One day after their exhibition victory in Port Huron, the Rockers started the process of trimming their roster down in preparation for the regular season. I'll get into who was let go, but the biggest news was the return of starting goaltender Trevor Babin. Babin was in camp with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL and not only saw action in the K-Wings exhibition opener Friday, he won the game. Babs played 27 minutes in the contest, stopping ten of eleven shots, a number in spectacular fashion, then after giving up a goal in the first round of the shootout, stoned the next four Toledo shooters, allowing the Wings to pull out the 3-2 victory. I'm a bit surprised that the very next day he was released from his PTO, but hockey can be a cruel business. Hopefully he made enough of an impression that with Fraser not far from Kalamazoo, he might get another shot at a call-up during the course of the season. As glad as I am to see Babin back on the Motor City roster, I'd be shocked if he spends the whole season here. He simply deserves a permanent shot at a higher level and I am sure will return determined to make that happen, if not in Kalamazoo then somewhere else.
With their number one goalie returning, the Rockers made room by releasing rookie Eli Bowers who was solid in net Friday in Port Huron, stopping 23 of 24 shots. Hopefully he gets a shot elsewhere as well. That leaves the Motor City goaltending depth chart standing with Babin as your starter and Blake Scott and Ricardo Gonzalez competing for the back-up spot.
Also released were two players who saw action in Port Huron. Defenseman Zach Huggins, who played in two games for Motor City early last season, was let go, as was forward Glynn Robitaille who scored the first Rockers goal Friday at McMorran Arena. With the season opener less than a week away, expect to see more moves this week leading up to Friday night's puck drop back in Port Huron. A number of key players from last year's squad are still in camp in higher leagues, if any of them return, more cuts will follow and the roster will look even closer to the one that closed out last season. There will still be enough turnover that a few new faces will be in the lineup come opening night, the next few days will make it much clearer how things shake out.