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Rookies Galore

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Both blog and have the final roster cuts which reveal that four rookies break camp with the big club.

Tobias Enstrom is hardly a surprise given his high level of play during the pre-season. I would have been shocked if they sent him down to the AHL. The real question is will they put him on the 1st or 2nd power play unit?

Brett Sterling is also not a surprise given that he has nothing left to prove in the AHL. He did his part by scoring during the pre-season and now has to demonstrate that he can put up points in the toughest hockey league on earth.

Mark Popovic has been on the cusp of becoming a NHL player for a long time. In fact, he probably would have played in Atlanta during the last two seasons if the there had been substantial injuries to the defensemen--but that group has been remarkably healthy in the two seasons since the lockout.

Bryan Little is perhaps a surprise. If he struggles the first few weeks he might still be sent down and LaVallee called back up. He was a bit too deferential early and Coach Hartley's call for rookies to step and demand a spot seems to have sparked his play in the last two exhibition games. He cashed in some of those chances in Florida last night. Hopefully, his confidence will grow so that he doesn't have stage fright playing in the NHL with superstar wingers.

The last remaining question remains lines--namely where does Holik fit into them? At the start of camp the coaches assembled what looked (to me at least) like the lines for opening night.

But if Little made the team I'm assuming you want him on a scoring line, probably between Hossa and Kozlov. So where to you put Holik? He's a natural center. I'd rather see the speedy Perrin-Dupuis stay together, so do you have him center the 4th line and move Slater to wing and scratch Boulton? This and other mysteries will be revealed in coming days.