No on-ice action on Sunday as the Ottawa Senators dramatically cut down their roster and also traveled back from Montreal after Saturday’s match-up with the Canadiens. Some thoughts on those roster moves and a few other miscellaneous notes:
- As expected, the Sens cut their roster down to twenty-five players after Saturday night’s 2-1 defeat. We’ve got the full write-up here, but suffice to say there were no major surprises. There had been some question about whether Ridley Greig might have done enough to earn himself an extended try-out but while DJ Smith was complimentary of the youngster, he mostly spoke about Greig’s potential impact in the future tense.
- Here’s Smith’s media availability following Saturday night’s game.
- As Smith has stated on several occasions, the goal of the first 4 pre-season games was to trim the roster down to their “NHL” group and then use the final three games as tune-up for the regular season. To that end, we should expect to see something close to the opening night line-up this week — starting with the 23 man roster for tonight’s match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- The two obvious (non-Brady Tkachuk category) names missing from the above list are Chris Tierney and Erik Brännström. While Tierney’s struggles, coupled with Shane Pinto’s successes, might make him a candidate to be on the receiving end of a couple healthy scratches I’d be shocked if he’s not in the opening night line-up. Brännström, on the other hand, has had a pretty good but perhaps unspectacular pre-season and camp. He was always behind the eight ball to make the team given the contract status of the other seven defenders, and seems to not have made the positive impression on Smith that would be necessary to leapfrog into a full-time role.
- So at the end of the day, we really haven’t been treated to much by the way of surprises or battles. The biggest potential shift in the Sens line-up looks to be Pinto possibly leaping into the team’s top 6, but even that is somewhat tempered by just how weak the competition is. Otherwise, things are playing out almost exactly as pre-camp consensus would have dictated.
- That said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for a team to have some stability. One of the things that may have hampered the Sens to start last season was the major roster overhaul and almost no time to prepare before being plunged headlong into regular season games. At the very least, we can be sure the team will likely all be on the same page when things get going this year.
- Shortly after the parent club announced their training camp cuts, the Belleville Senators posted their 34 training camp invitees. I’ll leave the AHL analysis to Spencer, but to my untrained eye that defense group (especially if Brännström plays major minutes) looks awfully strong. /