It's Friday! We're gettin' down to one week, in most cases, before training camps start all around the league. The big camps. The camps where all the veterans are lacing them up in formal practices. That's good news. What else is good news is that some (if not most) of the rookie camps start today. That's also very exciting. We will actually have our first round of cuts fairly soon.
In some cases, like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the camp will start earlier, since they will be off to Europe to start the season, along with the Senators, Lightning and Rangers. The Penguins officially open camp on the 16th, which is Tuesday, and will have rookies participating in a tournament with Florida, Toronto and Ottawa, this weekend.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there will be too many changes to the Selection Sheet before the 17th, which is Wednesday. The whole Mats Sundin saga is going to go to the bitter end of training camp, it would seem and this could spark a busy, busy week before the season starts. As of today, there are seven teams with salary cap concerns... Calgary, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, San Jose, Philadelphia and Anaheim. All of these teams are hovering around the $57 million or more mark and something will have to be done to their rosters before the season starts. In the Sundin saga; Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, Vancouver and Tampa Bay are all waiting to hear what the big Swede is planning to do and until the last week before the season starts, these teams will continue to wait. Someone will have to jump the gun, however, and make some moves that their team requires to be ready for the coming season. Brendan Shanahan, Mark Parrish, Glen Murray, Teemu Selanne and Mathieu Schneider are all reportedly waiting for this Sundin bit to be over with so teams can approach them for signing purposes (or a trade in Schneider's case).
This sort of situation doesn't benefit many people who are working on their hockey pool lists about now. The Selection Sheet will likely be without most of those players listed above, of course Schneider is signed and ready to go, but where will he be when the season starts? That's his only question. For those drafting in the next couple weeks, you're very well suited to avoid these players, as it's quite the gamble to take them and possibly waste a few games without them. Rumours are not a good way to build your team, as you want your players to be playing as much as possible for an increased chance of points. Your team is likely better off with young, up-and-coming players than these unsigned veterans. If these players do sign, they will likely be better served as mid-season pick-ups anyways.
As for this weekend, it has the makings of being a very quiet one again when it comes to hockey news. Not very many teams are going to budge when it comes to making moves until they have some word on Sundin or they are too scared to wait anymore. Most of the GM's that are polled about Sundin are willing to wait it all out, even though some of them really shouldn't wait anymore. On Monday, we may have some idea of who's falling off the hope-wagon though... a move or two could be in the works, since training camp is almost ready to start and chemistry is a big part of camps... you don't want any new addition to feel out of place when they hit the ice for game one of the pre-season.