When the Washington Capitals signed Sylvain Cote in July, they pencilled him into their already deep defensive depth chart. They expected that Alexei Tezikov would show improvement this year, and challenge for a roster spot. Brendan Witt and Ken Klee would both go through arbitration, or be signed by the time the season started. Veterans Calle Johansson and Joe Reekie would hold their roster spots, and the rather enigmatic Sergei Gonchar would sign sooner or later, rounding out the top seven.
Dmitri Mironov was put on the trading block and left exposed in the waiver draft, but there were no takers. His age, big contract, and lack of production over the last couple of years were the main reasons he was not taken. If they couldn’t find any teams that wanted Mironov, Washington would either play him as a seventh defenseman or send him to the minors. Washington would also have the option of buying his contract out, in a worst case scenario.
Now that training camp is almost over, things are looking very different for the Caps defensively. Mironov is still with the Capitals, who will probably send him down to the minor leagues or buy out his contract soon. Gonchar hasn’t signed yet, but is close. Two rookies are pushing hard to make the team, and neither one of them are Alexei Tezikov.
*Note this is from last weeks game*
After our first road trip in the USHL, I think the team has realized what we need to do in order to be successful. In a penalty filled weekend, our Power Play and Penalty Kill were both not up to par resulting in several missed power play chances and several PP Goals against. When we we’re playing even strength we were the dominant team on the ice in all three games. Once everyone starts producing and the team gets into a flow, we should be a very tough team to beat. We also showed some resiliency by striking a comeback against Cedar Rapids. After going down three goals in the first ten minutes of the game, we worked hard to come back and take the lead. Once again two PP goals tied the game at six and resulted in a shoot out loss for the NTDP. Hard work and training will pay off as we will only get better.
There are still a few players on the bubble. Drury, Harkins, Vyborny, Maltais, Maneluk, Spanhel and Nielsen up front, and Klesla, Robertsson, Nummelin, and Grand-Pierre on the blueline are all fighting for the remaining spots; or perhaps they’re not.
Doug MacLean has stated that he already has his opening-nigth roster in mind. Figure that Neilsen and Spanhel will be sent to Syracuse to see plenty of ice time since they don’t have to pass through waivers. Maneluk should be sent down, along with Harkins. Maltais has really played his way onto the Blue Jackets, providing timely scoring and decent defensive play. On defense expect to see Bert Robertsson sent down.
The rest of the defense is more closely debated. Nummelin has skill rarely seen on expansion bluelines and figures to stay in Columbus. Klesla, who is close to signing a contract will probably stay for a 10-game stint before being returned to Brampton to log lots of ice time. Grand-Pierre has seen some time on the wing during the preseason and could stick due to his versatility but will start the season in Syracuse.
This is what the opening day roster should look like:
Forwards Kron, Sanderson, Adams, Aubin, Dineen, Wright, Heinze, Oliwa, Knutsen, Vyborny, Gardner, Maltais.
Defense Odelein, Heward, Kucera, Bicanek, Nummelin, Quint, Timander, Klesla.
Goalies Tugnutt, Denis.
Marc-Andre Thinel -F (Drafted-99(5/145))
The 5’11″, 170 Lbs. Thinel has played 6 games with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. He has 3 goals and 7 assists, including three consecutive 3-point games. He is +1, with 8 penalty minutes. Two of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed.
Jerome Marois -LW (Drafted-99(9/253))
An off-season trade brought the 6’0″, 190 Lbs. Marois from Cape Breton to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Marois must feel comfortable with his new team, as he has started the season well above his pace of a year ago. Through 7 games he has 5 goals and 7 assists, and he currently sits in 6th place among QMJHL scorers. He is +7, with 4 penalty minutes, and he has scored 2 short-handed goals.
Dusty Jamieson -LW (Drafted-99(5/136))
The 6’2″, 185 Lbs. Jamieson’s NHL training camp was cut short by a concussion he suffered during the Prospect Tournament in Hull. He did however, return to the ice in time for the Sarnia Sting’s season opener. Through 3 games Jamieson has 2 assists. He is +2, with no penalty minutes.
Alexander Buturlin -RW (Drafted-99(2/39))
The 6’0″, 187 Lbs. Buturlin is coming off his first season in North America. Look for him to have a break-out season. Through 3 games he has 2 goals and 1 assist. He is a strong +3, and both his goals were scored at even-strength.
Sean Dixon -D (Drafted-99(6/167)) Read more»
The Nashville Predators finalized their regular season roster last night, as the final cuts were made and a pair of rookies got some very good news. Scott Hartnell, Nashville’s first round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and Greg Classen, a free agent signee from Merrimack College, both made the team and will make the trip to Japan as the Predators begin the 2000-01 season with a pair of games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hartnell made the team through hard work and determination. He came to camp intent on winning a roster spot and forcing the Predators to go against their usual policy of being patient and letting players develop in juniors or the minors. It helped that Hartnell finally got his first goal of the pre-season on Friday night against Chicago. Hartnell finished the pre-season with a goal and an assist in five games, but it was his steady performance in practice and scrimmages that convinced head coach Barry Trotz that he is ready for the NHL.