Players Present at Practice Indicate Final Roster

In his blog today, Erik Erlendsson reports the following players took to the ice for practice today, indicating what the final roster will look like: Vaclav Prospal - Vincent Lecavalier - Ruslan Fedotenko Dmitry Afanasenkov - Brad Richards - Martin St. Louis Ryan Craig - Andreas Karlsson - Nikita Alexeev Nick Tarnasky - Tim Taylor - Eric Perrin (No mention of Rob DiMaio, who is out indefinately with a Grade 2 concussion) Filip Kuba - Dan Boyle Nolan Pratt - Cory Sarich Doug Janik - Luke Richardson (Paul Ranger did not skate today) Marc Denis Johan Holmqvist Erlendsson stresses no formal announcement of cuts has been made, though it is expected today, but it appears by their absence that Mitch Fritz, Norm Milley, and Andy Delmore have been put on waivers on the road to Springfield. Any or all of the three could be claimed by another team. Milley played against Detroit last night, Delmore and Fritz did not. Matt Smaby will be sent to Springfield per the [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] today, though coach John Tortorella said Smaby has earned the right to be an early call-up. "[Smaby's] had one [heck] of a good camp and we didn't expect him to be here this long," Tortorella told the [i]Tribune[/i]. "He has shown that he is right there at the depth chart. In my perception, he has shown he belongs right in the thick of things on our depth chart. "He'll go down to Springfield and continue working on his game, but don't be surprised if he gets a sniff here shortly because you never know what happens."

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4th line

That 4th line should be interesting with three centers. What do people think will happen when DiMaio comes back? With Tarnasky used to playing the wing a bit more does anyone think this might put Perrin at a disadvantage?

Perrin

While a natural center, Torts has had him on both sides in camp, so I don't think there's any harm done for any of the three. Tarnasky has played both and back in the days of the Dingman-Andreychuk-Taylor line, Taylor switched back and forth. And we all know Taylor will get thrown out of 5 faceoffs a game anyway. :) IMO, DiMaio was on the verge of becoming the 13th forward before his injury. Unless Alexeev pulls up his socks, he could be the odd man out when DiMaio's healthy.

DiMaio

How bad is DiMaio's injury? It sounds pretty serious to me and if he has to go through tests before they let him play or practice again it may be some time before he heals up from this concussion. Personally, he may be out for 5 to 10 games, which may be enough time to see if Nikita is for real or not. also, how is Fedotenko? Is he healing up correctly? Fedo's situation worries me a lot more than DiMaio because we need him on the top line, although, obviously, concussions are not to be treated lightly. With Delmore being sent down does this mean that janik makes the team? From listening to the games he has been in it seems he plays a workman like game and does not make a lot of mistakes.

DiMaio and Feds

DiMaio will miss at least 4 weeks per SP Times: [url]http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/30/Lightning/DiMaio_will_miss_at_l.shtml[/url] Also Fedotenko will play tonight vs Dallas.

Perrin

Eric has shown he can fit on all four lines at either center or wing. He'll play fairly regularly as a utility guy for just about anybody getting the night off.

D

IMO, there are too many question marks on the defensive front this season. Is Sarich the top-four d-man we saw in the 04 season, or is he the Sarich that Martin Havlat breezed by in the playoffs? Can Pratt handle top-four minutes while Ranger is out (I'm very optimistic on this one)? Does Doug Janik have what it takes to stick at the NHL level, or were the 06 playoffs (with Buffalo) and this preseason misleading? Is Richardson more than just intangibles (can he skate?)? Finally, when he's back from injury, will Paul Ranger continue his steep development and show that he's a top-four guy (I'm also very optimistic about him)? Personally, I think that this D-unit will work very well as a team the same way as the 04 squad, with not one major standout (except for Boyle putting up big offensive numbers) but as a single entity.

Janik is fine...

He may even have a nice upside in this system. Let's see where he's at in about 20 games. I can't say for sure that Richardson has a bad rap, but he certainly has not been the most immobile guy back there.

The 4 Hole

I think you've got a point. In the Cup year, we had a strong top 4 with Boyle, Kubina, Sydor, and Cullimore. Going into last season, everyone thought Sarich would be ready to take second pair minutes and responsibilities and for the most part it was hit and miss. Mostly miss. He's not been good in the preseason, and still doesn't look ready for scond pair minutes. Boyle and Ranger proved to be a solid pair last year and Kuba will be fine. However, there's a drop-off until you get to Sarich, Janik, and Richardson. All are okay for the third pair, but one of those three will have to step up and be a very solid dman. Sarich seems to be on the downswing, Janik is very green, and Richardson struggled last year in Columbus and Toronto. IMO, the best candidate for that job is Janik and his aggressiveness reminds me of Ranger last year at this time.

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