Today we’re taking a look at our way-too-early roster predictions (made in July). Let’s adjust those predictions based on how training camp has gone so far. While there aren’t any big changes at the top, there are some surprises here.
Man, how time flies. It seems like we’ve been building up to hockey all summer, only to have training camp blow by us. Hockey season starts next week, if you can believe that; with the Jackets hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, October 12, at Nationwide Arena. At this point in the preseason, you can start to weed out who will be on the big club, and who might be starting their season in the American Hockey League.
With that in mind, lets take a look at our roster prediction from August. I’ve listed the players that I think might not be on the opening night roster for the Jackets, in bold font here:
Line 1: Gaudreau – Jenner – Marchenko
Line 2: Johnson – Roslovic – Laine
Line 3: Texier – Fantilli – Chinakhov
Line 4: Robinson – Kuraly – Danforth
Extras: Voronkov, Olivier
Defense pair 1: Werenski – Boqvist
Defense pair 2: Provorov – Severson
Defense pair 3: Bean – Gudbranson
Goaltenders: Merzlikins, Tarasov
There aren’t really any surprises if you’ve paid attention this preseason. Yegor Chinakhov, Jake Bean, and Daniil Tarasov have all missed big chunks of camp with injury. Chinakhov will probably have to start his season by rehabbing, before facing another stint in the AHL to get up to speed. I think that’s fine for him; but if he can get his game going early on, he’ll be in the NHL soon, rather than later. This is a big year for him to prove himself.
Dmitri Voronkov has looked fine, but I think he’ll start the year with the Cleveland Monsters as well. Really, it’s hard to complain about him; the problem is, he just isn’t up to the pace of the NHL game yet. His size, physicality, and willingness to be a pain in the rear for the opponents, will make him an NHL call-up and standout, not unlike Kirill Marchenko last season.
Jake Bean has missed all but the last few days of camp recovering from yet another ailment – and unfortunately for him, this has opened the door for young Denton Mateychuk to show off his abilities. What differentiates Bean from the two forwards mentioned above, is that he’s waiver eligible, and cannot be sent down without the risk of losing him to every other team in the league. So, I think it’s possible that the team places him on IR to start the season and allow Mateychuk to play in up to 9-games before making a decision. It’s also possible that they could keep 9 defensemen around until they work it out. I wouldn’t count out a trade to free up the back-end, either.
Daniil Tarasov is another guy recovering from yet another knee injury. The Jackets picked up goaltender Spencer Martin off of waivers from Vancouver late last week, which shows us their level of confidence in getting Tarasov back before the season starts. It seems we’ve come to a fork in the road here, and this will be a situation to watch until the team picks one or the other.
There are some players who have really caught the eye of the coaching staff and management throughout camp thus far. While some of them aren’t going to be kept around for obvious reasons, we’ll discuss their play on the next page. Oh, and we also have a new roster prediction…