Below is the rankings of the Sens' prospects based on readers' votes. The percentage is how many readers felt that individual would (or at least should) make the team. In brackets are the actual number of votes, based on 146 total votes.
- Nick Foligno: 79% (116 votes)
- Brian Lee: 78% (114 votes)
- Jesse Winchester: 71 % (105 votes)
- Cody Bass: 56% (83 votes)
- Ilya Zubov: 13% (19 votes)
- Brian Elliott: 2% (3 votes)
- Alex Nikulin: 1% (2 votes)
- Peter Regin: 0% (1 vote)
Lee is largely benefitting from the lack of offensive abilities within the D-corps. There are a lot of expectations heaped on this kid--he is still a kid--and he's got something to prove. Although his pre-season play was a little here-and-there, his play last year was solid, and the same will be expected this year. If anything goes wrong, and he fails to score a passing grade, then the Sens will have to decide whether to send him to the AHL or to end Project Brian Lee a little early, and send him packing for a more established blueliner.
Third in the rankings was Winchester, and he was given the best chance to excel among the Sens prospects. Playing alongside Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley will make a lot of players look good, but Winchester silenced a lot of critics--at least for the time being--with his play. He demonstrated good strength, with and without the puck, and an ability to keep up to his all-star linemates in both speed and finesse. His contract was one sign, but his play certainly proved that he's worth an extended look on the top line--or at least in the roster.
Last of those who are still on the roster is Bass, whose effort against Philadelphia demonstrated his best assets--a willingness, and even eagerness, to stand up for teammates. Bass is a sparkplug. He's a solid grit player, and seems to relish that role. Although it's uncertain whether or not he'll stay on the roster all year, it is certain that he can and would contribute if he does. And he seems like the kind of player GM Bryan Murray and coach Craig Hartsburg are looking for, so I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.
Elliott is simply out of luck due to the presence of Alex Auld and Martin Gerber. It is commonly assumed that this season will go a long way to determining what the Sens do with goaltending next season, and whether Elliott can be an NHL starter. Or whether Gerber should be re-signed. Or whether Auld isn't really a backup. Or whether we need a new goalie because all of our plans and back-up plans were proven wrong.
As for the bottom three skaters, Zubov, Nikulin, and Regin have already been sent to Binghamton (EDIT: Whoops, my bad, Regin hasn't been sent to Binghamton yet), and Zubov--who received more votes than the other two--was the best throughout training camp. Although he certainly must have impressed Murray with his devotion and conditioning this off-season (he stayed in North America instead of going home, and trained with Chris Neil), I guess Murray believes another year in the AHL is necessary. As for SputNik, his blog (translated here on HFBoards) indicates that he'd thought a spot on the NHL team was all but guaranteed. He didn't impress as much as Zubov, and probably won't be very happy with the demotion. Still, if he accepts it as a challenge, rather than an insult, perhaps he and Zubov will train together in the off-season, and will return as seasoned players with two full years of North American pro experience. And Regin was in his first training camp, so it's no big surprise he's being given a season in the AHL (EDIT: Regin hasn't been sent down yet, as I said above).