You might have already seen on our site that the training camp groups have been released. If you haven't, here they are
Besides helping to plan your trip out to practice if you're looking to see a specific player or players, the groupings can give little hints as to where the coaching staff thinks certain players might fit into the lineup. I mean, we could always wait until tomorrow to see who's skating with whom, but why not speculate a little bit? I was dead on about Drayson Bowman
's headshot (you'll see it soon, and you all owe me a dollar), so I might as welI continue my psychic momentum.
I updated the Depth Chart
with possible cominations based on the groupings if you want to check that out. Here's some observations that led me to those lines:
- The defensive pairings are the easiest to figure out. Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen, Frank Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg are all in Group C, and it's pretty safe to assume Gleason and Pitkanen will be together. With eight NHL-capable defensemen on the roster, somebody has to be pairing number four. I picked Kaberle/Seidenberg for that since each group seems to have an "alpha pairing" on it (Corvo/Wallin in Group B and Melichar/Babchuk in Group A). Group C is the only one with four NHL regulars.
- On the flip side, Group A seems to be the one with two NHL lines on it - the first and fourth. Only five NHL forwards are in that group, however. Seeing as how the team wants to give him a good look and his talents are more suited for the first line than the fourth, I'm guessing Drayson Bowman plays with Eric Staal and Ray Whitney on the top line, while Brandon Sutter, Ryan Bayda and Chad LaRose play on the fourth. Of course, any of the guys I have pegged for the fourth line could see time on the first, so this one could shift around a bit.
- The natural forward line in Group B is Brind'Amour, Sergei Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu, but as you know, Brind'Amour will miss a good chunk of camp. Enter Jeff O'Neill, who could end up skating on that line with Brind'Amour out (Ruutu can also play center). Matt Murley is also in Group B, so they could both get a look. Note that I can't add O'Neill to the Depth Chart since he's a tryout and isn't technically in the organization.
- Matt Cullen, Patrick Eaves and Scott Walker headline the forwards in Group C and will clearly start off playing together.
That's my best guess. Feel free to roast me on the message boards if you disagree.