Avs Hire Bennett, Parkkila

The Colorado Avalanche have some new coaches.

In late May, about a month and a half after the disastrous 48 point season finally came to a close in Denver, the Colorado Avalanche announced they would not be bringing back assistant coaches Tim Army and Dave Farrish along with goalie coach Francois Allaire.

On July 7, on Joe Sakic‘s 48th birthday, the Colorado Avalanche announced they have hired Ray Bennett as an assistant coach and Jussi Parkkila as the goaltending coach. Both Bennett and Parkkila will join current Avs head coach Jared Bednar and assistant coach Nolan Pratt on the coaching staff.

Ray brings a tremendous amount of NHL experience and hockey knowledge to our team and Jussi has a proven track record of working with goaltenders,” said Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic. “They’re a great complement to our current coaching staff and we’re excited to have them join our organization.”

Bennett, 55, has served as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues for the past 10 seasons, working under four different head coaches. He handled many different situations and roles with the Blues from running the team’s power play, managing team preparation and providing offensive play evaluation.

Under former coach Tim Army, the Avalanche power play stagnated. The last three seasons under Tim Army, the Avs‘ power play ranked 29th, 19th, and 30th respectively. The last three seasons under Ray Bennett, the Blues‘ power play ranked 4th, 6th, and 8th respectively. With Bennett now handling power play duties for the Avs, there should be a big difference in power play production.

Parkkila, 40, has spent the last 12 seasons coaching goaltenders in Europe. That includes a five year stint in the KHL and two seasons in Liiga, Finland’s top professional hockey league. This past season, the 2016-17 campaign, Parkkila was in Austria coaching the goalies for the Grazz 99ers. In 2007-08, Parkkila began his pro hockey coaching career with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, where he tutored current Avalanche starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Expansion Draft: Atlantic Division

Part three of my Expansion Draft piece has me shifting over to the Eastern Conference where I will focus solely on the Atlantic Division.

Part one where I look at the Colorado Avalanche and the Central Division and who they will potentially protect and expose in the Expansion Draft can be seen here: https://avalancheavenue.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/expansion-draft-central-division/. Also, rules for the Expansion Draft can be seen here as well.

Part two where I look at the Pacific Division can be seen here: https://avalancheavenue.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/expansion-draft-pacific-division/.

Anyway, here is a look at the teams in the Atlantic Division and possible decisions they’re facing ahead of next month’s Expansion Draft.

NMC = No Movement Clause

Boston Bruins

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men. 1 goalie

  • Forwards: David Krejci (NMC), Patrice Bergeron (NMC), David Backes (NMC), Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, Drew Stafford.
  • Defensemen: Zdeno Chara (NMC), Torey Krug, Colin Miller.
  • Goaltender: Tuukka Rask.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 3/2. Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Riley Nash.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Anton Khudobin, Malcolm Subban.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Dominic Moore, Joe Morrow.

Buffalo Sabres

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Kyle Okposo (NMC), Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Ennis, Evander Kane, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson.
  • Defensemen: Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Jake McCabe.
  • Goaltender: Robin Lehner.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 3/2. Matt Moulson, Nicolas Deslauriers, William Carrier.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Josh Georges, Justin Falk.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Linus Ullmark, Anders Nilsson.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Cody Franson, Brian Gionta.

Detroit Red Wings

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Frans Nielsen (NMC), Henrik Zetterberg, Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha, Anthony Athanasiou.
  • Defensemen: Danny DeKeyser, Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall.
  • Goaltender: Petr Mrazek.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 3/2. Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Jonathan Ericsson, Nick Jensen.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet.

Florida Panthers

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith, Nick Bjugstad, Justin Marchessault, Jaromir Jagr.
  • Defensemen: Keith Yandle (NMC), Aaron Ekblad, Mark Pysyk.
  • Goaltender: James Reimer

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 3/2. Jussi Jokinen, Derek MacKenzie, Colton Sceviour.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Jason Demers.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Roberto Luongo.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Alex Petrovic.

Montreal Canadiens

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, Andrew Shaw, Alex Galchenyuk, Alex Radulov, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault.
  • Defensemen: Jeff Petry (NMC), Shea Weber, Nathan Beaulieu.
  • Goaltender: Carey Price (NMC).

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 3/2. Tomas Plekanec, Torrey Mitchell, Chris Terry.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 3/1, Alexei Emelin, Brandon Davidson, Jordie Benn.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Al Montoya.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Dwight King, Andrei Markov, Jacob De La Rose, Nikita Nesterov.

Ottawa Senators

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bobby Ryan, Derick Brassard, Ryan Dzingel.
  • Defensemen: Dion Phaneuf (NMC), Erik Karlsson, Cody Ceci.
  • Goaltender: Craig Anderson.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 2/2. Zack Smith, Alexandre Burrows.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 4/1. Marc Methot, Chris Wideman, Mark Borowiecki, Fredrik Claesson.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Andrew Hammond, Chris Driedger.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Tommy Wingels, Mike Condon.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Steven Stamkos (NMC), Ryan Callahan (NMC), Nikita Kucherov, Jonathan Drouin, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov.
  • Defensemen: Victor Hedman (NMC), Anton Stralman, Andrej Sustr.
  • Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 4/2. Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette, Erik Condra, J.T. Brown.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Braydon Coburn, Jason Garrison.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 1/1. Kristers Gudlevskis.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Slater Koekkoek.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Option: 7 forwards, 3 d-men, 1 goalie

  • Forwards: Nazem Kadri, James Van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, Connor Brown, Kerby Rychel.
  • Defensemen: Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Connor Carrick.
  • Goaltender: Frederik Andersen.

Exposure Requirements:

  • Forward Exposure Requirements: 2/2. Eric Fehr, Ben Smith.
  • D-man Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko.
  • Goalie Exposure Requirement: 2/1. Garret Sparks, Antoine Bibeau.
  • Other Notable Exposed Players: Curtis McElhinney, Brian Boyle, Roman Polak, Matt Hunwick, Joffrey Lupul, Josh Leivo, Brenden Leipsic.

Avs Reduce Roster To 30

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.