The Av's have done quite a bit while I was off enjoying my late summer. We've seen some additional signings, some PTO's, and now, finally, a game!
It was only a rookie showcase game, but we got to see several NHL hopefuls in Sam Malinski, Jason Polin, and Ivan Ivan (greatest name ever?). The Avalanche rookies faced off against the Arizona Coyotes, featuring recent top 5 pick Logan Cooley, and came away with a win, 3-2 in OT.
I got to catch part of the game, thanks to the beauty of live streams, and came away impressed with Malinski and Polin in my brief viewing. Logan Cooley is also miles ahead of his peers in a competition like this, and I think he's going to end up as a fine NHL player when he makes the show.
Polin had a solid possession shift in OT, and Sam Malinski scored the overtime winner. Check out the game winner, and also some fun hits by Polin here!
Polin with the hammer!
Malinski's OT winner
Additionally, the Avalanche have signed Tomas Tatar, who I think is a wonderful fit for this team, and at a super cheap cost.
We have agreed to terms with Tomas Tatar on a one-year deal.
Tatar had 20 goals last year, and while +/- is such a subjective statistic, a career high +41 has to count for something!
The one thing that Tomas Tatar has not brought in his career is success in the post season. He's been a healthy scratch in several team's playoff runs, most notably Montreal, and Vegas. Luckily, the Av's have several players who are known for their playoff prowess. MacKinnon, Makar, some dude named Rantanen... Nichushkin, Lehkonen... Even newcomer Jonathan Drouin has 21 points in his 33 career playoff games, so they should be able to handle Tatar's annual disappearing act.
I can't wait to see more from this team, and am super curious to see how the newcomers fit in. Jonathan Drouin and MacKinnon have been working together, and Drouin looks healthier and slimmer than I've seen him in a few years. For me, I can't wait to see them in game action.
Tatar's addition makes for some intriguing lineup combinations:
Are a set I'd like to see tried. Each of the top 2 lines has a forecheck machine (Nuke, Lehkonen), established star power (MacKinnon, Rantanen), and playmaking acumen (Drouin, Johansen), leaving a nasty third line to contend with. Wood with the speed and hitting, Tatar to bring the offensive ability, and Colton with the crash and bang shoot first mentality!
What are some line combinations you'd like to see? List them in the comments and discuss!