Colorado Avalanche: Jared Cowen’s PTO Is a Good Thing

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26: Jared Cowen
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26: Jared Cowen /

Jared Cowen’s PTO has caused a bit of controversy among Colorado Avalanche fans. I believe that his presence at camp is a positive for the team.

On August 29, the Colorado Avalanche signed Jared Cowen to a PTO (professional tryout). Many have shared their opinions on this in recent days, and almost all of them have been negative. Call me optimistic. While Cowen should not be looked at as a panacea for Colorado’s defensive woes, I like the idea of another d-man with NHL experience at camp.

Next: Colorado Avalanche: Does Jared Cowen Have A Chance?

The first thing to understand about Jared Cowen is that he does not have a contract with Colorado. He has been invited to training camp on a tryout. If the Avs feel he can no longer play at the NHL level, the team has no obligation to him, financial, or otherwise, for this upcoming season. That makes this a no risk situation, which is important with Cowen’s injury history.

Cowen has not played a hockey game since the 2015-16 season. He has already missed almost two full years, including all of last season, with hip problems. That is not encouraging, especially when even the most positive scouting reports have questioned Cowen’s footspeed, and most of those were written before the most recent hip injury.

So why do I think that Cowen’s presence is a good thing for the Avalanche?

I have some hope that Jared Cowen might be able to contribute, in a positive way, to this team. He is a former top ten pick, and at 6’5”, he is big. Despite his injury history, he’s still only 26 years old. He’s played 249 NHL games, averaging almost 19 minutes of ice time per game. While his point totals don’t have a wow factor, he has tallied 46 points over the course of his career.

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I also like the idea that the young defensemen competing for the last few spots on Colorado’s roster will have to outplay a veteran to earn a roster spot, and playing time. Most teams carry seven healthy defensemen on their NHL roster. Only six dress on a nightly basis. I think Cowen could be ideal for that seventh defenseman position, if he is unable to earn a spot in the top 6.

There is little doubt that the Colorado Avalanche defense core will feature at least one or two rookies, regardless of Cowen’s potential place on the roster. I think those rookies need to play if they make the NHL roster. Cowen would be a perfect player to use as a frequent healthy scratch to give the rookies more playing time.

Next: Colorado Avalanche Need to Strengthen Defense Core

Finally, the elephant in the room is the current state of Colorado’s group of defensemen. The Avs have still not re-signed Nikita Zadorov. The team still has not moved Matt Duchene for an NHL ready defenseman. There are still only three defensemen under contract with over 40 games of NHL experience. The Avalanche need bodies. Hopefully Jared Cowen can help fill the void.