Colorado Avalanche Ready to Start the Season
The Colorado Avalanche front office is probably tired after all of the salary cap gymnastics they've had to do in the last few days to ensure the team is compliant to start the year, but nonetheless, here we are!
After seeing that backup goalie Pavel Francouz would not be ready to go to start the season, the Avs have started by claiming Russian goaltender Ivan Prosvetov from the Arizona Coyotes.
The 24 year old goalie doesn't have the greatest NHL career stats, with a 4.07 GAA and a 0.871 Save percentage, but he has size you can't teach (6'5") and from all accounts, seems to be an athletic goalie with some fundamental flaws in his technique. He will wear #50 for the Avalanche, and it'll be curious to see where he starts and how he fits in. Has Justus Annunen played well enough to hold down that #2 spot while Francouz heals up? The aforementioned Finn was sent down, but then brought back up after Frankie was put on LTIR today.
It was also nice to see Riley Tufte brought back up after being sent down through waivers, which he cleared. It is the opinion of several Avalanche writers, myself included, that he earned his spot after his play in preseason. Unfortunately, this has led to some doubt on the availability of veteran Andrew Cogliano on the 4th line to start. If he's not ready to go, expect to see Tufte lining up on the LW with Frederik Olofsson, another former Dallas Star, and Logan O'Connor on the RW.
We also had a trade to look at from the Avalanche side.
Caleb Jones, the brother of Seth Jones, and son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, joins the Avalanche to possibly become the 7th defenseman for the team. Jones played a career high 73 games for the Chicago Blackhawks, and blocked 118 shots, threw 116 hits and had more giveaways than takeaways on a terrible Blackhawks team that won the Draft Lottery and selected Connor Bedard, who is heralded as the next big thing to hit the NHL.
Jones will start with the Colorado Eagles, from all accounts, but could come up to the big club before too long.
Next, lets take a look at the breakdown of the lineup as it is expected to be starting tomorrow.
Jonathan Drouin - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Drouin and MacKinnon have the chemistry, in our short viewings of them together in preseason, and Rantanen gonna Rantanen. Coming off a monster season, along with MacKinnon, this leaves Jonathan Drouin playing with two of the best players he's ever played with. At least since Tampa. I can't wait to see them playing in real NHL games. The only qualm I have is I think splitting MacKinnon and Rantanen might be best.... We might see that sometime soon.
Artturi Lehkonen – Ryan Johansen – Valeri Nichushkin
Lehkonen and Nichushkin are absolute PUCKHOUNDS. They forecheck hard, and are set to do the heavy lifting for the skilled Ryan Johansen to start the season. This is why I think maybe Rantanen coming down to play on this line makes the Av's a bit more balanced. Having a Valeri Nichushkin puckhounding on the top line, and countrymen Lehkonen and Rantanen on the 2nd line with Johansen in between... We'll see how it goes!
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Tomas Tatar
Wood, Colton, and Tatar could be one of the better third lines the Avalanche have brought into an opening day in a bit. Tatar has shown his skill through the preseason, and looked to be the swing guy on PP2, Wood and Colton have thrown the body around... I am genuinely excited to see these guys go at full NHL speed.
Riley Tufte/Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Logan O’Connor
If Cogs is out to start, Tufte comes in here. Tufte and Olofsson have shown some great chemistry in preseason, and I've been impressed with Tufte using his size to keep opponent's off the puck. Olofsson is a solid checking line forward, and LOC is a known commodity in Denver with his speed. I'm happy with this, and really like the way this line shapes up with either Tufte or Cogliano there.
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Toews and Makar just works, mark it down, 'nuff said.
Bowen Byram – Josh Manson
I like the potential here.. This will let Bowen Byram run and push that offensive, knowing that
Josh Manson is back there to back him up. The question mark here is the health of Josh Manson... He seemed on and off again during the preseason.
Sam Girard – Jack Johnson
Sam Girard has looked solid in my viewings in preseason, making some smart decisions, and Jack Johnson is the veteran presence who is loved in the room. How do JJ's legs hold up? This is why I think the Av's traded for Caleb Jones... He could be that 7th defenseman to help give JJ some nights off.
Georgie is the starter! Big surprise. I can't wait to see him show what he can do for a 2nd year in a row. The Av's need him to come up big.
Ivan Prosvetov/Justus Annunen
It's a coin toss. Prosvetov hasn't been in Denver yet for practice, so I wonder if he's dealing with Visa issues or something. Annunen was brought back up on paper, and is likely to be the backup at least to start this season.
OPENING NIGHT is tomorrow for the Colorado Avalanche, starting off against the LA Kings in LA.
8:00 PM MDT is the start time, and the Avs start the 23-24 season off looking down one of the deepest center lineups in the West, if not the league, in Anze Kopitar, Phillipe Danault, and
newly acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois.
THE SEASON IS FINALLY HERE! Let's go AVS!