Now Brian Pothier, Bryan Muir and John Erskine are close to game-ready and in their collective absence the team has called up Jeff Schultz and acquired Milan Jurcina, both of whom have played surprisingly well (though in too few games to make any overly-broad proclamations as to their respective abilities). The question, then, as it was with the forwards, is who gets a sweater and who doesn't?
- Steve Eminger, Shaone Morrisonn, Mike Green and Pothier are locks.
- Like Eric Fehr, Schultz has made a case for himself to stay, at least for now (though, also like Fehr his contract situation makes him the best possibility for a demotion to Hershey).
- Jurcina is on a 25-game tryout, so he certainly stays for the time being.
- Erskine adds a physical presence that is missing on the blueline, and Eminger, when paired with Big John, played his best hockey as a pro. Erskine stays.
I think it's safe to say that the honeymoon is over for Nycholat, who hasn't played since Jurcina was acquired. But would he pass through waivers if the team tries to send him down? If not, would the team care? What about Muir - the team's leader in plus-minus - and Heward?
Personally, I think it's likely that Schultz will be sent down for the stretch run and playoff experience in Hershey. With that move, the team would be left with nine defensemen and fourteen forwards on the active roster, which is the maximum (until after the trade deadline, when there is no limit), and I would expect Heward and Muir to get occassional games (perhaps giving Green a needed rest) and Nycholat to get used to wearing a suit. Thoughts?