Through the first two days of on-ice sessions, it appears as though second year winger Cory Conacher will be given first crack at the open roster spot that is the right wing on the Senators’ second line.
Conacher, who got out of the gate quickly in Tampa last season, cooled off in the middle of the season and didn’t change too much after coming to the Senators.
Now, with a lineup that should be at full strength to start the season, it seems as though Conacher is the first choice to develop some chemistry with Turris and newcomer Clarke MacArthur in what will boil down to be the biggest competition in training camp.
There are a handful of other players in contention, but it will probably be after the club sees the line play in live fire in one of the first few preseason games. Chomping at the bit will be Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Shane Prince and Jean-Gabriel Pageau to name a few, who will be ready if Conacher falters at all. Not to mention the fact that Colin Greening has been a reliable if not spectacular fill-in when needed in a top 6 role, although I am on the record numerous times that he is more suited to a bottom six role on a competitive team.
If Conacher can settle in and become the player he started out as in Tampa in January and February, he would be a welcome addition to the Senators’ top 6. However, if he loses that job, his two way contract might earn him a ticket to Binghamton, (edit: an unlikely scenario because he would have to pass through waivers), because I am not sure keeping him around for 4th line duty would help anyone.
He has scored some big goals for Ottawa, but if he isn’t going to be in a scoring role in the NHL at the moment, he could use some confidence-gaining time in the AHL, and he would be ready when called upon again.