In what is almost certainly a salary cap/contract based move, defenseman Brian Lee was sent down to the AHL's Binghamton Senators today. Lee was on a two-way contract and did not have to go through waivers, making him the most attractive player to be sent down.
Combined with the movement of Christoph Schubert to the AHL, this leaves the club with 7 defensemen. Today's practice pairings looked like this:
Phillips - Volchenkov
Kuba - Karlsson
Campoli - Carkner
Picard - Lee
A number of questions remain on this back end. Is Erik Karlsson really ready for the NHL grind? Out of Alexandre Picard and Matt Carkner, who will be the sixth d-man and who will be slotted in seventh? (I'm guessing Carkner for seventh, as he's basically Schubert's replacement) Will there be a trade to make room for Lee? It's hard to say. Obviously, Carkner has stuck around because he brings a much more physical element than any of the other bubble d-men, something that the Senators management feel they need.
Back to Lee, though - Lee goes through this routine every year. He gets cut at camp, and then midway through the season he'll get called up to play with the Senators. He'll adjust, play fine for the club, and go through it all again the following season. Expect to see Lee called up again and perform decently once he regains his confidence after being cut in favour of Matt Carkner.
This was not the best hockey move for the team to make - Lee should start in the NHL - but these are the kind of moves that happen with salary caps and two-way contracts.