Today was deadline day for the 30 NHL teams to whittle their training camp roster down to 20-23 players that would make up the opening day roster. The Senators will start the season carrying 22 players, 13 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies.
For the Senators, there were few surprises despite very competitive training camp, as there were battles from a number of players for the couple of open roster spots.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the fact that the Senators are going to keep Stephane Da Costa on the club, at least for the time being, while Mika Zibanejad has been assigned to Binghamton. I had speculated that Da Costa might be the forgotten man in the organization, with all the attention being focused on Jean-Gabriel Pageau. However, Da Costa played well enough in the pre-season to force the Senators to waive Jim O’Brien and Mike Hoffman in order to keep him on the roster, and to send Zibanejad to Binghamton as well. I think the Zibanejad move caught everyone by surprise, as there had been no public indication that that move was even being considered.
So here is the roster, with some line combinations that seem to be prevalent through the exhibition season:
Bobby Ryan – Jason Spezza – Milan Michalek
Clarke MacArthur – Kyle Turris – Cory Conacher
Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Stephane Da Costa - Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Erik Condra
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen – Patrick Wiercioch
Chris Phillips – Joe Corvo
With the 2nd line winger spot alongside Turris pretty much settled with Conacher staking a solid claim to the spot, the biggest question this week will be the Smith – Pageau – Da Costa trio. All 3 are natural centres, but 1 will have to either move to the wing or the press box on any given night.
I would have thought the way talks were going that Smith would be the one to move to the wing, but yesterday’s split squads might lead one to believe otherwise, because both Da Costa and Pageau (as well as Zibanejad) were playing centre in Ottawa while Smith was with Greening and Neil in Barrie (not sure if that was a line or not, but it seems to make the most sense).
I personally hope the 2nd defense pair of Cowen and Wiercioch is a thing, as they have the potential to be one of the best 3-4 combinations in the league, right away.
The Senators will have 4 days to figure things out, as they don’t begin the season until Friday in Buffalo, followed by Toronto the next night before they get the California road trip out of the way early, with the next 4 games in San Jose, LA, Anaheim and Phoenix.