Colorado Avalanche: Standouts Prospects vs Minnesota Wild

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Conor Timmins
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Conor Timmins /

Some prospects are distinguishing themselves for the Colorado Avalanche during the preseason — including one surprise player.

The Colorado Avalanche hosted the Minnesota Wild for their final preseason home game tonight. It was a 5-1 win for Colorado.

Minnesota took the 1-0 lead late in the first period, and then it was all Avs all the time.

Here’s the breakdown of the results:

  • Nathan MacKinnon (first star): 2 goals, 1 assist
  • Semyon Varlamov (second star) : 28 saves, .966% save percentage
  • Gabriel Landeskog (third star): 2 assists
  • Mikko Rantanen: 1 goal
  • Tyson Barrie: 1 assist
  • Mark Barberio: 1 assist

You’d expect your regular roster players to have a good showing in the preseason, and they did. I’m especially encouraged by MacKinnon — he’s got to have his fire going into the regular season.

However, these preseason games are only partially about the regulars getting into game readiness. For the Avalanche, it’s more about the prospects and try-outs securing an opening night roster spot.

Two players trying to make the roster also scored goals — J.T. Compher and Rocco Grimaldi. Compher was actually the player to get Colorado on the boards, and Grimaldi came in soon after to give them the go-ahead goal.

Both were flying on the ice tonight. I expected that from Compher, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised by Grimaldi.

Tyson Jost recorded his first preseason game tonight after struggling a bit with a groin injury. He earned an assist on Grimaldi’s goal. He wasn’t as dynamic as he’d been in camp — hopefully we just chalk it up to a little rust.

I was excited to see defenseman Andrei Mironov in game action for the first time. He’s a hulky presence.  He’s not going to be a flashy player for the Colorado Avalanche, but he might just be the kind of stay-at-home defenseman they need.

More from Mile High Sticking

For me, the most pleasant surprise came in the form of defenseman Conor Timmins. I’ve been worried about him since the prospect development camp because his agility seemed a little low. I didn’t see a lot in camp to change my mind.

Well, I saw plenty tonight to change my mind. He was good on his skates. I’ll never put him in the same category of skater as Mironov, but his choppy style gets him where he needs to be.

He also showed tonight why he was considered to go first round in the draft. He seemed to see the ice well despite the greater speed of the NHL game. He did have one brutal turnover that resulted in a shot on goal for the Wild. However, overall he looked really good both in his own end and in the offensive zone — there was even a couple times he jumped into the play.

And he earned an assist on Compher’s goal. Not too shabby for a 19-year-old kid who was just drafted a few months ago.

One disappointment has been defenseman Duncan Siemens. I’m pulling for the young man, I really am. But he’s just not showing well in the preseason. I wish he didn’t make the mistakes that he does. Time might be running out for him.

Center Colin Wilson made his Colorado Avalanche debut. He was the last player off the ice in warmups, and he hit Wild players every time he got a chance. Read: He’s got good work ethic. Oh, and he had the other assist on Compher’s goal.

Next: Top 4 Prospects Still Remaining

Some version of the Colorado Avalanche will face the Dallas Stars in Texas tomorrow night at 6:30pm MT. I’m not sure if the team will announce its next round of cuts before then or wait to see what transpires during the game. There’s no television broadcast of the game, but it will be on Altitude Radio.