Colorado Avalanche Form an All-Kids Line that Holds Promise

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Alexander Kerfoot
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Alexander Kerfoot /

The Colorado Avalanche have so many rookies they have to line them up together — and the results give us a glimpse into the future.

The kids are taking over the show for the Colorado Avalanche. It would be hard for that not to happen since the team is essentially composed of kids — the vast majority are 25 or younger.

With the untimely — and over-long — suspension of captain Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche have had to mix up their lines.

One of the formations that saw time at practice is the following:

Tyson JostAlexander KerfootJ.T. Compher

Kerfoot and Compher have been on a line together since the November 16 game against the Washington Capitals, typically with Colin Wilson as well. Jost played five games for the San Antonio Rampage (1 goal, 1 assist) as a conditioning assignment.

This line looks exciting in a lot of ways. For one, they’re all rookies. Of the three, Compher is the veteran, having 37 NHL games under his belt. At the ripe old age of 23, Kerfoot is the pops. Jost… he’s just the goofy kid.

Kerfoot, Jost and Compher complement each other on the ice. Each is speedy and dynamic in play. Compher is a solid two-way player, and Jost is a bulldog on the forecheck. Kerfoot has fantastic vision and is quite the playmaker.

Interestingly enough, this is one of the most educated lines in hockey. Jost spent a year at the University of North Dakota, Compher spent three at the University of Michigan, and Kerfoot graduated from Harvard University.

Maybe his Ivy League makes Kerfoot a little more cautious. He said in a post-practice presser of the possible line combination:

"“It is hard to say that you have chemistry after one practice, but it is fun to play with them.”"

The Professor, er, Kerfoot did acknowledge that Compher and Jost think the game the same way he does.

Compher also likes the looks of that potential line combination. He praises their vision and playmaking — he considers himself more of a shooter. “I’m playing with two really gifted offensive players.”

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The make up of this line also gives us all a true look at the youth movement. These players have consistently been lined up with veterans — before his injury, Jost played with Carl Soderberg, Colin Wilson, Blake Comeau, and Gabriel Landeskog at different times. This is the first instance of three rookies lining up together — if it comes to pass. And, as stated above, Kerfoot and Compher have been skating with Wilson for a few games.

There’s no guarantee this line will come to pass. Coach Jared Bednar seems to subscribe to the salad spinner style of linemaking and defensive pairing. At some point in the game, players skate out with different players than they started with. In fact, Bednar wouldn’t even confirm that he was considering trying out the trio in the next game, against the Winnipeg Jets at home.

In any case, it’s fun to imagine. In a tradition that dates back to the days of Rene Corbet, Eric Lacroix and Stephane Yelle, the trio are roommates. As Jost pointed out in his post-practice presser, the youngsters — who also call defenseman Chris Bigras a roommate — spend a lot of time together:

"“We hang out a lot together off the ice. We’re together all the time at home. We’re doing stuff together, we’re playing ping pong. It’s good. We’re going to have a lot of fun playing together, and I know we’re excited for sure.”"

Jost thinks that will give them some “roomie chem.” (It did to the 1990s trio mentioned above.) That said, in recent years the habit has been to have rookies live with an established family man. Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly lived with Adam Foote and Darcy Tucker respectively. Nathan MacKinnon lived first with J.S. Giguere and then Max Talbot.

That’s not really possible in this current youth movement. The oldest players on the team — Blake Comeau and Carl Soderbergare married with families. However, beyond them it’s just Jonathan Bernier, Nail Yakupov and — don’t laugh — Nikita Zadorov who are living the stable family life. Even if you don’t discount the  22-year-old Zadorov — and despite his wife and baby, I don’t think anyone would call him the paragon of responsibility — you just don’t have enough family situations for all the rookies:

The last, a 19-year-old, is apparently living with his girlfriend in Cherry Creek, though. However, Bigras apparently needs a roommate or three…

Next: Avalanche Prospect Watch

Anyway, living situations aside, I hope Colorado Avalanche fans get a chance to see this line in game play. All three of these players are signed on for the next three years. They’re supposed to “grow up” together. I, for one, would like a glimpse of what we have for the next few years.