So - here is what the depth chart looks like so far...
Center: Cal O'Reilly Dustin Jeffrey Dane Fox Brendan Gaunce Kellan Lain Alex Friesen Alexandre Mallet
Wings: Nicklas Jensen Hunter Shinkaruk Mike Zalewski Alexandre Grenier Darren Archibald Ronalds Kenins Brandon DeFazio Ludwig Blomstrand Patrick Kennedy (Utica contract)
Defense: Alex Biega (R) Frank Corrado (R) Kent Huskins (Utica contract) Bobby Sanguinetti (R) Peter Andersson Henrik Tommernes Evan McEneny Jeremie Blain (R) Kane Lafranchise (Utica contract) John Negrin (Utica contract)
Goal: Joacim Eriksson Joe Cannata
Seems like Mallet will be in tough to stick in the AHL at center... Also, with three Utica contracts on defence, will McEneny be destined to begin his pro career in Kalamazoo?
Lain is 25 and Archibald is 24 - you've got to think that this is the year that determines if they ever get a bottom 6 NHL job - or are career AHLers. Grenier, and Friesen are 23 and are pretty much in the same boat.
Kenins is also 23, but will be getting his first chance at North American pro hockey - I am curious to see how he will do.
Utica should be pretty good this year. They finished only 2 points out of a playoff spot last year, and should be in the mix this year.
With Markstrom and Eriksson they should have excellent goaltending (much better than last year at the very least).
Defense should be pretty decent with Huskins/Corrado Andersson/Biega Tommernes/Humphries/Sanguinetti
The forward group should be massively improved with Gaunce, Fox, Kenins, Zalewski, Shinkaruk, Jensen and maybe even Valk thrown into the mix. Hopefully we see continued improvement from the likes of Grenier, Archibald and Lain.