A day after making 14 cuts from their training camp roster, the Blue Jackets moved from three groups to two, with one preparing for a preseason game and the other getting back to work at practice.
When the sun rose Thursday morning, the Blue Jackets’ roster stood at 49 players with another round of cuts to come soon. They need to be at 23 players prior to the NHL’s opening day roster deadline, which is typically early in the week leading up to the first day of games.
Also of note: the Lake Erie Monsters open their training camp Sunday in Cleveland, so their coaching staff has headed up I-71 to get prepared for their season.
The Blue Jackets assigned five players to the Monsters as part of their first round of cuts: Seth Ambroz, Ryan Craig, Peter Quenneville, Brad Thiessen and Trent Vogelhuber.
Local product Kole Sherwood, signed as a free agent earlier this summer, was assigned to the London Knights (OHL) as their season is about to get underway. Sherwood did not see action in any of the team’s first three preseason games.
Other notes from this morning:
- Boone Jenner is not in tonight’s game lineup, so in his place, Kerby Rychel will skate with Brandon Dubinsky and Rene Bourque.
- Todd Richards said Jenner, Josh Anderson, Daniel Zaar and Markus Hannikainen are all dealing with some bumps and bruises and did not practice today. Nothing major on that front, he said.
- Scott Hartnell skated with the game group for a bit before heading to the OhioHealth Ice Haus for some solo work. Richards said he was a little sore after Monday’s game and they’re taking it day-by-day.
- Brandon Saad was back on the ice today after a two-day hiatus, courtesy of a deflected puck to the mouth and subsequent dental work. He was sporting a full-face visor in practice, during which he took reps alongside line mates Ryan Johansen and captain Nick Foligno.
- Richards wouldn’t commit to saying Saad would be available to play this weekend in Pittsburgh, but didn’t rule it out. Saad came off the ice following practice and felt no ill effects, and was "very nonchalant about it,” Richards said.
- Curtis McElhinney is slated to start tonight against the Wild and play 30 minutes before giving way to Anton Forsberg.
- There are still plenty of evaluations to be made, Richards said today, so the Blue Jackets are going to do their due diligence before making another round of cuts. Another factor in that decision is the overall health of the group and whether they’ll need players for the remaining exhibition games.
- High praise was heaped on 6-foot-7 defenseman Oleg Yevenko from the head coach, saying he's a player who impressed in Traverse City and has carried that level of play into main camp. Richards was looking forward to seeing how Yevenko would handle a higher level of competition once main camp began, and so far, the returns have been good.
And here’s the projected lineup for tonight: