Colorado Avalanche: Duncan Siemens Getting a Shot

DENVER, CO - APRIL 04: Duncan Siemens
DENVER, CO - APRIL 04: Duncan Siemens /

The Colorado Avalanche are giving 11th-overall pick Duncan Siemens a chance in tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Defenseman Duncan Siemens will suit up for the Colorado Avalanche tonight for the first time this season. To date, he’s played four NHL games, all with the Avs and three of those last season.

Colorado recalled Siemens about a week ago. Since then, he’s been practicing with the team. During that time, the coaching staff has been working with him to get his game ready, which we’ll see tonight.

During a pregame interview, Siemens outlined how the coaches wanted him to play:

"“Stick to my strengths, play my game. It’s a simple, physical game, just be heavy, be reliable and just keep working hard.”"

The Colorado Avalanche have been clear about what their team identity is — young, fast and very hard-working. Because Siemens isn’t a puck-moving defenseman but rather a stay-at-home sort, I’ve wondered if he’s have a place in the new system. However, hard work is something that coach Jared Bednar has stressed hard this season, so that could be Siemens’ in.

In fact, Siemens sees a place for his playing style:

"“I think [my playing style] can complement some of our more offensive guys a little bit. It’ll allow them to jump up a little bit quicker and get up there knowing that somebody’s going to be there to cover them.”"

It’s true that Colorado has been lacking a true stay-at-home defenseman — Erik Johnson has had to take on some of that role, at the expense of his offensive side. It’ll be good to have Siemens’ shut-down presence out there.

Naturally, Siemens wants to make his time here count:

"“For me it’s about making a statement every day and fighting to stay. With the depth that we have on the back end right now, there’s a lot of d-men, everybody’s competing for ice time. That’s the best way to do it, and I think it brings the best out of everybody.”"

For tonight, at least, Duncan is paired with Nikita Zadorov. Mark Barberio is the odd man out — previously Zadorov has sat and Lindholm was a healthy scratch a couple times. The competition is there.

Siemens elaborated in an interview with Avs insider Rick Sadowski:

"“You need to have your best day or someone else will step in and do it for you. I bring a little bit of a chip on my shoulder, I play with a little bit of an edge. I bring that physical, stay-at-home simple style. I have to play with a little bit of a mean streak.”"

I’ve always thought Siemens has had quite the mean streak, and it doesn’t help/hurt that he looks a little like a serial killer. After the lack of energy the team showed at times in the last couple of games, someone playing with a chip on his shoulder will be a good addition.

In fact, that’s what Bednar has seen in his game:

"“We like the jam that he plays with, he has a little sandpaper to his game. He’s hungry to prove that he belongs here. He had a good training camp and we liked what we saw when we called him up at the end of last season.”"

While Duncan Siemens acknowledged that one of the factors he’s had to get used to this time around is the speed game, I think he will also do well to watch his nerves. He did have a good training camp with the Colorado Avalanche, but he looked downright nervous in some of the games he played in the preseason.

Next: 3 Players Who Must Step up vs Buffalo

As I’ve expressed before, I’m pulling for Duncan Siemens. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the 11-overall serial killer (lookalike). Besides, a defensive pairing of Big Z the Destroyer and Serial Killer Siemens will be one nasty dose for opponents.