NHL teams have to get to 23 players tomorrow. Here’s how Anaheim stacks up.
We’ll start this discussion with Jason LaBarbera clearing waivers. The veteran backup goalie was brought in for two reasons. One, he’ll shoulder the load with Igor Bobkov this year and act as the #2 much in the way Brad Thiessen did last year. Secondly, should one of Frederik Andersen or John Gibson get injured, LaBarbera can be recalled while allowing Bobkov to accumulate starts in the AHL. Right now, the Admirals already have three goalies on their roster: Bobkov, Ryan Faragher, and Etienne Marcoux. Typically, Faragher and Marcoux would be shuttled to ECHL Utah to earn playing time. Problem: incumbent Aaron Dell and rookie Kevin Kapalka are already in net for the Grizzlies. Faragher and Marcoux need to find landing spots, and where they end up is up to anyone. Remember, though, that both goalies can be kept on the Admirals roster as their are no number limits. Best case, I think, is Faragher challenges Kapalka for the #2 spot in Utah and Marcoux catches on somewhere.
Number problems are something the Anaheim Ducks have to deal with. NHL teams must have their 23-man roster tomorrow at 5 eastern (2 PM for all of you west coasters). IR players technically do not count, freeing up spots. Sheldon Souray, who is on LTIR, is for all intents and purposes, not really on the roster for the Ducks. Right now, Anaheim is dealing with injuries to Dany Heatley, Cam Fowler, and Kyle Palmieri which would “free” three roster spots. Fowler is trying to come back by Thursday’s season opener in Pittsburgh, but let’s assume he’s not ready. A projected line-up would be:
Pat Maroon-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Jakob Silfverberg-Ryan Kesler-Andrew Cogliano
Emerson Etem-Rickard Rakell-Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey-Nate Thompson-Tim Jackman
ex: Wiliam Karlsson (13)
Francois Beauchemin-Hampus Lindholm
Bryan Allen-Sami Vatanen
Clayton Stoner-Ben Lovejoy
ex: Mark Fistric (7)
John Gibson (2)
This brings the total to 22 players already. If Fowler is ready to go, this means likely one or no cuts. If there are cuts, the first cut will be William Karlsson, who would easily slot in to the Admirals top line with Stefan Noesen and Nic Kerdiles. Heatley looks to be the second to come back, and the easiest player to move would be Emerson Etem. Despite getting a low number and working his way into the lineup, Etem is still on an ELC. While not ideal for Etem, he could add veteran leadership and another scoring threat for the Admirals. Finally, if and when Palmieri comes back, there will be serious decisions to make. Rickard Rakell is also on an ELC and could be moveable, but has more or less earned the 3C position. Some other options exist, too. John Gibson sent down to bring back up LaBarberba, or perhaps trading one of the defensemen for draft picks and prospects. It’s a lot of contortion on this roster. I can’t figure it out.
The question is what lineup the Admirals will ice Saturday in their opener against Hershey. I’d expect it to look a lot like the lineup against Charlotte:
Nic Kerdiles-Charlie Sarault-Stefan Noesen
Antoine Laganiere-Dave Steckel-Louis Leblanc
Brad Winchester-Chris Wagner-Max Friberg
John Kurtz-Matt Bailey-Steve MacIntyre
Kevin Gagne-Mat Clark
Brendan Bell-Josh Manson
Nate McIver-Andrew O’Brien
A few tweaks could be made, of course. MacIntyre may be swapped out for Joseph Cramarossa or another forward that might be sent down. William Karlsson, if he is sent down, will most likely take the 1C spot that belongs to Charlie Sarault. Another possible permutation is seeing Jesse Blacker in the lineup, but that’s not a given. Cut day will tell all.
in my nameplate section I forgot to mention that Joseph Cramarossa is now #19….
In the first published version, I gave Anaheim 8 defensemen as opposed to 7 before the Cam Fowler injury. Fowler coming back would still keep the roster under the limit. Heatley (more likely) or Palmieri (less so) coming back would signify the need for a cut. William Karlsson is the likely first man reassigned.