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2015 Training Camp Round-up – Oct 2nd

Teams don't have to comply with the 23-man roster limit until Tuesday, but some aren't waiting that long to make the toughest calls.

The Chicago Blackhawks in particular made some surprising moves Friday afternoon by waiving Bryan Bickell and sending Marko Dano to the minors. 

NHL: SEP 22 Preseason - Red Wings at BlackhawksDano was acquired by the Blackhawks this summer as part of the Brandon Saad deal and he's coming off of an encouraging season that involved him recording 21 points in 35 contests with Columbus.  He initially looked like a good bet to make the squad and even now it wouldn't be surprising to see him earn a regular spot with Chicago before the end of the campaign.  In fact, it wouldn't be shocking if Chicago ended up summoning him before the season opener, although that would naturally raise questions about why he was cut in the first place.

The decision to waive Bickell is getting more attention though.  After all, he still has two campaigns left on his four-year, $16 million deal.  Chicago does get some cap relief if he's stashed in the minors, but the new CBA prevents the Blackhawks from completely or even mostly washing their hands of his cap hit via a demotion.  The ideal scenario for Chicago would likely involve Bickell being claimed, but in the current climate it would be somewhat surprising to see that happen.

It is worth noting that Bickell took part in Friday's practice despite being waived and while that kind of thing isn't unheard of, it is possible that Chicago is simply exploring its options.  The Blackhawks might want to get things ready for the possibility of sending him to the minors, but haven't made the decision yet.  And if it leads to him getting claimed, then Chicago would likely view that as a pleasant surprise. 

Another high profile player - at least by virtue of his contract - exposed to waivers on Friday was Colin Greening.  He inked a three-year, $7.95 million deal with Ottawa that runs through 2016-17 and that's quickly turned into a terrible deal.  He only played in 26 games with Ottawa last season and was limited to a single point - a far cry from his 37-point rookie showing in 2011-12.  Now at the age of 29, it's looking increasingly unlikely that Greening will ever live up to his early promise.

While Bickell and Greening aren't likely to get claimed on waivers, the Philadelphia Flyers have already lost someone to the system (Chris Porter) and are in danger of surrendering another before their season opener.  In Philadelphia, the battle for the final defensive spot seems to be down to Brandon Manning and Luke Schenn, but if the Flyers put Manning on waivers, he would likely be taken.

Schenn might not be claimed though given his $3.6 million cap hit for the 2015-16 campaign.  That being said, the Flyers preference would be to solve the logjam with a trade if they can.  The other option is that Philadelphia could cut forward Scott Laughton and simply carry more defensemen, but that seems less likely to happen.

 As Philadelphia mulls its next move, the New York Rangers have become one of the first to get their roster set for the start of the regular season.  The Rangers placed Raphael Diaz and Jayson Megna on waivers, bringing their roster to 23 players, assuming both of them are sent to the minors if they clear.

That means Dylan McIlrath is now projected to be a part of the New York Rangers' opening game roster.  The 23-year-old defenseman was taken with the 10th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has only appeared in three NHL games.  To put that into context, the next lowest player in terms of NHL games played from that year's top-10 is Brett Connolly, who has appeared in 139 contests.

McIlrath would have needed to be exposed to waivers if he didn't make the team, which meant that this might have been his final chance to secure a roster spot as a member of the Rangers' organization.  Even now though, he needs to continue to climb as he's likely to start the season as New York's seventh defenseman.

On the injury front, the Detroit Red Wings have lost Danny DeKeyser for the next three-to-four weeks due to a sprained ligament in his foot.  That's particularly unfortunate for the Red Wings as it further delays his ability to work with newcomer Mike Green, who is returning from a groin injury.  Green will likely play alongside Xavier Ouellet for now.