The long month of August is over....hockey will soon arrive. The Senators 2013 Rookie camp provides us with the first glimpse of the which talents are pushing for spots at the main camp, and others who are simply trying to show off their skills knowing their time is likely a year or two away. With that in mind, my expectations for how they succeed are spread into several different categories.
As the outcome is predetermined, let us start with the simplest category Goaltending:
Goaltenders: François Brassard (Quebec - QMJHL), Chris Driedger (Calgary - WHL), Andrew Hammond (Bowling Green State - CCHA).
With Andy/Lehner in Ottawa, there are virtually no illusions into how the pieces fall. Each goalie will likely be given the start for a single game, though exceptional play (i.e shutout or great performance) may earn a second start. Hammond will then go to Bingo, and Brassard/Dreiger back to the CHL.
For the 2nd category, Better Luck Next Year:
Ben Harpur (Guelph - OHL), Vincent Dunn (Val d'Or - QMJHL), Danny Hobbs (Greenville - ECHL)
These three players are not making Bingo or Ottawa regardless of their play in this camp. Harpur and Dunn are there to learn and be introduced to the Organizations expectations well Hobbs is likely playing for a contract, though the forward depth in Bingo means his best bet is a contract for Elmira.
The third category, The 2013 Binghamton Senators Defence:
Defencemen: Ben Blood (Elmira - ECHL, Binghamton - AHL), , Binghamton - AHL), Fredirik Claesson (Binghamton - AHL), , Daniel New (Elmira - ECHL, Binghamton - AHL), Troy Rutkowski (Portland - WHL), Michael Sdao (Princeton - ECAC, Binghamton - AHL), Chris Wideman (Elmira - ECHL, Binghamton - AHL).
With the exception of Cody Ceci, the back-end of the rookie team is destined for a quick trip to Bingo and in fact comprises every defenceman they have under contract except for Eckford and Boro. Daniel New played his way into Bingo's confidence from the ECHL last year and is likely being given a shot by the organization for a chance in Bingo. A defenceman can send a message here with their play (Gryba and Wiercioch were both very good in 2011) but their are simply no spots for these players to take this year.
The Fourth Category comprised entirely of forwards, Lazar and BSENS
Forwards: Jakub Culek (Cape Breton - QMJHL, Binghamton - AHL), Derek Grant (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL),Wacey Hamilton (Binghamton - AHL), , Ludwig Karlsson (Northeastern - Hockey East), Darren Kramer (Elmira - ECHL, Binghamton - AHL), Curtis Lazar (Edmonton - WHL), Jarrod Maidens (Owen Sound - OHL), , Shane Prince(Binghamton - AHL), Matt Puempel (Kitchener - OHL, Binghamton - AHL), Buddy Robinson (Lake Superior State - CCHA, Binghamton - AHL), Cole Schneider (Binghamton - AHL).
With the possible exception of Matt Puempel, none of these players have a legitimate shot of making the Senators this year. Lazar as a blue-chip forward will be given a chance to excel in the tourney but he will almost certainly be sent back to junior after a token amount of time in the main camp. Everyone else is playing to impress and get a leg-up for spots in Bingo. Even assuming Pageau starts the year in Ottawa, there are fourteen Bingo forwards under contract for 12 spots. Good/Bad performances here do matter for these forwards heading into Bingo's camp.
The Final Category, Hopeful's:
Cody Ceci (Ottawa - OHL, Owen Sound - OHL), Mark Stone (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL), Jean-Gabriel Pageau(Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL)
Ceci/Stone/Pageau all have legitimate shots at making the Ottawa Senators. Success here by Ceci and Stone will garner them longer looks, though it is very possible after great camps they could still be sent down. The situation or Pageau is considerably more tricky, his play last year means he will not be heavily judged in the short tourney, but success here will only make his claim on a roster spot harder to deny.
Edit: Fixed Font issues