Colorado Avalanche: Top 4 Prospects After 1st Preseason Game

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19: Alexander Kerfoot
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19: Alexander Kerfoot /

The Colorado Avalanche are still evaluating a lot of prospects, but the following four players are distinguishing themselves from the pack.

The Colorado Avalanche are going to be a young team this season. As the preseason moves forward, we can start to see the roster taking shape.

As of right now, the expected players, such as Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon, have their roster spots. We’ll definitely see journeymen such as Carl Soderberg and Matthew Nieto playing their roles. Our future star, Mikko Rantanen, will be there on opening night. For purposes of this post, I’d expect Tyson Jost to be in the lineup that night as well.

However, there are still a few roster spots available, especially on defense where at very least two spots need filling. It’s possible there’s a forward spot or two up for grabs, too.

After the first preseason game, a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, here are four prospects most likely still in the mix.

Alexander Kerfoot

Center Alex Kerfoot has been a big surprise at camp, at least for me. I was lukewarm about his joining the team. Now I have to question if he might not be making a very solid case for being on the opening night roster.

The Harvard graduate is not big, but, boy, is he speedy. And his Harvard brains seem to have translated into good on-ice vision. Just during camp I noticed how well he played with veteran Matt Duchene. Believe it or not, Kerfoot was pretty good at keeping up with Duchene.

Kerfoot held his own in his first NHL joust, too. Indeed, he played with the big boys — literally in Johnson’s case — and assisted on Nathan MacKinnon’s goal. So apparently Harvard boy can complement MacKinnon’s and Johnson’s game, too.

That’s not too shabby, not too shabby at all. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the preseason plays out for Alex Kerfoot.

JT Compher

I almost put forward J.T. Compher in the safe list, but I don’t think his roster spot is quite as secure as Jost’s. Darn close, though.

Compher didn’t play in the Knights’ game. However, he tallied two goals — against our starting goalie — in the Burgundy and White game.

In a lot of ways, Compher’s game looks just as polished as Jost’s — it’s just the latter could be a future star. They may well be jostling for the same roster spot now, though.

Compher did well with Duchene and Nail Yakupov in camp drills. Duchene, like most Colorado Avalanche vets, didn’t participate in the Burgundy and White game. However, Compher continued to show good chemistry with Yakupov.

If there’s only one forward position up for grabs with Jost slotted into the lineup, I’d say it’s Compher’s to lose this preseason.

Anton Lindholm

More from Mile High Sticking

After the Burgundy and White game, GM Joe Sakic remarked that he expected defenseman Anton Lindholm to be “one of our guys” this season. However, nothing’s set in stone.

I’m certainly not going to second guess a hockey great like Joe Sakic — well, not on this — but Lindholm hasn’t been as much of a standout to me. He did have a good game in the Burgundy and White scrimmage.

According to BSN Avalanche, Avs management told Lindholm to get bigger and stronger. He did so, and he’s ready to take on an even more physical role. He’s prepared to add offense, too.

It’s possible Sakic sees Lindholm in a specific role. Maybe he’d be a good defensive partner for Tyson Barrie.

Andrei Mironov

Defenseman Andrei Mironov is the only player on this list who has no NHL experience. However, the 23-year-old has a lot of professional experience playing in the KHL. In fact, he made no bones about the fact that he did not give up his lucrative KHL career to kick it in the AHL.

That’s not to say he won’t season in the AHL a little bit. Europeans play on a larger ice surface, and it sometimes takes time for a player to scale his game down. However, Mironov has been making the transition pretty well.

I’d say the coaching staff is going to be watching his preseason play very closely. I daresay he might even see some action with the prodigal Nikita Zadorov once that worthy gets some ice time. I do see Zadorov paired with Johnson — for God’s sake, who else can skate with EJ? — but the coaches might see if there’s a Russian connection.

Next: Examining the Kerfoot Signing

So far, eight players have been reassigned by the Colorado Avalanche:

  • Josh Anderson (Prince George, WHL)
  • Sam Brittain (San Antonio, AHL)
  • Tom Gregoire (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
  • Hugo Roy (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
  • Ben Storm  (San Antonio, AHL)
  • Gage Ausmus (San Antonio camp invite, AHL)
  • Nicolas Meloche (San Antonio, AHL)
  • Ty Lewis (Brandon, WHL)

The next wave of cuts is probably going to be more significant and give us a clearer indication of what the team is going to look like this year. I’m pretty confident all four of the players on this list will make the next cut.