2 To Prove
The prospects are going to get every chance to earn a spot, and will be given the first two games to go head to head to prove their worth.
Young Dmen Cowen, Gryba, Hale and Wiercioch will skate along side the likes of Lee, Carkner, and Campoli. The young guns vs. the vets, duking it out for not only a roster spot, but ice time as well. Expect game 3 to be very telling, as the first round of cuts will come Sept. 29th, and if you aren’t skating in game 3, you’re probably on the exit list.
Here’s my take on who makes the cut.
Carkner – A one way contract, at a good price, combined with legitimate heavy weight hands, and an ability to play a regular, albeit #6, role, makes Carks a lock.
Lee – After having signed a one way deal, the first of his career, the organization has to take the time to determine, once and for all, if this kid is a legit NHL’er, or career call-up. This simply cannot be done by playing him in the A. Lee, barring a disastrous performance, makes the team out of camp.
This leaves just one regular spot open, and, like it or not, it’s going to Campoli, if for no other reason than his one way contract. Personally, I believe Campoli has a chance to take another big step forward this year, and I’m in no way ready to put him on the bust list. But now is the time to prove he’s improving, not regressing.
But, the #7 is entirely up for grabs, and with Gonchar, Karlsson, and Campoli taking regular shifts, the team is set for offense, but thin on jam and grit. Apart from Carkner, and to a much lesser extend, Phillips, the Sens are either small in stature, or small in nasty, on the blue-line. Simply put, the Sens need a bottom pairing that can withstand the on-slaught of the oppositions aggressive 4th line, and have some fire power to send over the boards should a message need be sent.
This, in my opinion, is Gryba’s job to lose. At 6’4″, 222 lbs, and 22 yrs. old, Gryba has that necessary combination of size, age and acumen, to take over the role of reserve Dman. This isn’t to say the job is his, just that, should he continue to show the skills he displayed at the prospect camp, and tourny, he should make a case for himself as being the most NHL ready among the group of young D prospects.
Everyone will get a chance, but, at the end of the day, money, age, AND ability, all come into consideration.
Should one of the young’ins prove ready to assume a regular shift, in the top 3 pairings, look for a trade, even if just for a pick.