Colorado Avalanche 10 Reasons to Attend Games: New Faces

DENVER, CO - MARCH 05: Nail Yakupov
DENVER, CO - MARCH 05: Nail Yakupov /

Continuing with the 10 reasons to attend Colorado Avalanche games, reason #8 is to see the new players in action.

The Colorado Avalanche are in a full rebuild, and that’s always tough on a fanbase. However, it feels a little like Avs fans have it especially tough. Personally, I thought the team has been in a rebuild since 2008, and we should be nearing the end of it.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Avalanche had a direction, then they took a sharp right turn last summer. Well, this season we should see the pieces better in place under the new direction.

As GM Joe Sakic has said time and again, the team is moving toward youth and speed. Now, when you’re talking driving, those two are lethal. Actually, when you’re talking hockey, that combo can be lethal, too — just in a more fun way.

The Colorado Avalanche signed three players on Free Agency day who are certainly going to be in the lineup. They’re all under 30. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Colin Wilson: The Colorado Avalanche traded a 2019 fourth round draft pick for forward Colin Wilson. The 27-year-old is known for being sizable and speedy.

Nail Yakupov: The Colorado Avalanche signed winger Nail Yakupov to a one-year “show me” deal worth $875,000. The 23-year-old is known for being a speedy but inconsistent sniper.

Jonathan Bernier: The Colorado Avalanche signed goalie Jonathan Bernier to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million, ostensibly as Semyon Varlamov’s backup but potentially to challenge for starter. The 29-year-old is known for being inconsistent, but cat-like in his reactions when he’s on.

Read more about the new guys:

Related Story: 30 Under 30: New Players

Those aren’t the only new faces we’ll be seeing at the Pepsi Center this upcoming season. Since the conclusion of the 2016-17 Disaster Season, the Avs have signed the following new players:

  • Dominic Toninato, center
  • Alexander Kerfoot, center/right wing
  • Andrei Mironov, defenseman
  • David Warsofsky, defenseman
  • Jesse Graham, defenseman

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They’re all between the ages of 23 and 27. Some of those signings, such as Graham and Warsofsky, are almost certainly depth signings. They’re not expected to make much of an NHL impact, even with the Avs.

Defenseman Andrei Mironov, on the other hand, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche in 2015. He left a lucrative KHL career to come play in the NHL — and it’s expected he’ll only play for the NHL. He’s a big (6-foot-2) player with a long stride that eats up lots of ice — and a big hit that sends lots of opponents flying.

Toninato and Kerfoot are post-college signings. They were both well-courted because of their strong skating and decent scoring ability. The expectation is that they’ll develop at least a while in the AHL, but they should eventually make the NHL team, possibly next season.

The Colorado Avalanche also have some players who have been developing in their AHL system and who could make their NHL debuts next season:

  • Nicolas Meloche, defenseman
  • J.C. Beaudin, center/right wing
  • Julien Nantel, center/left wing
  • Sergei Boikov, defenseman

Of those four, I’d say J.C. Beaudin has the best chance of skating for the Avalanche next season. He’s speedy and agile with two-way acumen. This is his first pro season coming up, though, so it’s more likely we’d see him later in the year.

Read more about the prospects:

Related Story: 30 Under 30: Journeymen Prospects

Related Story: 30 Under 30: Foundation Prospects

Though they’re not exactly new faces, there are a couple prospects who I, personally, want to see make the team. The most significant is Tyson Jost. However, I’d also like to see A.J. Greer and, especially, J.T. Compher regularly next season.

It would be nice if Chris Bigras and even poor Duncan Siemens had comeback years for the Avalanche.

Right now, the Avalanche have only 15 skaters for sure making the team next season. Only four of them are defensemen, and one of those is the still-unsigned Nikita Zadorov. In other words, there are roster spots up for grabs.

So, we’re finally getting down to the nitty gritty of why we should be going to Colorado Avalanche games next season. Here are the previous seven:

Today’s reason #8, new players, is a pretty good hockey reason to go to Colorado Avalanche games during the 2017-18 season.