|The Senators placed four-year veteran Christoph Schubert on waivers Monday. If he isn't claimed by another NHL team by noon on Tuesday, he'll be assigned to the Sens' AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).
Two moves down, maybe a few more still to go as the Ottawa Senators take their final steps toward finalizing the roster that will start the 2009-10 regular season.
Forward Zack Smith
, one of the last cuts at training camp a year ago, has been re-assigned to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League. In addition, veteran Christoph Schubert was placed on waivers. If he clears waivers at noon Tuesday, he'll also be sent down to Binghamton.
Senators head coach Cory Clouston said the 27-year-old Schubert, who has seen action at both the defence and forward positions during four previous seasons in Ottawa, simply got caught up in a numbers game.
"Sometimes, you can't do anything else (in training camp). Sometimes people outplay you," Clouston said when asked about the Schubert decision. "We've got a couple of young guys who have played well and we've got other guys that we've added to our lineup. We added three new forwards up front in (Jonathan) Cheechoo, (Milan) Michalek and (Alex) Kovalev and we only got rid of one, which was Dany (Heatley).
"When you just do the numbers, somebody's almost always on the outside looking in. Then you add Peter Regin
to the mix and all of a sudden it's not just what you do or don't do. Sometimes other players are just ahead of you."
The Senators roster currently sits at 25 players – two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 15 forwards. A waiver claim on Schubert or his demotion would put that number at one above the maximum of 23 players National Hockey League teams are allowed to carry into the regular season.
While placing Jesse Winchester
(right knee) on the injured list to start the season would get the Senators down to the NHL roster limit, Clouston didn't rule out the possibility of another roster move or two.
"A lot of that has to do with dollars and cents and how everything fits in under the cap," he said. "Bryan (Murray, the Senators' general manager) is still looking at a couple of things here in the next 24 to 48 hours, so we'll see how things sort themselves out."
Clouston also indicated that today's moves mean two of the defencemen battling for jobs, flashy Swede Erik Karlsson
and rugged Matt Carkner
, "are still part of the team" just four days before the season-opener Saturday in New York against the Rangers (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). But neither is sleeping any easier just yet.
"No matter what, I've been through a lot of different things in hockey and I'm used to that kind of thing," said Carkner, 28, who's seen only two games worth of NHL duty in a nine-year pro career. "So be it if I get sent down to the minors – I've been there before and it's nothing I haven't seen before. But just being in limbo right now ... it's harder on my family because they don't know what's happening. I tell them 'just be patient' and we'll find out soon enough."
Karlsson, the Senators' top pick (15th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, dearly wants to bring his parents, Jonas and Ulla-Karen, to Ottawa for his home debut in the league. But he knows it's still too soon to book them flights from Sweden for the Oct. 8 game against the New York Islanders at Scotiabank Place.
"No matter what, I've been through a lot of different things in hockey and I'm used to that kind of thing. So be it if I get sent down to the minors – I've been there before and it's nothing I haven't seen before. But just being in limbo right now ... it's harder on my family because they don't know what's happening. I tell them 'just be patient' and we'll find out soon enough." - Matt Carkner
"It’s not easy," said the 19-year-old Karlsson, who honours his parents by wearing No. 65 (both were born in 1965). "I don’t know where I might end up. I might go back to Sweden, I might go to Bingo or I might stay here. It’s a lot of options for me and you always get a little nervous when you don’t know what’s going to happen.
"Of course, I want to stay here and I want to be an NHL player this year. The only thing I can do is perform well on the ice and off the ice, and then the other decisions are up to higher powers."
Regin's continued presence on the Senators' second line between Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev would seem to indicate a secure position on the roster. But the 23-year-old centre, who has 11 games of NHL experience on his resume, believes he'll need to start proving himself all over again when the puck drops against the Rangers.
"I think I’ve had a good camp but whether I’m sticking around… that decision starts now," said Regin, a native of Herning, Denmark. "If they send me down, I’d be disappointed but I’ve done my best and I hope it’s enough for me to stay. The regular season hasn’t started yet and after the first game, if I haven’t had a good game, nobody will remember what I did in camp.
"The regular season is a totally different thing. That’s when you have to show what calibre (of player) that you are."