Just wanted a place to discuss the sudden (at least sudden for me) emergence of Riley Nash as a potential answer for the "so who's centering the third line?" question.
There are certainly implications for the other candidates, if he truly is an option for that particular role, in that the roster is already looking a bit crowded for the forwards.
We have 10 forwards signed to one-way contracts right now: Staal, Ruutu, Cole, Samsonov, Jokinen, LaRose, Sutter, Kostopoulos, Tlusty, and Dwyer.
So, assuming that we're going to carry 13 forwards on the roster to meet our 22-player requirement (along with 7 defensemen and 2 goalies), then there are three slots open for our two-way contracts to share.
Potential candidates for those three forward slots include: Boychuk, Bowman, Samson, Dalpe, Osala, Sanguinetti, and now potentially Riley. That's 7 bodies competing for 3 slots, one of which might be a healthy scratch if no one's injured or we're not sitting a one-way contract (but, that's a separate discussion).
So, Riley's sudden emergence as an option potentially crowds those shared slots down to just two for 6 bodies that want some time in the NHL.
And, as a further item of discussion, how do you think those that worked their way up from the CHL to the AHL and are now reaching for the NHL feel about someone dropping in from the college ranks to potentially take a NHL slot with no AHL time whatsoever?
Don't get me wrong, it happens, especially with college-route defensemen, but even then they usually cut their pro teeth in the AHL before jumping to the NHL.
Is Nash trying to skip riding the bus entirely and stay in school until a NHL slot is almost guaranteed? Or, is he willing to "pay some dues" in the AHL, while we audition some of the two-way contracts for the slot he covets?
Must be some interesting discussions going on among management...and perhaps among the players.