It’s the pre-season finale, and a rematch of last Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Montréal Canadiens.
Head coach D.J. Smith has talked all camp about wanting to have his final roster for tonight’s game, but the reality is that with injuries and a lack of true standout performances, there’s still some cuts to be made before the season opens on Wednesday night. The changes between this roster at the one that faced the Canucks last week include: Dylan DeMelo, Chris Tierney, Bobby Ryan, and Vitaly Abramov — in; Marcus Hogberg (Belleville), Rudolfs Balcers (injury) — out.
All we know for sure is that Anders Nilsson will start in goal, and that the team will start the season with 22 players. That leaves three cuts — likely one defenceman and two forwards — after tonight.
- Rudolfs Balcers and Christian Wolanin are two players that played a significant part of the season in the NHL last year. That both are injured long-term in a crucial year for their development, and their spot on the organizational depth chart, is extremely unfortunate. Unlike Wolanin, we don’t have a precise timetable yet on Balcers’ injury.
- We know that Artem Anisimov, Filip Chlapik, Vitaly Abramov, and Mikkel Boedker are all likely not at 100%, with Anisimov taking a shot off of the foot in practice.
- Here’s how the team lined up in practice yesterday:
Friday practice lines:— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) September 27, 2019
- The Tkachuk, White, Brown line has stayed together all camp, but the other trios have been split up. The Sens have done a poor job of generating both shot attempts (CF%) and quality (xGF%) this preseason, so the changes make sense.
- On defence, the top-pair of Chabot and Zaitsev have stayed consistent, while Erik Brännström appears to have a shot at playing real minutes on the team paired with Ron Hainsey. I’d love to see him with Dylan DeMelo more, given how well the ex-Sharks rearguard did with Chabot last year, but Hainsey’s is Smith’s top choice. I’d imagine that either Cody Goloubef or Christian Jaros is sent back to Belleville, and it depends if the team wants to see Jaros sitting or not. The acquisitions of Zaitsev and Hainsey appear to have really pushed the young Slovak out of regular minutes... on a developing team.
- The Habs got the better of the Sens in all departments in last week’s contest, with their overall team speed being too much on offence. In particular, the Habs top units trampled over the Sens, while Ottawa did well against the bottom-half of their lineup.
- The game starts tonight at 7:00pm EST, and can be seen on TSN5 or RDS.
UPDATE: Your expected lines for tonight:
Quite a few changes to the lines this morning.— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) September 28, 2019
Tkachuk - L.Brown - C.Brown
Duclair - Tierney - Ryan
Boedker - Pageau - Batherson
Abramov - Chlapik - Sabourin
Chabot - DeMelo
Brannstrom - Hainsey
Goloubef - Zaitsev
Borowiecki - Jaros