The Ducks had a day off the ice Sunday, but it was a busy day of travel for six players released from training camp.
Center Trevor Smith, center MacGregor Sharp, goaltender Timo Pielmeier and defenseman Jake Newton were assigned to Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Igor Bobkov was assigned to his Ontario Hockey League team, the London Knights, and forward Stephane Veilleux was released from his pro tryout contract.
Only 30 players remain on the roster and the opening-day roster is starting to become more clear.
Of the 18 forwards remaining, two are injured (wingers Jason Jaffray and Joffrey Lupul). So really, that leaves 16 forwards left to compete for what will likely be 14 opening-day jobs. Assuming all finish the preseason healthy, it’s a lot more clear today who is on the bubble.
By releasing the veteran Veilleux, the Ducks are more likely to commit to Dan Sexton, Troy Bodie, Ryan Carter or Josh Green as a second- or third-line winger. Sexton in particular had a strong game Saturday in Vancouver, getting a team-best four shots on goal (and being robbed on one by Roberto Luongo) in 17:13 on ice. Green scored the lone goal Saturday by re-directing a deep shot past Luongo. Bodie offers the most size (6-4, 225) and Carter might be the best two-way forward of the group. At least one of those players is likely to be cut; center Maxime Macenauer, who has never played a game above the ECHL level, remains in camp but is a longshot to make the team.
Bobkov’s re-assignment leaves Jonas Hiller and Curtis McElhinney as the only goalies in camp.
By sending the San Jacinto native Newton to Syracuse, the Ducks have 10 defensemen remaining on the roster. One, Toni Lydman, has yet to practice with teammates as he recovers from a bout of double vision. That leaves Brett Festerling, Cam Fowler, Brendan Mikkelson, Luca Sbisa and Danny Syvret to compete for two jobs – roughly the group that was envisioned to be here when camp began.
The Ducks are back at practice again tomorrow at Honda Center.