With the up-front lines spoken for, let's tackle the defense:
* The obvious: Zdeno Chara is the No. 1 defenseman. In Rochester, Claude Julien experimented with Chara on the right side. But I think the best way to squeeze every bit of efficiency from Chara's game is to place him on the left side where he's most comfortable.
* So who plays with Chara? The captain had chemistry with Dennis Seidenberg upon the latter's arrival from Florida last season. Seidenberg, however, projects to be the No. 2 defenseman. Pairing Chara with Seidenberg would create a top-heavy unit that could be exploited when they're on the bench. They'll have better balance if Johnny Boychuk plays alongside Chara.
* Seidenberg patrols the right side on the No. 2 pairing with Andrew Ference. Ference projects to be more of a third-pairing defenseman, but his $2.25 million salary says otherwise.
* Mark Stuart and Matt Hunwick round out the six-pack, with Adam McQuaid being the spare. Hunwick is most at risk of being pushed by Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski. But the two ex-collegians would be best served getting some pro experience in Providence first.