Colorado Avalanche: Evaluating a Forward Roster That’s Taking Shape

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: J.T. Compher /

The Colorado Avalanche’s roster has almost taken shape. Find out what the forward lines might look like.

The Colorado Avalanche still have 29 players on a roster that must eventually be cut to 22. There may still be some cuts between now and Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Vegas Golden Knights. However, the roster is becoming much clearer.

The roster still consists of 16 forwards and 11 defensemen. Typically teams keep either 13 forwards and seven defensemen or 12 forwards and eight defensemen — last season the Avalanche chose the first option. So, let’s imagine three forwards and four defensemen will be cut.

On Monday night, the Colorado Avalanche iced a roster that might be darn close to what we’ll see on opening night:

Forwards Dominic Toninato and Reid Petryk just got reassigned to the AHL. However, let’s use that as a starting point and see what we may have coming our way opening night on the forward corps.

Top Two Forward Lines

The top six of the Colorado Avalanche is likely to be comprised of what we saw against Dallas, and probably in that line combination:

Alex Kerfoot-Matt DucheneNail Yakupov

Tyson JostNathan MacKinnonMikko Rantanen

That first line hinges on Matt Duchene staying with the team. Right now, when he’s finally found chemistry with another winger (Yakupov), would be the absolute worst time to trade him. They complement each other so well, and Kerfoot has been able to hang with them.

A potential change I could see would be replacing Kerfoot with either J.T. Compher, who’s also shown well with Duchene and Yakupov, or Tyson Jost.

The other top line killed it. However, captain Gabriel Landeskog didn’t play in Dallas — Jost’s spot is the one he usually occupies and is highly likely to be the one he takes on opening night.

It’s possible the coaching staff tries Jost on the first line with Duchene and Yakupov — Tyson certainly is speedy enough. So, the top two lines will look like this:



That’s pretty good. You’ve got a high-speed line and a skilled power line. Yes, that’s pretty good indeed.

Bottom Two Forward Lines

The bottom six, as always, is where it gets murky. Like I said, Toninato and Petryk have already been sent down. I expect Gabriel Bourque to be AHL-bound, too — he hasn’t had a good enough preseason showing.

Here are the players who may comprise the bottom six:

I left Joe Colborne off that list because he’s been injured and hasn’t participated in the preseason at all.

Nieto, Soderberg, Comeau, Andrighetto and Wilson all have one-way contracts. I’d say that means they have to be bumped out of their position pretty decisively to be put on waivers and sent to San Antonio. More likely one of those players — either Comeau or Soderberg — will be the 13th forward.

Whomever doesn’t end up on the line with Duchene and Yakupov is likely to be on the third scoring line. Who else might be on that third scoring line? Andrighetto, Compher, Wilson and Nieto. All three of those players bring good skating and puck skills to the ice.

So, the third scoring line could look something like this:


That’s a tough one to predict. Andrighetto is the only natural right wing. Wilson, Kerfoot and Jost can all play center.

Finally, the Colorado Avalanche may choose to ice a true checking line. Here’s where Soderberg and/or Comeau come into play. For a true checking line, Greer has a very good chance to make it. Of the available forwards above, I would imagine also Wilson.

Let’s say the Colorado Avalanche decide to bench Comeau. That means the fourth line can look like this:


More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche don’t have a lot of right wings. Who earns a bottom six roster spot can all come down to who can play right wing.

Working through the existing roster as I write… I hate to say that an NHL-ready prospect may get sent to the AHL because of contractual obligations. Knee-jerk reaction? Greer and…. Kerfoot or Jost. All three of those players can realistically benefit from time in the AHL, while Compher cannot.

And that means all three of those players may get sent down so an NHLer doesn’t have to clear waivers. Best case scenario, though, Colorado puts Comeau up on waivers, and then Kerfoot and Jost don’t go to San Antonio — only one does so.

Ok, last try at predicting bottom six lines, just for funsies:



Unless Colborne is on IR, he’ll have to be the 13th forward.

Next: Can Cowen Make the Avs?

Well, the Colorado Avalanche top-six looks reasonably set. The bottom six doesn’t look shabby — it’s just difficult to predict who will make the team and who will be sacrificed in the name of contractual obligations.