Colorado Avalanche First Preseason Game to Feature Young-Guns

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Are set to play the Minnesota Wild tonight in the first preseason action of the season.

Coach Jared Bednar said that he would not take any of the veterans of the Colorado Avalanche with him to Minnesota tonight. However, at the time of writing this, the roster had not yet been released.

Nonetheless Bednar made it very clear that he wanted to evaluate some of the non-veteran players in game-style situations before moving forward with his lineup. According to the Colorado Avalanche website, Bednar first answered a quick “no” when asked whether or not the veterans were going to go to Minnesota, and then elaborated saying:

"We are still finalizing the lineup, but we have some guys that we want to evaluate. We’ve got to see them play some games, see them play some guys and play some games against other competition besides our own team in practice."

So, tonight should feature a very green lineup for the Colorado Avalanche. Which is a good opportunity for guys like J.T. Compher and Duncan Siemens to prove that they belong with the big club.

J.T. Compher Excited for His Opportunity

J.T. Compher is certainly trying to take advantage of his opportunity in this preseason game, and he seems pretty determined to make the big club, saying:

"I want to show the all-around game I can play. I want to be hard to play against, physical. [It’s] a chance to play offense, make some smart plays and get some scoring chances. It will be really exciting to play my first preseason game. I think it’s going to be a fun opportunity for whoever gets to play. I think that we will be ready to go. It has been a good training camp so far."

I think it’s more likely that J.T. Compher gets sent down to the AHL. However, if Compher has a good first game he certainly has the best chance to make the Colorado Avalanche other than Mikko Rantanen.

Nonetheless, a cautionary send down to the AHL for development is not a bad move to make. And the only way Compher makes the opening night roster is if he has an insanely productive preseason.

However, there are some players in camp that want to ensure themselves a roster spot, and none more so than Duncan Siemens.

Colorado Avalanche Defensemen Duncan Siemens Knows His Role

Siemens — the once highly touted No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft — is probably working with his final opportunity to impress Colorado Avalanche management, and earn his spot on the roster.

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Siemens has struggled with injuries, stick skills and just a general lack of impressive ability to draw the attention of coaches. However, with a new coach, a new system and coming off one of his more consistent seasons to date, Siemens has a real shot at the NHL lineup this year.

The new system should help a player like Siemens because it’s all about making quick decisions and avoiding too much time to overthink what you do with the puck.

Siemens has always been a good skater who positions himself well, but he’s had trouble getting the puck out of his own end. Hopefully by getting the puck off his stick faster — while having more support — Siemens will be able to establish himself as a serviceable NHL defenseman.

Here’s a good video about what he’s expecting from the preseason game:

Quick hits from the video:

  • Siemens knows his role — stay at home and make quick defensive decisions.
  • He likes the new system because it’s all about getting the puck out of the zone quickly.
  • Bednar’s systems are about making sure the other team has to adjust to how the Avs are playing.

I like that last one especially. “Let’s go out and play our game boys, and make these hooligans adjust to what we’re doing on the ice.”

That sounds about right.


There are some other players who are trying to impress tonight as well. Rocco Grimaldi has been speedy, shifty and impressive in camp so far — he’ll look to use those qualities tonight.

Apparently Eric Gelinas has been impressing a lot for the Colorado Avalanche as well, and he’ll look to continue that trend tonight.

A.J. Greer is also coming off a very successful junior season, and he’ll want to impress not only Avalanche staff, but the staff in San Antonio as well. Greer is trying to make the AHL roster if he doesn’t make the big club.

Next: Avs Vs. Minny: Just Do It!

Then, there’s always Chris Bigras, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov has been extremely physical so far, even taking a bad 5 minute major during the rookie showcase.

Grigorenko scored the game-winner for Team White in the annual Burgundy and White game on Sunday. And, he’s working on a one-year prove-it contract right now.

Finally, Chris Bigras scored a goal in each rookie showcase game off of two bombing slap shots. And, he’ll want to add a more offensive element to his game in order to take the next step this season.

Preseason hockey is finally here, and players are starting to return to camp from the World Cup of Hockey.

Anyway — speaking of World Cup of Hockey players — here’s a nice video Matt Duchene did with CCM about being made of hockey. A nice video to lead you wonderful readers on your way:

That’s all for today folks, thanks for stopping by!