Jason Spezza congratulates David Rundblad on sticking with the team. For now.
The Ottawa Senators reduced their roster by five players today, and the biggest surprise is that there weren't more cuts. The Sens sent Mike Hoffman, Mark Borowiecki, Kaspars Daugavins, Patrick Wiercioch, and Robin Lehner back to Binghamton. The players who were sent down were long shots to make it, and while they would have made for a nice story, there simply wasn't room on the roster for them.
This leaves a 25-man roster of:
F: Daniel Alfredsson, Bobby Butler, Erik Condra, Stephane Da Costa, Nikita Filatov, Nick Foligno, Colin Greening, Zenon Konopka, Milan Michalek, Chris Neil, Peter Regin, Zack Smith, Jason Spezza, Jesse Winchester, Mika Zibanejad.
Remember how it was Cowen vs. Rundblad for the last spot on the blueline, and Zibanejad vs. Da Costa vs. Regin for that second line centre spot? Yeah, that story was a bit overhyped by everyone (including us) it appears -- all of them are still with the team.
Of the four rookies who were vying for a spot, it sure feels like only Cowen's spot is secure. Rundblad still doesn't look like an NHL quality defender in his own zone, Da Costa didn't have many preseason games, and Zibanejad still has a nine-game window where he can be sent back to Sweden without burning a year of his entry level contract. Cowen obviously has to continue to play well or he could be sent down to Binghamton, but given his impressive preseason, he should be feeling pretty comfortable.
I'm still not sure what happens with Konopka and Winchester, to be honest. This team just looks like they have too many fourth line centres (Zack Smith being another possibility for that role if MacLean chooses to go with Spezza, Regin, and Da Costa/Zibanejad as his top three).
If you're wondering why there weren't more cuts, the obvious answer is injuries. Carkner and Phillips are two blueliners who have injuries, while Regin and Winchester are the hurting players up front. Obviously, there will be more movement in the coming weeks when the wounds heal. The team has 15 forwards and 8 defensemen on the roster at the moment, and that's going to have to change at some point. Whether some more players are sent down to Binghamton or are traded is yet to be seen, but there will definitely be movement.