Coach Barry Trotz characterized the final decisions in regard to the Nashville Predators’ season-opening roster as “extremely difficult.”
Nonetheless, that process was completed Wednesday when center Jamie Lundmark was placed on injured reserve. That left 23 players, the maximum allowable on the active roster and ready to begin final preparations Thursday (players had Wednesday off) for Saturday’s season-opener against Anaheim (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena).
“They’re just tough (decisions),” Trotz said. “There’s not a right one or a wrong one. You need all different parts to be successful over 82 games. You need you skill players, you need your penalty killers, your faceoff specialists – on the right hand and the left hand. You need toughness. You need all those assets to be complete.”
The challenge in making the final decisions came from the fact that Trotz believes the team has a surplus in most areas. That was part of the motivation for Tuesday’s trade that sent defenseman Ryan Parent and forward Jonas Andersson to Vancouver in exchange for defenseman Shane O’Brien and a minor league forward.
Parent and Andersson wanted to establish themselves as full-time NHL players. Even with their departure, there are any number of similar players waiting for the same opportunity.
“We have a lot of depth in the organization right now, which is good,” Trotz said. “You’re going to need a lot of it during the season because, I think, especially in the West … there’s no easy games in the whole league but I think there’s going to be some wars going on just to make the playoffs.”
While the 23-man limit remains in place throughout most of the season, many more than that will see action for the Predators in the coming months.
Last season 16 different players missed time with injuries, which cost a total of 150 man-games and ultimately 33 different players took the ice in a Nashville uniform.
“If you get an injury here or there that could potentially devastate you, for some teams it could be devastating,” Trotz said. “For us, I think we can probably take most hits in most areas right now. From that standpoint, it’s a little bit of a luxury. The curse is that we’ve got so many guys; the blessing is that we’ve got so many guys.”
The breakdown of the Nashville Predators’ 2010 season-opening roster:
FORWARDS (14): Wade Belak, J.P. Dumont, Martin Erat, Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist, Sergei Kostitsyn, David Legwand, Matthew Lombardi, Cal O'Reilly, Jerred Smithson, Steve Sullivan, Jordin Tootoo, Joel Ward and Colin Wilson.
DEFENSEMEN (7): Francis Bouillon, Cody Franson, Kevin Klein, Shane O’Brien, Alexander Sulzer, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.
GOALTENDERS (2): Anders Lindback and Pekka Rinne.