With just one game remaining in the pre season, it’s time to take a stab at what the final 22 will look like. Keep in mind coach Trotz has said he will carry 22 and not 23, so we’re looking at one extra forward and one extra defenseman.
The 13 Forwards
This is definitely the most interesting race. Derek Roy has made an impressive showing but Chandler Stephenson has as well. There are many angles to consider and we can’t rule out the possibility that Backstrom starts the season on IR. Both could be kept in the short-term.
In favor of Roy; experience, defensive ability and he’s a known quantity. Against; age, declining stats over the last few years, and he’s not currently under contract.
In favor of Stephenson; youth, upside and he’s under contract. Against; he can be sent to Hershey, he needs to play not watch and he’s inexperienced.
I think Roy takes it when the final cuts are made. Unless of course they run into trouble working out a contract but Roy wants to be here, so I see a deal getting done. Letting Stephenson start in Hershey and play every game is the easy decision, and arguably the better one for his development. Either way I expect he’ll get his call up at some point during the season.
Derek Roy/Chandler Stephenson
The 7 Defenseman
The top six looks set, with Orlov and Schmidt locking down the last two regular spots as expected. The final spot still seems wide open with just 1 game to go. Neither Chorney or Stanton have taken control during the games, so either could still pull it out with a strong showing. If you see only one in the lineup for Sundays finale, that may tell the tale. If I had to guess one of the two, I’d guess Stanton. All things being equal, his size is a bonus. Don’t be shocked if the 7th defenseman isn’t on the roster today.
The 2 Goalies
The one group thats set barring an injury in the final pre season game. The only question is does Peters clear waivers on the way down to Hershey? My guess is he does, leaving two experienced goalies sitting in Hershey for call up if an injury occurs during the season.
By Ernie Mudd