Maine Hockey Journal

Expect roster moves in the near future

It would appear that the panic levels have risen in the O.C. as the defending Stanley Cup Champions are set for their home opener on Wednesday against Boston. The Anaheim Ducks are currently mired in a 1-3-1 record, losing their last three games since returning from England.

Since they’ve retuned, Anaheim has sent Bobby Ryan back to Portland because he wasn’t able to produce offensively and his play was less than satisfactory to Ducks’ Head Coach Randy Carlyle. The Ducks also recalled Jason King, who score two goals in the season opener for the Pirates on Friday night and Drew Miller, who impressed many during training camp, but was sent down as a result of a numbers game.

For King, he will only have a short opportunity to produce as several bodies for the Ducks are close to coming back. J.S. Giguere, Sammi Pahlsson and Travis Moen could all return to the line up on Wednesday night, which will be determined by a pre-game skate, but if not Wednesday, it will certainly be Sunday against the Wild.

With the Ducks having 26-players on the current roster, it only dictates that a group of players will be returning to Portland in order for the Ducks to get within the league limit of 23-players, although Anaheim has a history of only carrying 22-players on the active roster.

In order to make room for the players returning from injury, Anaheim will first start in goal. Giguere will slip back into his role as the number one goaltender, while Bryzgalov will continue to be the back up. This unfortunately will leave Jonas Hiller as the odd-man out, meaning he would be sent to Portland.

As for Moen and Pahlsson, they will likely find themselves back in the line up on the second and third lines. Players likely to be on the move back east would be Miller, King or Ryan Carter.

King will only have a few games to show Ducks brass he can score and fill in on the second line, if not he will find himself back in Portland. Another reason why King’s time is limited is due to waivers, if he’s on a roster for more than 10 games or 30 days, he would need to clear waivers to come back to Portland and several team such as Chicago wouldn’t mind having King on their roster.

The final roster spot would be a toss up, but based on previous history with the Ducks, the probable candidate to be sent back would be Miller, mostly because of his size. Both Carter and Miller are over 6ft in height, but there’s a 38-pound difference in body mass and over the course of an NHL season, that can play a huge role in the type of bang and crash game the Ducks play.

Once Anaheim makes their roster moves, it will leave Pirates’ Head Coach Kevin Dineen with some serious decisions to make as to who stays on the roster and who is on the outside looking in.

Again, the first move in Portland would have to be in goal as the Pirates currently have three goaltenders. Coleman is being evaluated by doctors after getting hit in the head on Friday night against Springfield and Bobby Goepfert has yet to see any practice time with the team after suffering a groin injury, which caused him to miss all of training camp in both Anaheim and Portland.

J.P. Levasseur made a name for himself on Saturday with a brilliant game, earning at least an extended look while Hiller’s is in town. Hiller will get the majority of the ice time, but having Levasseur and Coleman fighting for the back-up position is only good for the team as a whole.

With 14 forwards presently in Portland and the potential of adding two more will undoubtedly making coaching decisions a difficult one at best.

Easing the pain is the fact that Shane Hynes (foot) and Bobby Bolt (hand) are currently out with injuries, but it still leaves Dineen with the decision of scratching at least three players on a nightly basis or reassigning them to Augusta.

Dineen will have options, because the team plays fewer three-in-three weekends, it will allow Dineen to have a steady line up, but the ability to adjust should a player show fatigue or signs of injury.

Another option at Dineen’s disposal is the fact he could dress 12 forwards and 5 defensemen, using Clay Wilson as the swingman.

While they panic out in sunny California, there’s certainly no panic here in Portland.

NOTES: Pirates forward Andrew Ebbett is the Pirates Player of the Week. This is the first time this season that Ebbett has earned the honor. The former Binghamton Senator, notched a goal and two assists this week during the Pirates two games.

On Friday, the Vernon, BC native recorded assists on both the Pirates goals by Jason King. On Saturday, Ebbett sparked the team with a goal in a 4-1 win over Lowell.

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