The Preds have announced who will be on the 20 man roster for their opening pre-season game against Carolina on Thursday night. Of the 50 players still in camp, the lineup includes 9 players who spent some decent time in Milwaukee last year, and one former Admiral who ditched us to play in Europe last year…(cough Kelsey cough)
These are the guys that are going to get the first crack at impressing the coaching staff in a live-game situation. And rather than just list the names, I’ll also sprinkle in some commentary about how they’ve done in training camp so far, courtesy of Seth Lake at On The Forecheck. I do encourage you to read his full report here and keep up with his analysis on that blog as training camp continues.
Jon Blum - “I think (Francis) Bouillon has been a calming influence for his young partner Jonathon Blum and seems to keep things under control when he’s out there.”
Alexander Sulzer: “Honestly, I haven’t noticed him that much. He seems to be playing a simple game and not drawing attention to himself regularly. Active at the blueline keeping pucks alive and making good outlet passes in transition.”
Andreas Thuresson: “After making a very impressive NHL debut last season, Thuresson slid down the lineup and eventually back to Milwaukee due to a lack of refined offensive talent. While he has shown glimpses of it, I haven’t yet seen enough yet to warrant a legitimate shot at making the NHL roster for opening night. Still playing with a ton of energy and being physical at every opportunity, Thuresson must improve his consistency at the offensive end of the rink to make it as a full time NHL player.”
Blake Geoffrion: “Had an excellent performance yesterday working primarily with Colin Wilson throughout the drills, but faded quietly into the background this afternoon in the scrimmage. Will likely see some preseason action which will present him another opportunity to make an impression on the coaching staff in a game situation, but after today’s action I can’t help but think Geoffrion is heading to Milwaukee and there’s no problem with that.”
Nick Spaling: “One of my biggest criticisms of Spaling last season though was his lack of confidence with the puck. After two days I’m impressed with his improvement in that area and believe he could potentially force his way onto the roster again this season, likely at the expense of Jerred Smithson.”
Cal O’Reilly: “Unfortunately, O’Reilly doesn’t appear to have a roster spot among the top 12 forwards right now and with Wade Belak potentially taking up one of the two remaining spots…Cal O’Reilly is in an absolute dogfight to make the opening night roster and avoid being placed on waivers to start the season. It’s just a numbers game, but with Lombardi, Legwand, Goc, Smithson or Spaling, and Wilson already being on the roster…I’m just not sure where O’Reilly fits in. Good news for him though was that Kevin Allen reported today that Trotz plans on keeping Wilson on the wing this season, which could effectively open up a roster spot for O’Reilly and put a wing like Kostitsyn or even Belak on the chopping block.”
Kelsey Wilson: “was playing very recklessly in Monday’s scrimmage trying to put people through the boards with every hit, viciously boarding one of the defensemen on the forecheck, and running the goalie twice. Exchanged words and several jabs with Jordin Tootoo on Monday after running Jeremy Smith, but couldn’t bait Tootoo into a fight. Sorry, but not leaving me with a good impression. There’s a difference in a guy trying to make an impression by playing tough and a guy simply playing recklessly with little care for the welfare of his opponent. I think Wilson’s pushing that line too far right now for my tastes.”
Also playing Thursday: Mark Dekanich, Cody Franson, Teemu Laakso.
As for discussion (this is supposed to be a roundtable, after all), what do you think Cal O’Reilly’s fate is going to be? Even if he does have a nice camp, do you see him sticking with Nashville? Do you think he would clear waivers and make an encore appearance in Milwaukee?