Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Decision day sees no surprises

The Sens trimmed the fat this morning, reducing the roster down to 28 players. No real shocks on who didn't make the grade, though I'm sure a few fanboys online will shed some tears at one particular demotion.

Firstly, a gang of players were sent back to their junior teams. Cody Bass was sent back to Mississauga, Nick Foligno to Sudbury, and Tomas Kudelka to Lethbridge of the WHL. All three had good spurts in this pre-season but none made a definitive impact or played well enough that you thought they warranted consideration for the big club. Yet.

Bass is a kid I've followed for some time now. He brings a ton of work ethic, tenacity, and do-or-die to an organization that doesn't have much of it. In the Pittsburgh game a week ago, Bass played very well but wasn't able to maintain that level of play for the rest of camp. Still, he's not even 20 yet and another year in the OHL, perhaps followed by a season down in Binghamton, will really help his game. I'm excited about where he'll be two or three years from now.

Foligno is built along the same lines. The odds of him ever developing into a top six forward aren't great, but he seems tailor-made for the third line, chipping away at the opposition and scoring big, timely goals when they're necessary, something I imagine that's in his DNA.

As for Kudelka, he's also a few years away, and the team has such decent depth on the blueline that I can't see him being in a Sens uniform for some time.

Sent to the fledging Binghamton version of the Sens were goalies Jeff Glass and Kelly Guard, defencemen Neil Komadoski, Charlie Cook, and Neil Petruic, and forwards Jeff Heerema, Arttu Luttinen, Brian Maloney, Grant Potulny, Danny Bois, Andrew Ebbett, Chanse Fitzpatrick, Cory Pecker, Bobby Robbins, and Ryan Vesce.

The one name that will likely upset, or at the very least disappoint some is Luttinen, the (allegedy) gritty Finnish winger who many vocal pundits online expected to make the club this season. I never quite bought into that hype, but based on how others were billing him, I certainly thought he'd make more of an impact than what I saw Friday night against the Sabres, where he was mostly invisible.

And while Luttinen has been presented by his fans as a tough player, he's still yet to play a single real game of North American hockey, so maybe a year of that will help round out his game and 12 months from now, perhaps with some roster spots available, he'll be better suited to make a run at a job with Ottawa.


That said, I know a lot of you are sad. Don't fret too much.

The other name of interest is Jeff Heerema. I wonder if he's where Denis Hamel was a year ago. Penciled in as a minor leaguer and nothing he does in the short term can change that. I'd think a guy who scored 74 points in 77 games on a pretty rotten Binghamton team last season would at least survive the first cut solely based on that, and the club wanting to get a better look at him, but shows what I know. Even if he has had a pretty ordinary camp thus far, doesn't 74 points give him some leeway?

I know I, for one, would've liked to see how he fared paired up with some of the regulars in a pre-season game or two, but like with Hamel, perhaps his destiny was written before camp even began. I do know a lot of the moves the Sens made this offseason were about strengthening a very weak Binghamton team, a team that struggled badly last season, and I'm sure Heerema and his 74 points are a big part of that, but let's see what he's made of and if he has anything to offer the big club in the immediate future.

In the nets, both Glass and Guard had solid pre-seasons, doing themselves favors in establishing some notorioty among the fanbase. Glass in particular was said to be ridiculously good in Saturday night's win over Philadelphia, and might be the goalie to watch in a few years.

The remaining club, if you're curious, is:
G Ray Emery
G Martin Gerber
D Wade Redden
D Chris Phillips
D Andrej Meszaros
D Joe Corvo
D Tom Preissing
D Christoph Schubert
D Anton Volchenkov
D Michal Barinka
D Andy Hedlund
D Tomas Malec
D Jamie Allison
F Daniel Alfredsson
F Jason Spezza
F Dany Heatley
F Mike Fisher
F Patrick Eaves
F Peter Schaefer
F Antoine Vermette
F Chris Neil
F Chris Kelly
F Dean McAmmond
F Denis Hamel
F Alexei Kaigorodov
F Brian McGratton
F Josh Hennessy
F Serge Payer

There aren't many jobs to be won, and I suspect they're keeping the Josh Hennessys and Michal Barinka's around to get better looks at them and see how they fare when playing with and against better calibre talents, possibily so they know who to pencil in as the first call ups when the inevitable injuries occur.

1 Comments:

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Tom L said...

Chris,

I'm pulling for Hamel to make the squad. I've alwasy had a soft spoit for him from his time with the Sabres.

See you at the roundtable...

Ta,

 

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