The young players of the Vancouver Canucks are already coming along and there was a push that sent one player that stuck around late last year, as forward Ronalds Kenins was demoted on Friday night, along with forward Brandon Gaunce. These guys didn't exactly have the worst camps out of the bunch, but they were falling just a bit short of some of the other youthful players in camp.
Kenins was projected in the 25-point range a couple of times in these preseason projections, so there was some upside to his game, if he was going to play full-time. I would think he would get a bit more time through the season, but it appears that he's dropped in the depth chart in camp.
As expected, the call-ups by the Columbus Blue Jackets yesterday, did indeed head back to the AHL on Saturday morning, even though some of them had an excellent showing against the Buffalo Sabres in preseason play on Friday night. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano headline the group heading back to the minors on Saturday morning, both should be early call-ups, if there are injuries, but for now, they'll stay down in the minors, working on their craft.
If you're looking to Columbus for some rookie help, Kerby Rychel and William Karlsson have been good for the team thus far and still might make it into the lineup this season.
The Edmonton Oilers raised a few eyebrows this morning, as they placed defenseman Nikita Nikitin on waivers for the purpose of assignment on Saturday morning. Nikitin carries a $4.5 million cap hit, which wouldn't all be buried in the minors, but a good portion of it would be, $925,000 to be exact, much like Bryan Bickell of the Blackhawks. Nikitin, however, does have a little bit of an upside to his game, so if someone is willing to take on that contract, he could certainly help out a team's depth.
Unfortunately, for draft purposes, we won't know if he's minors bound or picked up until tomorrow. This would be a huge gamble on your blueline, if you were to pick him up.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made some sweeping cuts on Saturday morning, bringing their roster down to the 23-man limit, putting two bodies on the Injured Reserve (Eric Fehr & Tom Kuhnhackl), releasing one from their PTO (Sergei Gonchar) and demoting a few. Included in those demotions was defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who couldn't quite make the opening night roster, despite a few outlets projecting him to do so. He'll start the year in the AHL and he'll likely be an early call-up, when needed.
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