KITCHENER -- There may be just one spot up for grabs on the Senators' roster.
After the four-team rookie tournament wrapped up last night at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, coach John Paddock and assistants Greg Carvel, Ron Low and Eli Wilson returned to Ottawa, preparing to make some tough decisions when training camp kicks off with physicals on Thursday.
"As it stands now, we're short a player on the NHL roster," said Paddock.
The Senators aren't sure, at this point, where the roster opening going to be. Christoph Schubert would prefer to play full-time on the blueline, but Murray and Paddock want to delay a decision on that.
The top two pairings with Chris Phillips teamed with Anton Volchenkov and Wade Redden with Andrej Meszaros are virtually set. Joe Corvo is seeking a partner and Schubert is could grab that spot.
The Senators want to give veteran Luke Richardson a chance and they also want to see where Lawrence Nycholat, acquired from Washington at last year's trade deadline, might fit.
"There's a spot that's going to be filled by somebody. I don't know who, or where it's at, it looks like it's going to be a forward right now," said Paddock. "But, it's going to depend on what (Richardson and Nycholat) warrant for playing time and we know that Schubert is capable of playing both."
Paddock knows Schubert wants to play defence, but the coaches will act in the best interests of the team.
"I'm going to have a chat with him and say that we don't know right now," said Paddock. "It was a unique situation (last year). You had this so-called fourth-line left- winger who was able to kill penalties on defence, sometimes ahead of Redden and Meszaros the way they played and sometimes not.
"He's a unique player and we need to take advantage of that. He wants to play defence, but sometimes you can't have everything you want. Some guys want to score 40 goals, but they don't get a chance to score them."
Wingers Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, Chris Neil, Patrick Eaves and Shean Donovan have already got spots locked up. Tough guy Brian McGrattan has to earn more playing time while Josh Hennessy, Nick Foligno and Alexander Nikulin are going to get a chance in the pre-season.
"Different guys are going to get an opportunity to play," said Paddock. "We've got guys in Binghamton who are going to challenge for a spot now. There's certainly going to be some mixing and matching in camp."