Colorado Avalanche Defensive Corps Almost Set

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 28: Chris Bigras
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 28: Chris Bigras /
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The Colorado Avalanche defense looks pretty well set — and it’s not bad at all.

The Colorado Avalanche have put defnseman Duncan Siemens on waivers with the intent of sending him to the AHL. Siemens didn’t do enough in the preseason to distinguish himself, and it looked a lot like he let the moment get to him.

Well, as Eminem once observed, “You get one shot, one opportunity.” Siemens, in fact, has had a couple.

In any case, as of the time of writing, the Avalanche defensive corps consisted of the following nine players:

Boikov will be put on injured reserve thanks to a dislocated shoulder, so the Colorado Avalanche will likely send one more defenseman down before the season begins — unless they go the 12-forward, 8-defensemen route, but that brings its own host of problems that we’ll save for another post.

The first four defensemen on that list are shoe-ins, of course. Not only are they roster players, but they’re sure to be the ones skating prominently on opening night.

Judging on preseason play, Bigras, Lindholm and Warsofsky are the likely candidates to make the team.

Chris Bigras is a good-sized defenseman who can shut down opponents and move the puck quickly out of the zone. He has shown he can jump into the play some, but his offense is supporting role only. He skated with offensive d-man Tyson Barrie last night, and that’s not a bad pairing at all.

Lindholm is a fast skater also with good puck-moving skills. He’s also not afraid to engage with the opponent. He’d be a really good bottom pairing staple.

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Warsofky was a low-risk gamble of an acquisition in the offseason. He’s significantly undersized, though he can skate and move the puck.

On the other side of the equation you have Andrei Mironov. He’s well-sized for an NHL defender. He can also skate, and his specialty is engaging the play. It’s not to say he’s not adept at moving the puck, but his skills might not be as good as Warsofsky’s or Lindholm’s in that respect.

The new NHL doesn’t focus on size anymore — at least according to Joe Sakic, and we might as well go with that since he’s in charge — but is more focused on speed. If it’s coming down between Mironov and Warsofsky, Andrei is faster. Between Mironov and Lindholm? Maybe still Andrei by virtue of his stride, but Lindholm is dynamic.

My guess the battle for the final roster spot is between Warsofsky and Mironov. I’m also going to guess Warsofsky wins it for practical reasons. One is that Mironov doesn’t have to pass through waivers, while Warsofsky does. The second is that the 27-year-old Warsofsky won’t benefit from development time in the AHL, while the new-to-North-America Mironov will.

That said, I believe the d-pairing will look something like this:

Johnson-Zadorov

Barrie-Bigras

Lindholm-Barberio

Warsofsky will be the healthy scratch defenseman — another reason the Avs will choose to send Mironov down since he wouldn’t benefit from that situation at all.

Next: New Look Avalanche Defensemen

I also have to say, I’ve been waiting two years for that top defensive pairing. Man is that a juggernaut — the Condor and Big Z the Destroyer.

It’s almost the Colorado Avalanche version of the Orange Crush.