Colorado Avalanche: 3 Storylines for the Burgundy and White Game


The Colorado Avalanche’s annual Burgundy and White game is a chance for coaches — and fans — to answer some questions even before the preseason games begin.

The Colorado Avalanche are taking part in their 18th annual intra-team scrimmage, the Burgundy and White game. The action takes place at DU’s Magness Arena at 10 am MT on September 17.

This Avalanche preseason preview is not going to be about the Matt Duchene drama, though he does feature. And even though this isn’t even a real preseason game, much less real game, there are still some storylines to watch out for.

Who Will Line Up with Matt Duchene?

Matt Duchene is part of the interest of the Burgundy and White game, but not related to the supposed “distaction” of his maybe-trade, maybe-protest. Rather, it will be interesting to see who will line up with Duchene.

Early in his career, Duchene found good chemistry with Paul Stastny and Ryan O’Reilly. Both those players are gone, and Duchene has never had linemates he clicked with since.

Interestingly, new acquisition Nail Yakupov is in the same boat. He once had good chemistry in Edmonton with Derek Roy. When that ended, he flailed. Well, one thing Yakupov is known for is his dynamic speed. Who else is known for dymanic speed? Matt Duchene.

What’s more, Duchene and Yakupov skated well together at camp. They were even joking and laughing together. Yakupov has had to deal with similar situations that Matt is in now — I think these two can really get along and complement each other both on and off the ice. That’s important to both players.

Related Story: Slotting Yakupov into the Lineup

Which Defensemen Will Stand Out?

More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche finally signed defenseman Nikita Zadorov to a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.15 million. However, Zadorov won’t be at the Burgundy and White game. The only defensemen who’ve surely made the team are Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie and Mark Barberio.

Even with Zadorov back, that leaves at least two roster spots, and probably a third as a spare.

So far, Jared Bednar has mentioned Nicolas Meloche’s name as a frontrunner. That’s a surprise to me because I thought he’d need some more seasoning, but it’s a pleasant surprise.

Andrei Mironov is certainly gunning to make the team. Heaven knows Duncan Siemens would certainly love to finally get his change. Anton Lindholm and Chris Bigras have NHL experience — and they’d certainly like to add to it.

Jared Cowen is on a PTO for a spot.

I’d say the Burgundy and White game will be one of the first real contests to see who’s going to win those remaining roster spots.

Related Story: Avs Must Give Siemens a Chance

How Will Varlamov’s Groin Stand Up?

I have written more about Semyon Varlamov‘s groin than about any other man’s body part. That goalie’s groin is wonky.

It’s an injury that’s plagued him pretty much the majority of his career. He somehow powered through it for the golden Why Not Us (first Why Not Us) 2013-14 season to become a Vezina Trophy finalist. However, it’s been acting up ever since, so much so that he finally tapped out last season to have it operated on.

Reports are that he looks and feel good. This will be the first real, game-style test of his surgeon’s skill and his body’s ability to heal.

Next: Can Jost Make Opening Night?

The Colorado Avalanche still have tickets for the event, in case you want to see the action for yourself. Next up after the Burgundy and White game is the first preseason game, at home against the Vegas Golden Knights.