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Making the cut

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09-30-2009, 05:43 PM
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Making the cut

Today was the NHL's final deadline for roster cuts. Making the club out of camp doesn't guarantee a complete season, but it is something to be excited about. So who did you have who broke camp with an NHL team for the first time.

For the Canucks:

Mika Pyorala - Philadelphia

This was not unexpected in the least. When Pyorala signed in Philly, it looked like he had a roster spot to lose, but the same was said for Jari Viuhkola a couple years ago, so you never know. He didn't make huge waves in camp, but he's starting the season on Mike Richards' wing, which is about a best case scenario.

Zenon Konopka - Tampa Bay

I think I'm more happy for Konopka as a 67s fan than a keeper league GM. He's had a few cups of coffee before, but breaking camp is something different. He had a one-way deal, but so did Adam Hall, Ryan Craig and Brandon Bochenski who the Lightning still cut. I can't imagine there are many, if any, players who have worked harder to get to where they are than Konopka. Even as a junior player he was an overachiever.

Jason Demers - San Jose

I had some doubts about giving Demers a three year contract last year. After all he was passed over twice in the NHL draft, and was only a 7th rounder in 2008 when San Jose finally took him. I didn't think he had much of a chance of pushing for a roster spot this year, let alone winning one, but it appears he's getting the first crack at the #6 position in San Jose, over older, higher-touted guys like Derek Joslin and Mike Moore.

Jason Garrison - Florida

Like Demers, Garrison was a pretty under the radar rookie signing last summer, but I actually figured he had a good shot at a spot this year. Florida is carrying eight blueliners right now, so whether Dmitry Kulikov plays past the 9th game of the season could determine where Garrison plays. Nonetheless, he is in Florida's plans, which is a good thing.

Missing the Cut

Two players were final cuts. Jeff Taffe was in the same situation as Zenon Konopka, and was Florida's final cut. I bet he'll play a fair bit on their fourth line this year, but that's it. Zack Smith was the Senators' final cut up front for a second straight year, but he was less impressive this time around and was completely and blatantly leapfrogged by Peter Regin.

Otherwise, a handful of players were in consideration, but were out of the picture before the last few days. In terms of guys I thought had a chance, Jon Kalinski went surprisingly early for the Flyers, but his rookie bonuses means that his cap hit work against him. Tyler Eckford got good reviews in camp, and apparently Scott Stevens is extremely high on him, but this wasn't his year.

Two guys from Chicago stuck around longer than expected, Brian Connelly and Brian Bickell. Both outlasted more highly touted youngsters, a good sign for both. Connelly just needs a good year as a rookie, but Bickell has more on the line. Last year was a bit of a wash out because of injury, but this is his last chance of any kind. In Anaheim, Dan Sexton had a great camp, but is too young and underdeveloped physically to play quite yet.

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09-30-2009, 06:03 PM
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For the Panthers...

James Van Riemsdyk
Had a dynamite training camp and preseason and really cemented his place in the Flyers line up. Starting on the third line with Claude Giroux, whom he developed good chemistry with during camp. I'm hopeful he can have a really solid rookie season.

Alec Martinez
Cracked the Kings defense for opening night, which was definitely a nice surprise for me. He's apparently being paired with Drew Doughty to start as well, which is an even larger surprise. We'll see how he does and if he lasts.

Matt Moulson
Made the Islanders, which was also a huge surprise, considering many of the Isles fans figured he was depth filler for the AHL level. I think he's still got potential to be a scorer in this league and is starting on a line with John Tavares after potting 4 goals in the preseason.

Benn Ferriero
Was demoted today, but I've read that it was only for cap reasons. San Jose is so terribly close to the cap, they can't afford to have any extra bodies (thus the explanation for them carrying only 20 players right now, with Torrey Mitchell injured for 4-6 weeks). Apparently Ferriero will be "called" back up to replace Mitchell on the 3rd line to start the season. He also had a dynamite preseason. We'll see if he carries it over.

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09-30-2009, 06:08 PM
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Making it:

Viktor Stalberg -- Really the only surprise on the list.

Chris Stewart
Matt Smaby

Both of these played a lot last season, and were considered close to a sure thing.

Missing out:
Cal O'Reily ugh. Pretty much handed the job going into camp but blew it.

Darren Helm expected to have a spot, but how many forwards did the Wings sign?

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10-01-2009, 12:48 AM
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Predators prospects $h!t the bed this year in their camps.
Kyle Turris, Colton Gillies, Andreas Nödl all were more or less safe bets to make their team have missed out. Also Dustin Jeffrey, Matt Beleskey, John Negrin and Mikko Lehtonen were expected to make a push at least, but failed. And that list could be a lot longer if i included the longshots who could have had a chance to surprise... A year ago everything looked a lot better

Making the cut this year:

LW Jamie McGinn - looks like he has secured a spot on the 3rd line for the Sharks. Has played very good in the preseason games and should be a regular in only his 2nd pro season.

G Thomas Greiss - the 2nd player making the cut, the 2nd Shark (i like Sharks)... Greiss will be the Backup for Evgeni Nabokov to start the season and his performance will determine if he is going to be there all season or if he forces the Sharks to sign a veteran replacement.

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10-01-2009, 02:43 AM
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For Colorado:
Sergei Shirokov - Vancouver. Impressive camp where he looked like he belonged on the wing of the Sedin's. Could be where he starts the season.
Peter Regin - Ottawa. 2nd or 3rd line center. Expected to play with Kovalev. Could rack up good points.
Tyler Sloan - Washington. Got a few games last season and is a favourite of the coach. Is expected to play on the 3rd pair/7th D
Richard Wallin - Toronto. Will play on one of the lower lines in Toronto.

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10-01-2009, 10:29 AM
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Guess I'll just update to this thread instead of my other

For Detroit:
Luca Sbisa (ANA) - While I had him penciled in Carlyle had stated that if Sbisa wasn't one of their top 4 dmen he would send him back to the CHL (still not eligible to be sent to the AHL) so I was somewhat unsure.

Daniel Larsson (DET) - He's clearly making it difficult for Detroit to decide and opening in Sweden probably played a part in them deciding to keep 3 goalies up.

Mike Santorelli (NSH) - Well the Santorelli vs. Hornqvist decision appears to be postponed as Nashville's 23 man roster has 3 extra forwards.

Claude Giroux - Not a huge surprise but the competition was still significant and did have a bit of a setback with Pyrola stealing his 2nd line RW spot away dropping him to 3rd.

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10-01-2009, 02:13 PM
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Columbus prospects making the cut:

C John Mitchell - not a surprise after his performance last season, but with so many talented young forwards in camp, Mitchell couldn't afford to stumble. Fortunately, he had a strong camp and will provide the muscle centering a tweener third unit with Rickard Wallin and Lee Stempniak.

LW Max Pacioretty - starting the season on Montreal's top line with providing muscle for Gomez and Gionta (although he may not be on the first PP unit)

G Semyon Varlamov - he of the many spellings is backing up Jose Theodore in Washington, but Theo appears to be a very very short leash -- expect Varlamov to be the starter within the next couple of months.

C Trevor Lewis - Starting the season on the Kings' fourth line, but they appear comfortable moving him up in the roster as needed, so he may earn more icetime in the event of injuries.

C Brian Boyle - Anchoring the blueshirts' fourth line. Brian won't see a lot of ice, which should slow his development, but he was always a long-term project.

Missing the cut:

L/RW Nikolai Kulemin - lukewarm preseason effort resulted in his being bounced from the Leafs (for now) in favour of guys like Viktor Stalberg (outstanding pre-season), Rickard Wallin (great defensive play) and Jay Rosehill (physical). Stempniak's decent pre-season may have been a factor as well, since Kulemin is waiver-immune. Nik will have to work on his game with the Marlies while waiting for one of the established wingers to struggle or get hurt. ***EDIT: Apparently the Leafs have recalled Kulemin, making room by putting Kessel on LTIR. Not sure the point of this, unless he's going to be in tonight's lineup. I'd rather he was going to be getting top-line icetime with the Marlies than sitting in the Press Box at the ACC, but whatever.)

G John Curry - writing was on the wall when Pittsburgh signed Brent Johnson to back up Marc-Andre Fleury, but Curry showed in camp he's a good third option. He'll split starts in WBS with Brad Thiessen.

C/LW Zach Boychuk - showed well in Hurricanes' camp, but needs to get better defensively, add strength and show he can stay healthy. He'll likely be the first call-up if a top-9 forward goes down.

C Andrei Loktionov - wasn't expected to challenge for a spot, but impressed the Kings in camp and will be a go-to guy offensively for the Manchester Monarchs.

C/LW Trevor Smith - versatile two-way forward a late cut from the Isles, will be among the first call-ups.

C/RW Patrice Cormier - was a dark horse for center duties with the Devils until the signing of Rob Niedermayer, has gone back to Rimouski, will stand a good shot at a roster spot next season.

W Chris Conner - was looking to be Tyler Kennedy's replacement on Pittsburgh's third line, until they claimed Chris Bourque off of waivers. Will start in WBS.

***EDIT: Almost forgot, one more guy was a late cut: LW Rob Klinkhammer (signed, but not showing up on my roster yet) was surprisingly decent at the Blackhawks' camp, and will play a two-way checking role for Rockford this season. Along with guys like Boyle, Smith, Lewis, Byers and others, the Jackets should be in good shape for bottom-6 forwards for the next decade. Top-6 forwards, on the other hand...

Other notes from camp:

D Ladislav Smid has shown good chemistry with Lubomir Visnovsky, and will skate on Edmonton's second pairing.

D Marc Giordano has also earned second-pairing duties, and is playing with Dion Phaneuf.

D Kurt Foster will see #1 PP duties in Tampa.

LW Dustin Penner has been bumped off the top line in Edmonton in favour of J-F Jacques. Observers are suggesting this isn't permanent, more of a message being sent to Dustin. We'll see.

Last edited by Ohio Jones: 10-01-2009 at 04:27 PM.
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10-03-2009, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by HFNHL Red Wings GM View Post
Claude Giroux - Not a huge surprise but the competition was still significant and did have a bit of a setback with Pyrola stealing his 2nd line RW spot away dropping him to 3rd.
That 2nd line RW spot was never Giroux's. The surprise is really that he's starting the season teamed with JVR instead of Briere.

Anyhow, for the Ducks, there were a few surprises...

D Teemu Laakso won a spot in Nashville's top six over fellow youngsters Alexander Sulzer, Cody Franson, and Jonathan Blum. With the Preds' recent signing of Francis Bouillon, there's competition for the #5 & #6 spots on the blueline, so Laakso's got his work cut out for him.

C Ryan O'Reilly appears to at least be getting an extended look with the Colorado Avalanche. Scoring a point in his first NHL game on Thursday, O'Reilly is the second youngest player to ever suit up for the Avs/Nordiques (the youngest being Owen Nolan).

F Kevin Porter broke camp on the Phoenix Coyotes roster. However, after the very late addition of Robert Lang to the team, Porter was assigned to San Antonio on October 1st. Obviously, there's a bit of a numbers game going on in Phoenix right now (in more ways than one), but for the time being, Porter's status seems to be cemented as first call-up.

D Ben Lovejoy injured his shoulder towards the end of training camp, forcing the Penguins to sign Martin Skoula. Once Lovejoy returns, he figures to be part of the puzzle at the back end of the Pittsburgh blueline.

D Davis Drewiske held onto his spot in the Kings' top six after finishing strong in that role last season. That said, with D Thomas Hickey being a late cut at camp, methinks Drewiske would be unwise to let himself get too comfortable in LA.

W Michael Repik made the Florida Panthers, but has been a healthy scratch for the team's first two games in Helsinki. Repik's first pro season in Rochester was a good one, but it's clear at this point that he's going to have to make the most of limited chances at the NHL level.

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