With the regular season only a few weeks away, the Colorado Avalanche are inching closer and closer to their opening night roster.
With rosters having to be cut to 23 players, the Avs are 7 cuts away from achieving the roster they will employ on opening night, October 15 against the Dallas Stars.
Here are 30 players that still remain:
Forwards (18 Players)
- # 7 – John Mitchell (C)
- # 8 – Joe Colborne (C)
- #9 – Matt Duchene (C)
- #12 – Jarome Iginla (RW)
- #14 – Blake Comeau (LW)
- #17 – Mike Sislo (RW)
- #20 – Ben Smith (RW)
- #24 – Rene Bouque (RW)
- #25 – Mikhail Grigorenko (C)
- #26 – Trent Vogelhuber (RW)
- #27 – Andreas Martinsen (LW)
- #29 – Nathan MacKinnon (C)
- #34 – Carl Soderberg (C)
- #37 – J.T. Compher (LW)
- #55 – Cody McLeod (LW)
- #57 – Gabriel Bourque (RW)
- #92 – Gabriel Landeskog (LW)
- #96 – Mikko Rantanen (RW)
If new head coach Jared Bednar is anything like his predecessor Patrick Roy (and most coaches in the NHL) he will employ 13 forwards on his 23 man roster. If that is the case, the Avs will have to cut 5 of these 18 players.
Both Gabriel Bourque and Rene Bourque are on Professional Tryouts (PTO’s) meaning they don’t have a contract with the Avalanche but are competing to earn one. Both players have earned good reviews from coach Bednar and are looking like they will earn a contract with the team.
So who is safe? Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikhail Grigorenko, Carl Soderberg, Joe Colborne, Blake Comeau, Mikko Rantanen, Jarome Iginla and John Mitchell are locks.
That leaves 3 openings. Cody McLeod, the longest tenured Av and the team’s alternate captain the previous two seasons is an interesting one. It would seem that he would be part of the 23 man roster but it’s not a 100% lock. But it would be a safe bet to pencil him in part of the 23 man roster.
So, assuming McLeod does make the roster, that leaves two roster spots and seven players fighting for them. Mike Sislo, Ben Smith, Rene Bourque, Trent Vogelhuber, Andreas Martinsen, J.T. Compher and Gabriel Bourque would be the forwards in competition for those two sports.
The Avs have 3 preseason games remaining. Time will only tell who makes it and who doesn’t.
Defensemen (10 Players)
- #3 – Chris Bigras (D)
- #4 – Tyson Barrie (D)
- #6 – Erik Johnson (D)
- #15 – Duncan Siemens (D)
- #16 – Nikita Zadorov (D)
- #28 – Patrick Wiercioch (D)
- #32 – Francois Beauchemin (D)
- #44 – Eric Gelinas (D)
- #51 – Fedor Tyutin (D)
- #54 – Anton Lindholm
Assuming the Avs go with 13 forwards, then they would obviously carry 8 d-men. The defense is a lot easier to figure out than the forwards.
Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Francois Beauchemin, Nikita Zadorov, Eric Gelinas, Fedor Tyutin, and Patrick Wiercioch are locks.
That leaves 3 players fighting for the eighth d spot. Anton Lindholm is almost guaranteed to be sent to San Antonio. Lindholm, a later 2014 draft pick, is still getting use to North American hockey. He’s had a solid camp but his inexperience in North America puts him on the chopping block.
The competition is between Chris Bigras and Duncan Siemens. Bigras is a 2013 2nd round pick and Siemens is a 2011 1st round pick.
If you go by who is the better d-man, Chris Bigras would be the guy. Bigras finished last season playing with the Avalanche. Siemens, who was drafted over 5 years ago, has only appeared in 1 NHL game.
But it’s not as easy as that. Bigras doesn’t have to go through waivers if sent to the minors where Siemens has to. Also, what would be better for Bigras? Playing top minutes in the minors or being a 7th or 8th d-men for the Avs and being a healthy scratch a lot of the time. With Duncan Siemens, he’s played three years in the minors. He’s done all the developing he possibly can being in the minors. Maybe it’s time for him to be part of an NHL team, learning from NHL players and NHL coaches.
Very interesting to see what the coaching staff decides.
Goaltenders (2 Players)
- #1 – Semyon Varlamov (G)
- #31 – Calvin Pickard (G)
This was never in question. The goaltenders are set. The real question is can Semyon Varlamov maintain his starting goalie position with the young and hungry Calvin Pickard nipping at his heels?
It’s almost here. October 15 can’t come quicker.