The unofficial roster has been set for Wednesday night’s preseason opener against the Phoenix Coyotes. By pointless and unenforced NHL rules, clubs are expected to dress eight regulars for each preseason game. Even though this rule is not enforced, tomorrow’s linup looks like it comes close. The expected starting line combinations are below and are ordered from left- to right-wing.
Only five of those players, Holland, Sexton, Deschamps, Macenauer, and Pielmeier, should be unfamiliar to Ducks fans. The rest have either played for the Ducks or for other NHL teams which gives a pretty good mix to the linup. As it stands right now, the Artyukhin-Carter-Bodie line looks like the only full line that could actually make it’s way into the regular season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
We all know newcomers Sbisa and Artyukhin will be carefully watched as both are expected to make the linup, but here are a few others that will be under the microscope come gametime:
Troy Bodie – General Manager Brian Murray is hoping that Bodie will develop into the type of player that Travis Moen became: tenacious, defensively reliable, and able to chip in offensively. Bodie will need to really earn his spot this season as there is ample competition for the bottom six forward spots.
Matt Beleskey – Another young forward that played a few games for the Ducks last season will look to crack the linup this year. A mid-season call-up, Beleskey earned a look after posting great numbers in the OHL (41-49-90 in 62 games) and very respectable first-year numbers in the AHL (11-24-35 in 58 games). He was thrust into the spotlight on the same line as Teemu Selanne but didn’t dazzle and was sent down after only two games. He has good size and offensive ability, but if he doens’t produce he’ll be looking at a full year in the minors.
Brian Salcido – Salcido has looked impressive in training camp, particularly in the scrimmages. He showed poise and was responsible at his own end in the only two games he played with the big club, and he even earned an assist and was plus-2. Salcido has put in his time at the minor league level and has improved tremendously, but like everyone else, he will need to outplay quite a few players to earn a roster spot.
I might normally complain here about the lack of TV coverage during the preseason, but it doesn’t seem appropriate given that 13 regular season games won’t be televised. Let’s just be happy with the fact that the NHL preseason is finally underway.