Colorado Avalanche: What to Expect from David Warsofsky

Colorado Avalanche defenseman David Warsofsky may very well get his chance with the NHL squad. How will he fare?

On January 11, David Warsofsky was called up from the Colorado Avalanche AHL-affiliate San Antonio Rampage along with A.J. Greer and Andrew Hammond. He didn’t get a chance to play in Saturday’s game against the Dallas Stars or Monday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. However, coach Jared Bednar did suggest Warsofsky’s call up was not necessarily to fill a roster spot:

“If somebody struggles or we need a spark in our lineup he can come in. He’s got a good skill set. He had a little bit of the slow start to the season in San Antonio and then got hurt. Since he’s been back he’s really started to elevate his game; I’ve heard good things. So it’s time to get him up here and take a look and see if he can help us.”

David Warsofsky for the majority of his career has been an AHL defenseman. The scouting reports on Warsofsky have pretty much stayed true from the beginning of his professional career. He’s an undersized defenseman that can skate exceptionally well and move the puck quickly. He also possesses an NHL quality shot.

Last season he hit a personal best in points, scoring 16 goals and 31 assists in 58 games last season while playing for Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton in the AHL. Here’s an example of his skills while he was playing for the WB/S Penguins last season:

Here’s his first NHL goal while with the Boston Bruins:

Both the skating ability and shot can be seen in the videos above. If he has the puck on his stick, he can surprise opposing goaltenders with his shot. Even so, this hasn’t been enough to keep him in the NHL.

Warsofsky’s problem is simple. His is, and will continue to be, undersized. Even in a speed based game the NHL has begun to adopt, he still needs to be stronger without the puck. At 5’8″ and 170 pounds, any medium sized player is going to get the better of him in a puck or net-front battle.

He has shown he can put up good numbers in the AHL, but the NHL game might be too big and strong for him to have a nightly roster spot.

What does this mean for the Colorado Avalanche?

Bednar made it clear in the quote above he gave to the Denver Post. Unless someone’s game goes south or the Avs start losing games, Warsofsky won’t play much. The Avalanche have won seven straight games, so you can hardly fault Bednar for keeping the defensemen he’s been playing in the line-up. Shaking things up just for the sake of shaking things up probably isn’t the best idea.

This isn’t to say I wouldn’t like it if Warsofsky finds himself in the line-up. More specifically, I’d like to see him get a chance for some 3rd pairing minutes and maybe even some 2nd PP unit time. This would mean taking someone out of the line-up.

Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov, Samuel Girard, Patrik Nemeth and Mark Barberio have all been playing quite well. Anton Lindholm would be the one I would prefer to see scratched if Warsofsky gets put in the line-up. Lindholm is a much more physical player, but he scares me when he has the puck. Warsofsky by all accounts is good with the puck, so if he’s in, it would make sense to put him in against a smaller and quicker team.

The last five games the Colorado Avalanche will play before the All-Star Break are against San Jose, NY Rangers, Toronto, Montreal, and St. Louis. The last three are on the road with Toronto and Montreal being a back-to-back scenario. If Warsofsky gets in, I think one of those games is the perfect chance. Any chance to get some fresh bodies in the line-up is a good thing. The NHL season is a long 82 games, and players deserve a rest every now and then.

 

When Tyson Barrie returns from injury, most likely after the All-Star Break, Warsofsky will probably head back to San Antonio. If he gets his shot within the next five games, his play will determine whether or not he gets more games. If all goes well, he will serve as a continual call-up if there are more injuries (god forbid) to the Colorado Avalanche line-up.