Colorado Avalanche: 3 Questions for First 2017 Preseason Game

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: Anton Lindholm
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 27: Anton Lindholm /

The Colorado Avalanche must start answering some questions during their first preseason game, against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Colorado Avalanche are opening up their preseason against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at the Pepsi Center.

There are a lot of questions up in the air. And even though certain reporters got a certain player to say “day to day” while failing to acknowledge he said “things got blown out of proportion,” that’s not one of the questions I’m focusing on here.

Rather, this is the first chance we’re truly getting to see how all this change is really going to work out. Last season was all about a transition. There was talk that the coaching staff didn’t have the chance to implement their systems properly — specifically Jared Bednar.

Well, we’ve been watching training camp and the Burgundy and White game. That’s all intra-squad, though. Tonight we’ll get to see the Avalanche implement their new style on an opponent NHL team.

The Vegas Golden Knights are brand new to the NHL world. However, they’ve already played a game against the Vancouver Canucks — and won with a decisive 9-4 score.

Five players have already been reassigned:

  • Josh Anderson (Prince George, WHL)
  • Sam Brittain (San Antoniom AHL)
  • Tom Gregoire (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
  • Hugo Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
  • Ben Storm  (San Antoniom AHL)

Even with the prodigal Nikita Zadorov returning, there’s still at least two defense spots and one forward spot available on the roster. And a whole lot of prospects fighting for it.

What do the Defensive Pairings Look Like?

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It’s much too early to look closely at line combinations and defensive pairings. However, this is a chance for prospects to distinguish themselves.

Defense is the area where the Colorado Avalanche have the most wiggle room. There are at least five players fighting for those two open roster spots.

According to BSN Denver, GM Joe Sakic thinks Anton Lindholm will be “one of our guys.” However, prospects Chris Bigras, Andrei Mironov and Duncan Siemens are still in the mix.

There’s also the PTO player, Jared Cowen. He’s been showing well in practices and at the Burgundy and White game. Needless to say, he’ll be trying to distinguish himself.

Will the Expected Prospects Continue to Distinguish Themselves?

Technically the Colorado Avalanche have their forward roster pretty well filled with 11 guaranteed NHL players. It’s expected they’ll carry 13, so there might be two roster spots available.

There’s some steep competition because that above number doesn’t take into account last summer’s #10 draft pick, Tyson Jost. He’s not expected to play tonight.

Forward prospects who are gunning for that final roster spot include J.T. Compher, A.J. Greer and Alexander Kerfoot. Compher is almost a shoe-in, but Greer is making the decision especially difficult.

How is the Emphasis on Skating and Conditioning?

There’s no question that skating is a prized skill in the NHL. There’s no more lumbering through games — you’ve got to be quick and agile on your skates.

However, the Colorado Avalanche have been placing extra emphasis on skating, even to the point of hiring skating coach Tracy Tutton for the prospects.

Likewise, conditioning has been especially emphasized since last year. This preseason, training camp has even featured targeted conditioning drills that have been intense for players.

Tonight there are going to be a lot prospects on the ice, but we should be watching even how they function within the new system.

Next: Standout Players at Burgundy and White

The game time for the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Vegas Golden Knights is 7pm MT. Altitude is televising the game live, while Altitude Sports Radio is broadcasting the game.