w/e i rather just have carkner around for toughness love watching the guy fight
Greening -Spezza-Butler (Filatov isn't working as much as I wanted it too, this line worked last year)
Filatov-Zibanejad-Alfie (very creative line)
Michalek-Da Costa-Condra (Da Costa and Michalek found chemistry, Condra is a smart player)
Foligno-Smith-Neil (I would trade Foligno, dont like his game, O think he still has quite a bit of value to other teams)
13/14F - Konopka, Winchester
7/8D - Carkner, Kuba
*Regin could take Da Costa's spot but I liked Da Costa more.
Have to say having two playmakers with Greening is a Risk. Spezza says he'll shoot more - but that's not his strength.
Butler hasn't done much, but he's not been paired with Spezza either. He is our only sniper at this point. Still curious why Petersson didn't get a sniff all Camp. Maybe he asked coach's daughter out or something.
Greening has size and speed and pretty decent hands.
Greening - Spezza - Alfredsson as line 1
Michalek - DaCosta - Filatov as line 2
Regin - Zibanejad - Condra as our energy line
Foligno - Smith - Neil as our shut down line
Konopka wins face offs and keep the other team honest so he slots in when needed.
Butler goes to AHL at least for 9 games (I assume we can do this) while the Zibanejad/DaCosta experiment is assessed. If not he may have to play with Spezza and Filatov goes down with Alfie sliding
If Regin is not ready, Foligno slides up, Smith Left and Konopka in
Phillips - Lee as our shut down
Cowen - Karlsson as breakout 1
Borowiecki - Gonchar as breakout 2
Carkner keeps them honest
Rundblad goes to AHL for 9 as Borowiecki is evaluated
Kuba is traded or waived (we can carry it all this year)
People need to keep in mind the 23 man roster limit. With Winchester on IR that opens up 1 extra roster spot, but there still isn't enough room on the roster for all of Zibanejad, Filatov, Da Costa, Cowen and Rundblad. We'd have to waive one of Butler, Greening or Condra and send them to the minors to make room for all the rookies, and theres no way those guys will make it through waivers. Waiving Butler would be very similar to Florida waiving Grabner last season, and look how that turned out.
This is how I see things playing out:
-Cowen has most certainly earned his way into the starting lineup
-Zibanejad has the upper hand mostly because if he doesn't make the team, he goes back to Europe for the whole season. We can easily send Da Costa to Bingo while we see if Zibanejad can handle regular season play. If we pick Da Costa over Zibanejad, we're stuck with that choice for the whole season.
-I believe Kuba will be given the chance to re-establish himself at the start of the year, although his play this preseason has been once again underwhelming. He'll be on a very short leash, and I wouldn't be surprised if we payed him to play in Europe this season. I'm sure Kuba would rather play in the Czech league than the AHL, and the team would likely have no problem accomodating that request. That being said, I do think Kuba will at least be given ~10 games to find his groove, so Rundblad will likely start the season in the AHL. I doubt he finishes the season there though, he's improving rapidly.
-Filatov has impressed me, and we have a desperate need for skill on the wings. His speed fits Maclean's system to a T, and he's worked very hard defensively. If it was up to me, he'd be in the starting lineup, although his lack of finish might hold him back. They might want him to head to the AHL to get a little more confidence offensively, but like Rundblad, I doubt he finishes the season there.
Here's my best guess at a starting lineup:
Michalek - Spezza - Filatov
Greening - Zibanejad - Alfredsson
Foligno - Regin - Condra
Smith - Konopka - Neil
Cowen - Gonchar
Kuba - Karlsson
Phillips - Lee
IR - Winchester
Line combos are still very up in the air, but I'd be pretty confident at least in those 12 starting forwards. Butler will get his chance when one of the top 12 get hurt/play poorly, but at this point, he deserves to sit and needs the wakeup call.
P.S. I can't emphasize this enough, but Michalek is NOT a natural RWer. He was drafter as a LWer, played in San Jose as a LWer, and has played his entire tenure here as a LWer. I have no idea how this rumor got started, but it's entirely false. See this: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=951389
- Condra replaces Konopka against teams that are less physical or as an injury replacement.
- Winchester could replace Butler if he doesn't start scoring soon.
- Da Costa replaces Regin if he can't start the season or will replace him if he gets injured again.
Cowen - Gonchar
Kuba - Karlsson
Phillips - Lee/Carkner
- Rundblad starts the yr in Bingo & Carkner replaces Lee when he is healthy & against tougher teams.
- Once Kuba is traded Rundblad will replace him & play with Gonchar while Cowen could play with Karlsson.
- if Carkner or Lee are traded it's possible that Gryba or Boroweicki could replace one of them.
The team would be so much worse off if we replace Lee with Carkner, Gryba, or Boroweicki, regardless of how tough the competition is. I don't think Lee will be traded, I think he will solidify himself as a future Phillips replacement on this team.
I don't see the Sens cutting Rundblad - I think they'll give him a few games to see how quickly he can adapt to the NHL game, and go from there. Eventually, Kuba or Lee has to be moved - Kuba being the preferred option, of course.
My reasoning behind putting Nicky on the top line is because MacLean kept playing him with Spezza from the end of the 2nd and the entire 3rd period last night. Figured he might have seen something from them that no one else did.