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Saxon on the Storm: 'Doing the math' means some veterans won't be returning to the Guelph Storm this season

Exhibition action will see some second and third-year players fighting for their jobs

As Guelph Storm general manager George Burnett himself said on the first day of camp: “Do the math.”

This year’s training camp was never really about who was going to earn a spot on the Guelph Storm, but rather about who was going to be able to hold on to their job.

Not that Burnett would overlook a new player who, as he put it, “wowed” him during camp.

But in other years there might have been a chance for a Teth Burles or a Matt Bridgwater to stick around a bit longer and maybe hang on as that ‘surprise of camp” who sticks as a fourth liner. That wasn’t there this year.

After two days of training camp the Storm quickly reduced its numbers to 27 players late Wednesday. All signed players.

Two of those are defencemen who likely won’t break camp with the team.

That leaves 25 players, including 16 forwards on a squad that will likely carry 13 or 14 at the most.

The fact that eight players are heading to National Hockey League camps for varying lengths of time might delay the decision-making process somewhat, and Nate Schnarr is still not medically cleared for contact as he recovers from a shoulder issue.

There could even be more trades in the works, either moving position players out and/or bringing in another goaltender.

But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that several players who have been on this team in the past will not be on the team in the future.

And these players, their parents and their agents aren’t stupid. They know it too.

Nic SIcoly figured it out, realizing there wasn't room for a 19-year-old forward who scored twice last season. He called Burnett in the summer and got the lay of the land, with the team hoping to find somewhere else for him to play.

If you did not show enough last season to guarantee yourself a spot on the team this season, you better be looking to earn one during the team’s five exhibition games, the first one tonight in Ancaster, because that’s the only way you’re getting a spot.

Nick Deakin-Poot, Liam Stevens, Barret Kirwin and Cedric Ralph all know that, but the team’s top three lines are pretty much set, and they aren’t on them.

Pending Schnarr’s healthy return, the top nine of Isaac Ratcliffe, James McEwan, Givani Smith, Alexy Toropchenko, Cam Hillis, Schnarr, Matt Hotchkiss, Liam Hawel and Zach Poirier.

The fourth line, typically reserved for rookies, will likely see a rotation of Mason Primeau, Keegan Stevenson, Tag Bertuzzi and whoever the extra forward or two are.

There might be trades. There might be injuries. But that isn’t the way you hope to make a team.

There’s only one way for certain players to guarantee a return to the team, and that’s by showing Burnett they belong during pre-season play.