Avalanche Burgundy and White Game: Storylines to Watch


The Colorado Avalanche are hosting their 15th Burgundy and White scrimmage at Denver University’s Magness Arena today at 1:00 PM. While the younger players participated in a scrimmage at yesterday’s camp, this is the first time all the players are playing in a game.

During the Avalanche Burgundy and White game, some players are just getting their game legs — they know they’ve made the roster. Others are on the cusp and are fighting to keep their jobs. Some are trying to take those jobs. (It’s the nature of the business.)

During a press conference, head coach Patrick Roy stated the team would make some cuts before the first preseason game, which takes place at home against the Anaheim Ducks on September 22.

So, with all that in mind, let’s look at some of the storylines that will start taking place during the Avalanche Burgundy and White game.

Who’s in Net?

Coach Roy already announced that Semyon Varlamov and Spencer Martin would each play half the game for one of the teams. There’s no real story there. Varlamov will be the Colorado Avalanche’s starting goalie this season — for up to 60 games. Martin will probably go back to the OHL.

The big storyline of camp, Burgundy and White and preseason is who makes it as Semyon Varlamov’s backup. Coach Roy stated at the conclusion of last season that Reto Berra and Calvin Pickard would battle for it. That’s still what he’s saying now.

When asked who was a front-runner after camp, coach Roy said it was “way too early to tell.”

Will the Electric Line Pan Out?

During the training camp I observed that one line during a drill seemed especially electric — Carl Soderberg centering Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. I should call it the Scandanavia Line since there’s two Swedes and a Finn, but as I observed, they were pure electricity on the ice together.

Well joy, because Patrick Roy announced those three players would be on a line together again. Soderberg and Landeskog are almost certain to play together come opening night. Indeed, coach Roy stated he felt they were already showing chemistry.

Rantanen isn’t even certain to make the team. However, coach Roy praised his play:

"“He has got skills. It’s nice to see. Today I thought he brought his game to another level.”"

If Rantanen performs well on this line during the Avalanche Burgundy and White game, he could be making another step toward making the team.

How Will the Other Lines Shake Out?

Coach Roy announced two other lines:

Andreas Martinsen-Matt DucheneJarome Iginla

Alex TanguayMikhail GrigorenkoNathan MacKinnon

Putting Martinsen on a line with Duchene and Iginla means coach Roy probably has his eye on the young Norwegian. (Another Scandanavian!) He certainly represented at camp.

I’m intrigued by that other line combination. Those are three players who should probably be on three different lines when the regular season rolls around. I also find it interesting that coach Roy was quite explicit that Grigorenko is centering, and MacKinnon is on wing.

Who’s Going to Earn a D-Spot?

Only three players are 100% guaranteed a spot on the Colorado Avalanche blueline — Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie and Francois Beauchemin. Coach Roy also said he expected Brad Stuart to play a similar role as last year.

Patrick Roy likes to have eight defensemen on the roster. That means there are four spots left — and some very stiff competition. Those players will be looking to impress during the Avalanche Burgundy and White game.

Nate Guenin, Zach Redmond and Nick Holden all have one-way contracts. Nikita Zadorov and Brandon Gormley have two-way contracts. Dustin Siemens, Mason Geertsen and Chris Bigras are the front-runners among the prospects.

Coach Roy had praise for both Zadorov and Gormley after camp. Roy has long favored Guenin. However, not even those three prospects should expect to get cut before that first preseason game.

What storylines are you watching, Avs Nation?

Next: Is This Matt Duchen's Year?

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