Colorado Avalanche Qualifying Duncan Siemens A Welcome Surprise

The Colorado Avalanche announced that defenseman Duncan Siemens would receive a qualifying offer, surprising many who follow the team.

The Colorado Avalanche announced which pending Restricted Free Agents they would qualify on Monday, and one choice stood out as especially surprising: Mikhail Grigorenko will not be returning to the Colorado Avalanche.

Another surprise, however, was the retention of defensive prospect Duncan Siemens. Siemens, despite being selected 11th overall in the 2011 entry draft, has been decried as a failed prospect for several years now. He has languished at the AHL level under three NHL coaches, only playing a handful of games with the big club.

Until the end of last season, Siemens had only played one NHL game. His stick handling has been panned as needing improvement, and his point production at the AHL level has certainly been less than spectacular: his 7 points last year was the most he’s put up at the professional level.

So when he was called up for three games towards the end of last season, many viewed it as more of a formality instead of giving him a legitimate look. Management could say “we tried”, before letting Siemens become an Unrestricted Free Agent. After all, his big, hard-hitting frame seemed out of place for a team trending towards speed and skill.

Siemens, however, had other ideas. Using the three games he’d been given, the 23-year-old proved exactly why he was a first round pick. Siemens played a responsible, hard-hitting defensive game, freeing up forwards to be more creative. Siemens didn’t put up any NHL points, but that has never been a big part of his game.

What the Qualifying Offer Means

Siemens receiving a qualifying offer over, say, Eric Gelinas, is a testament to his ‘audition’ in his three NHL games. Siemens, at least for one more year, will be a part of the Avalanche organization, and has the potential to finally break into the NHL.

Personally, I’d like to see Bednar pair Siemens with Tyson Barrie. The two are polar opposites as defensemen: Barrie is a short, speedy player known for jumping into offensive play, while Siemens is a human tank, known for rocking bodies and playing responsibly in his own end.

The contrast between these two could allow Barrie to utilize his offensive skill set, while Siemens can cover up some of Barrie’s weaknesses on the defensive end. In any case, Siemens should be getting a real look this year, and hopefully Colorado’s faith in him will be rewarded.

Just a short one for today folks. Is it October yet?