Saturday, September 20, 2008

A key roster tweak is still needed

Justin Williams was just hitting his stride as a player in this league when he went down with the knee injury in December of last year. Consecutive seasons of 76 and 67 points made Justin an indispensable cog in the Canes offensive machine. Then last week, Kaboom! A ruptured Achilles tendon sets him back again. That has to be agonizing to a guy who knows the window of opportunity at this level is only open for a very short time. Good luck Justin. Make sure you max-out on glucosamine and chondroitin during your rehab.

So what to do in the waning days before the start of another season-another season the Canes can't afford to write-off because of key injuries. The Canes re-stocked the pantry with young defensemen this off season, but the forward corps looks very shaky. Cap'n Roddy, Whitney, Cullen, Walker, Ruutu, Eaves and Larose all have significant injury histories.

Here's what I'm not banking on:
1. Canes swinging a deal that brings in a Williams caliber player.
2. Jeff O'Neill suddenly becoming a dedicated two-way player.
3. Brandon Sutter showing up for game one with 25 pounds of extra muscle and the enhanced heart/lung capacity to grind out 20 minutes of ice time every night.
4. Some youngster or journeyman emerging from the league's worst farm system and have a breakout season.

So I say it's time to try again to move Kaberle or Seidenberg to create depth in the Canes forward corps. The Sens are said to be looking for an offensive defenseman. The Leafs have a Kaberle, why shouldn't the Sens? The Bruins and Kings are also looking for a puck-moving blueliner. The Kings only show four defensemen on their roster. And with all the exits they've had in the off season, Tom Preissing is the closest thing to a scoring machine on that roster.

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