The thin opening for a Ducks' roster spot was underlined Wednesday as the team reduced its preseason team to 28 players by cutting four players.
Defensemen Mat Clark and Jesse Blacker and forwards Max Friberg and Chris Wagner were demoted to minor-league Norfolk.
As the team resumes practice Thursday for a Saturday preseason finale at Honda Center versus the San Jose Sharks before opening the regular season Oct. 9 at Pittsburgh, it now has 15 forwards, 10 defensemen and three goalies on the roster.
Injured defenseman Shea Theodore, the Ducks' first-round draft pick in 2013, and Josh Manson appear bound for Norfolk with Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Francois Beauchemin, Hampus Lindholm, Clayton Stoner, Bryan Allen, Sami Vatanen and Mark Fistric returning.
Goalie Jason LaBarbera would stick only if Frederik Andersen or John Gibson were hurt in the next week-plus.
Among forwards, returning Ducks center Rickard Rakell is battling fellow Swede William Karlsson for the third line's starting spot.
Among those cut Wednesday, Clark played in three preseason games and Friberg contributed an assist in his two games.