The Avalanche trip to Stockholm has turned into a disappointing one for three of the team's four Swedish-born players.
Only captain Gabriel Landeskog
, who is from Stockholm, will play Friday in the first of two games against Ottawa at the Ericsson Globe in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series.
Center Carl Soderberg
remained in Denver to be with his wife, who is due to give birth to their third child, and defensemen Anton Lindholm
and Patrik Nemeth
are injured. Lindholm has a broken jaw and will be sidelined indefinitely, while Nemeth has an undisclosed injury and didn't practice Thursday.
Coach Jared Bednar
told NHL.com's Dan Rosen
that rookie defenseman Samuel Girard
, who was acquired in the Matt Duchene
trade, will make his Avalanche debut possibly paired with Erik Johnson
"It's something we're considering," Bednar said. "That job has been filled by committee. I'd like to get a guy we can trust and play there a lot. It's a big job, though, if you look at the opposition EJ plays against, especially for a young player. "
The Avalanche still have seven healthy defensemen, but the injuries to Lindholm and Nemeth will force Bednar to change the pairings.
Lindholm was spending time with Johnson, and Nemeth has been with Tyson Barrie
. The healthy blue liners: Barrie, Girard, Johnson, Mark Barberio, Chris Bigras, Andrei Mironov
and Nikita Zadorov
Based on the line combinations at practice Thursday, rookie Alexander Kerfoot
would replace Duchene as the second-line center with Sven Andrighetto
and Nail Yakupov
Kerfoot had a rough day with an allergic reaction to peanuts, which he discussed in this installment of his NHL.COM BLOG.
Rookie J.T. Compher
, who missed the past six games because of a broken thumb, would replace Soderberg as the third-line center with Matt Nieto
and Blake Comeau
, who has missed six games with a hip injury, would center the fourth line with A.J. Greer
and Rocco Grimaldi
The top line of Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen
will start in goal. Jonathan Bernier
likely will start Saturday.
The NHL permitted the Avalanche and Senators to bring a third goalie in case of an emergency, and Colorado recalled Joe Cannata
to fill that role, allowing Spencer Martin
to continue to play for AHL San Antonio.
The Avalanche will have plenty of support in Stockholm from members of Eurolanche, a European fan club that is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The club has nearly 800 registered members from 43 countries.
Eurolanche has published a 200-page book that chronicles its North American "invasions" over the years to attend Avalanche games at the Pepsi Center and other NHL venues, meet and interview Avalanche players, and visit popular attractions.
The book can be purchased using the above link for $24.99, which includes tracked international shipping.
The club's next "invasion" is scheduled this season between late February and early March. The group will attend five Avalanche games at the Pepsi Center and games in Chicago and Columbus.