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2015 Training Camp Round-up – Sept 28

In recent days there's been a flurry of players cut from team's training camp rosters, but very little of it has been surprising as many of them were long shots to make the team from the moment they reported to camp.  While those players still set their goals high, ultimately a successful camp would be one where they made a strong impression and there are plenty of examples of that kind of success.

One of the more interesting examples of that is Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson. He was returned to OHL Barrie on Sunday, but Flames GM Brad Treliving emphasized that he had an "excellent camp."

"But we challenge guys to come in and make a decision difficult, and he made it difficult," Treliving added, per the Calgary Sun "He made it really, really difficult. We could have easily kept him." 

Rasmus Andersson of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.What makes that stand out is the fact that the odds were so firmly stacked against Andersson staying.  It's very rare for someone taken after the first round of the draft (Andersson was 53rd overall) to make the leap in their draft year.  It would have been more unusual still given that the Flames are one of the deepest teams defensively and getting Andersson any ice time under those circumstances would have been tough.  So the idea that sending Andersson down was anything but a straightforward decision speaks a lot to his recent performance. 

The idea that it just wouldn't have made logistical sense to keep him can be applied to a number of the other talented players that have been cut recently.  Jeremy Smith and Jonas Gustavsson are now in a direct battle for the backup gig in Boston as Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban have been reassigned to the AHL.

NHL: SEP 22 Preseason - Capitals at BruinsIt would have ultimately been a questionable choice if McIntyre or Subban had won the number two spot given how much Boston is likely to lean on Tuukka Rask, but it would have certainly been interesting to see either one of them in the NHL.  Both have a lot of promise as Subban was taken in the first round of the 2012 draft and has gone on to post two strong seasons in the minors while McIntyre won the Richter Award in 2015 as the NCAA's top goaltender. 

In the short-term, having them compete for ice time in the minors makes a lot of sense as they should benefit from the extra seasoning.  Still, Boston's goaltending situation will be one to watch in the years to come as Rask's contract runs through 2020-21, making it perfectly reasonable to ask if Boston is the best fit for any other talented goaltender at this time.  If Subban and McIntyre both continue to develop, then the Bruins could have quite the logjam, which will be a nice problem for them to have. 

Going back to the current battle for the backup job, if Gustavsson does win it then he will be one of the few players to earn a contract after accepting a professional tryout offer.  Although it seems fair to regard veterans that take PTOs as those exercising their Plan B after a fruitless summer, this year is stands out to an extent just due to the sheer number of noteworthy unrestricted free agents that ended up without a contract, in part due to the salary cap increasing by only a modest amount for the 2015-16 campaign. 

Some of the players that found themselves a victim of this set of circumstances had to resort to taking far less than originally projected, as was the case with defenseman Cody Franson, but many others had to accept PTOs.  That's led to scenarios where veteran forwards Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi, and Brad Boyes were competing for a spot with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Boyes ultimately earning a one-year deal while Glencross and Setoguchi were released from their tryouts.

Elsewhere Jan Hejda, Stu Bickel, Matt Carkner, Ray Emery, James Sheppard, and Douglas Murray are among the PTO players with NHL experience that have been released over the last few days.  Many more are still fighting for a roster spot, with some of the more interesting examples being Daniel Paille (Chicago), Andrej Meszaros (Colorado), Martin Havlat (Florida), Tomas Fleischmann (Montreal), Sergei Gonchar (Pittsburgh), and Scott Gomez (St. Louis). 

Whether those players are able to make their respective teams this season will be one of the big storylines going forward.