Rainy (arc like) Weekends being what they are, caused me to sleep for an extended period this morning so today's update will be brief.
I'm headed over to the 303:30 studios in a few minutes to participate in a Predator Blogger Roundtable with the other Pred guys and girls that will be up later today.
After that, it will be time to get ready for tonight's last Predator pre-season game against the Carolina Hurricanes. It will be gut check time for a few youngsters that are trying to make final impressions on the Pred staff as to who will stay with the team.
For those keeping score on the roster, after yesterday's reduction, there are thirty players left in camp of which 22 or 23 will remain with the team for opening night.
I took a look at the remaining players and see 18 that are virtual locks at this point which would include Arnott, Goc, Legwand, Smithson, Jones, Sullivan, Belak, Dumont, Erat, Hornqvist, Tootoo, Ward, Hamhuis, Klein, Weber, Suter, Rinne and Ellis.
That leaves 12 players looking for four or five slots. Two more players that are close to being a lock are lock are Mike Santorelli for his improved play during the preseason and Alexander Sulzer primarily for his one way contract status as well as decent play in the preseason.
The Goalies are obviously set as there are only two left on the roster.
Francis Bouillon is in a class by himself as much of whether he makes the team revolves around his health and whether he is able to play at full speed to start the season. If not, he could start on injured reserve or receive a release.
So with that in mind, the three defensemen left in camp with a chance at one or two slots depending on Bouillon's fate are Laasko, Franson and Yonkman. Trotz has said that he may only carry six D-men so it will be critical to watch and see if these three play in this weekend's games and how they play.
So on the offensive side of the puck, from the above calculations I have 13 slots filled which leaves the possibility of one or two open positions.
Triston Grant is a special situation. He remains in camp primarily because Wade Belak may not be able to go in this weekend's games and the Preds will need somewhat of a pugilistic presence heading back into Columbus Sunday afternoon. He will be on the plane to Milwaukee early Monday.
That leaves Guite, Olvecky, Wilson, O'Reilly, and Spalling to choose from. Guite and Olvecky may have the inside track as there may not be enough ice time for the three youngsters to keep them around. Trotz has said that that may be the deciding factor of keeping an older player instead of a young guy in the final cut.
Again keep an eye on what happens this weekend. O'Reilly started slow in camp and has come on in the last week. A strong couple of games this weekend could put him in the mix again.
All this being said, additional injuries, a trade or a waiver pick-up could change the mix considerably. So for those of you scoring at home, this is the best guess as it stands today. Thoughts and flames on my analysis are welcomed.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass