Today was the NHL’s final roster day, where teams must submit their 23-man roster for opening night. There are exceptions for injured players, and well that’s where we find ourselves. Let’s look at who’s taking a flight from LAX or John Wayne or wherever to ORF.
F John Kurtz
Kurtzy is back! Like I expected. Despite 3 full seasons between the AHL and ECHL, the winger signed his first NHL rookie contract over the off-season. He got an extended look in camp, not playing many minutes and getting into a couple tussles. He’s a decent PKer and hell he might get that A since John Mitchell has left.
F Brad Staubitz
No one in Anaheim liked Staubitz. He couldn’t score and was kind of bad at fighting. Pat Maroon made a great impression in camp, effectively taking Staubitz’ spot. It’s great news for Maroon, who signed a one-way deal last year with the Ducks. I hope Trent Yawney healthy scratches Staubitz. At this point, the veteran winger might want to look towards Europe.
F Rickard Rakell
The center is in his first year of AHL eligibility after playing with Plymouth in the OHL last year and a brief preview with the Ducks. Rakell didn’t win the 4C job, which will presumably go to Matty P. Rakell should get lots of playing time with the Ads, and will get to play alongside Plymouth Whalers teammate Stefan Noesen.
D Nolan Yonkman
Nolan Yonkman is pretty boring. He’s an AHL lifer who was aiming for the last D spot in Orange County. He didn’t get it and will be back to provide leadership and a steady presence on the blue line. Do not expect goals.
G Igor Bobkov
Bobber is a curious case. He played like a back-up last year, and it showed. The phrase “goalie development” was meant specifically for him. If it weren’t for John Gibson being AHL eligible, Bobkov is still in Norfolk. As it stand, his assignment is still pending. This could mean the Utah Grizzlies, Europe, the KHL , a bunch of things. We’ll keep a watch on him, but he is a big question mark.
A “while I’m putting in links and tags edit”: Bobkov will play in Utah this season.
Remember when I talked about injuries? Currently, the Ducks have Jakob Silfverberg, Emerson Etem, and Luca Sbisa on Injured Reserve. This allows the Ducks to put other players in their place. According to the OC Register’s Eric Stephens, Silfverberg has indicated he will play in Anaheim’s season opener at Colorado. Thus, Silf is likely on IR to allow another player to practice while Matty P is in transition from the Caps to the Ducks. Here’s your fringe:
F Pat Maroon
Pat is a fourth liner, for sure. However, he’s earned a job there, as I discussed in the Staubitz post.
F Devante Smith-Pelly
Devo is tied for my first choice to be sent down tomorrow. He hasn’t done that much this season, and didn’t see the ice that much in Saturday’s pre-season finale against the San Jose Sharks. He’s continuously getting bumped down the lines, and could use another season in the AHL.
F Peter Holland
Peter Holland will not be with the Ducks long, thanks to the addition of Matty P. Holland, unfortunately, was injured for most of training camp. With the roster logjam at center thanks to the trade, Holland’s most likely destination is Norfolk. In the question of whether Holland or DSP goes down, you have to ask if position matters. I don’t think it does, necessarily.
D Hampus Lindholm
Hampus Lindholm is in the Ducks roster right now because of the injury to Luca Sbisa. While Sbisa’s injury does not appear to be serious, his timetable for return looks to be next week at the earliest. Lindholm has had a great pre-season in Anaheim, especially offensively. If Sbisa were injured, I don’t know that Hampus makes the team. You can only control so much, and Hampus took charge of an opportunity presented to him. As soon as Sbisa is healthy, expect Hampus back (or maybe, just maybe, Sami Vatanen).
Norfolk’s team is still not finalized, thanks to injury. We should see at least one forward sent down tomorrow when Matty P arrives in Denver with the Ducks. Season starts Friday in Hartford against the Whale Wolfpack.