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McKenzie: The take on WJHC camp, Nabokov and Rolston

Bob McKenzie
12/14/2010 12:49:53 PM
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Some thoughts on the World Junior Hockey Championship and NHL, as sent out on Twitter on Tuesday.

From World Junior Camp

My opinion, for whatever it's worth, is that goaltender Mark Visentin will get one of the two jobs in net with Olivier Roy or Calvin Pickard or, as a longer shot, JP Anderson.

On defence, the three returnees (Ryan Ellis, Calvin de Haan, Jared Cowen) are set. I think Dylan Olsen and Erik Gudbranson are solid in the top six. If so, that leaves kids Ryan Murray and Ryan Murphy to compete with Tyson Barrie, Mark Pysyk and Simon Despres for the final two spots. I can't see both kids making it now.

Barrie played well Monday night, but Despres has struggled. I would have thought Despres would have been in the top six, but he needs to step up.

The battle for spots on the wing is wide open. In my opinion, only Jaden Schwartz, Louis Leblanc and Zack Kassian are solid. There are seven other guys battling for the remaining five spots.

At centre, I see Brayden Schenn, Ryan Johansen and Sean Couturier making it, which leaves Brandon Pirri, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Riley Sheahan and Casey Cizikas Cizikas battlilng for one spot down the middle.

Whichever five forwards (two wingers and three centres) don't make the Top 12, one will be in line for Team Canada's 13th forward.

Evgeni Nabokov's Return?

My take is that the Washington Capitals have no interest in Nabokov and is fully committed - at this point - to go with kids Semyon Varlamov and Michael Neuvirth.

The Tampa Bay Lightning may, - and I stress may - have some interest in Nabokov, but maybe calling up Cedrick Desjardins is an option. Or Dwayne Roloson - if he gets moved. At some point, one would think that the Lightning, have to address the goaltending situation because Dan Ellis and Mike Smith just aren't getting it done.

As for Nabokov, I can't really think of any other teams looking for a goalie or in a position to be able to sign one.

Rolston Waived

Brian Rolston has a cap hit of $5.062 million this year and next on a 35-and-older type contract, which means even if assigned to the minors or if he retires, he still counts fully against the New Jersey Devils' cap.
 
The only reason I can think for the Devils putting him on waivers is to put him on re-entry waivers after he clears, and I would imagine he will. There must be a team prepared to take Rolston on re-entry. He is slated to earn $5 million this year and $5 million next year but team claiming him on re-entry is only on hook for half the salary and half the cap hit.
 
By losing him on re-entry, Devils would owe him half his salary for this year and next but would open up about $2.5 million in cap space this season and next.
 
Now Lou Lamoriello has no problem with Rolston on or off the ice and is simply trying to shake loose some cap room. Rolston should clear waivers and if so, I suspect he goes on re-entry waivers and the Devils either hope or know someone will claim him. I think it's hope at this point, but Rolston at $2.5 million cap hit and salary is something some teams might consider.

Bob McKenzie

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