Borna Rendulic: Can he Make the Avalanche?


Borna Rendulic came to the Colorado Avalanche as a free agent signing last summer. Maybe some Avalanche fans don’t remember, but this talented right winger was courted by several teams. He chose to sign with the Colorado Avalanche.

Now, Borna Rendulic is renowned for being the first-ever Croatian born and Croatian trained player to make the NHL. Of course, that European training means he was always expected to spend some time with the Colorado Avalanche’s AHL-affiliate, then the Lake Erie Monsters.

Nonetheless, two players had especially strong prospect and rookie camps last year. One of them was Rendulic — the other was fellow right wing Dennis Everberg. The two prospects stayed neck-in-neck during training camp, but Everberg caught the coaches’ attention when he scored a goal in a preseason game. He made the team, and Rendulic went to Lake Erie.

Due to all the injuries the Colorado Avalanche suffered last season, Borna Rendulic did get a chance to play in the NHL. In 11 games he earned one goal and one assist. Unfortunately, his season ended when he broke a leg in a game against the Florida Panthers.

Borna Rendulic Workout

Borna Rendulic’s leg is healed now. Turns out he’s doing some intense training in Zagreb, his hometown. According to, Rendulic starts each day on the ice working on his skating.

Rendulic then focuses on a power workout.The workout consists of circuit training. The circuit includes push-ups with weights — one-handed included — jumps squats, switches and dead lifts up to 150 pounds.

Images of Rendulic’s workout:

Getting to Know Borna Rendulic

Quick, name five Croatian hockey players.

That’s right, unless you know Joe Sakic’s parents came from Croatia — and Milan Lucic’s from neighboring Serbia — there aren’t even a lot of Croatian descent NHL players.

Indeed, Borna Rendulic started with a more Croatian pursuit — soccer. He was very talented at it, too. According to an interview with Rendulic, though, Borna was scouted to play hockey in kindergarten:

"“One coach asked me, ‘You want to come play hockey?’ I didn’t know what it was before he told me, and I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’ I came for the first practice, and everything started from there.”"

Even in the colder parts of Croatia, such as Rendulic’s native Zagreb, hockey is not a popular sport. In fact, he and his parents had to travel to hockey-loving countries such as the Czech Republic and Austria just to buy equipment for Rendulic.

It’s amazing that Rendulic has become as good as he is considering how uncharted the road was for him. That said, he’s very excited to have the opportunity to play with the likes of center Matt Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog. During a post-practive interview, Rendulic remarked that he had been watching them on television for years, and now he had the opportunity to play on the same team as them.

Borna Rendulic’s Playing Style

Borna Rendulic is a typically European player in that he’s all about the stick handling. He’s got soft hands and both an accurate pass and shot. In fact, at the levels in which he’s played regularly (including the Finnish Elite League) he’s played like a sniper.

At 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, Rendulic is a big forward. Being European trained, though, he hasn’t developed as much grit as players who trained in North America, especially Canada.

One area in which he could use some work is his skating. No telling if the Avalanche are going to hire the services of skating coach Tracy Tutton for the training camp as they did for prospect camp. Plus, that’s an aspect of the game on which it appears Rendulic is already working. Maybe he’s also working on the grit with his emphasis on power workouts.

Borna Rendulic’s first NHL goal:

So, can Borna Rendulic make the team this year? He’s certainly got the size and skill that head coach Patrick Roy prizes. He’s also got the work ethic.

That said, I personally hope he makes the team. He’s stated more than once that he wants to give “150 percent” even in practices as well as games. That is an enthusiasm that would definitely benefit the Colorado Avalanche.

Next: Top 5 Training Camp Battles

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