Colorado Avalanche: Catching up with Defensive Prospects

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 04: Andrei Mironov /

The Colorado Avalanche defensive prospects are getting themselves sorted out with relation to their NHL careers.

Colorado Avalanche defensive prospects are figuring out what’s in store for their NHL careers.

The first order of business is that the Avalanche have signed one of their prospects, Conor Timmins, to an entry-level contract. The contract starts next year, for the 2018-19 season.

Colorado selected Timmins with their second-round pick, 32nd-overall. Prior to the draft it was thought Timmins might even go in the first round, so it was a steal to pick him up in the second.

Timmins is in his third season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. This year he’s earned 35 points (6 goals, 29 assists) in 30 games. Unfortunately, he’s been out since mid-January with a high ankle sprain. It’s said that he could return at any time, but the team isn’t rushing him because they have already clinched a playoff berth — the Greyhounds have the best record in the OHL.

Timmins attended the prospect development camp as well as both the rookie and regular training camp. He was very impressive at camp and was one of the last prospects to be cut. GM Joe Sakic said of the prospect:

"“Conor had a great training camp with us and we are excited with the growth he’s shown this season. He’s had another strong year in the OHL and played important minutes for Canada’s gold medal team at the world juniors. We are proud to have him with our organization.”"

Timmins was one of two Avalanche prospects who represented Team Canada at IIHF Worlds. Along with said prospect, Cale Makar, he was named best of the tournament.

Random fact: Conor Timmins apparently has two different colored eyes. His right one is brown, but his left one is hazel:

colorado avalanche
CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: Conor Timmins, 32nd overall pick of the Colorado Avalanche, poses for a portrait during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

That’s pretty cool.

The second order of business is not as happy or cool. The Colorado Avalanche are severing ties with Andrei Mironov — or rather, Mironov has requested he be put on waivers with the intention of terminating his contract with the Avalanche.

Andrei Mironov was the Avs’ fourth-round draft pick in 2015. From then until last summer he was playing in the KHL. However, this summer the 23-year-old decided to try and make the jump to the NHL.

It was always going to be a tough transition. The Russian game is a lot looser since they play on the bigger ice. Mironov would have to get used to not only the smaller surface, but the increased speed. What’s more, the North American game tends to be more structured.

I thought Mironov looked good in training camp. But then, I thought Duncan Siemens looked good in the 2014 training camp, and we saw how long that took to pan out.

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche /

Colorado Avalanche

As Mironov bounced back and forth between the AHL and NHL, it had to be preying on his mind that he had left a lucrative KHL career for this. What’s more, all the feedback he was getting from the team was that he was in good shape and he’d get his shot with the Avalanche.

Mironov got a goal and two assists in 10 games with the Avs, but apparently that wasn’t enough.

Yet defensemen would get injured, and Mironov wouldn’t get another chance. It all wore Mironov down. According to the Hockey Writers, Mironov told that it boiled down to the most recent situation. Three Avalanche defensemen were out (Mark Barberio, Anton Lindholm and Erik Johnson). Yet Mironov didn’t get the call up.

Mironov stated, “I am not sure I would play even if all the six defensemen were injured.”

The whole situation seemed to be difficult for Mironov. He was bouncing around so much between Colorado and San Antonio that he couldn’t get settled into his new country. The ways of the locker room were different. And he just was getting so frustrated with not getting his chance.

So, Mironov is heading back to Russia. He can’t play this season, but he’s going to take the time to negotiate his next KHL contract.

The news about the third defensive prospect isn’t so big — just really cool. Cale Makar scored this sweet coast to coast goal the other night for his UMass Minutemen:

There’s no news yet on whether Makar will play one more season with the Minutemen or will sign with the Avalanche when their season is done this year. He’s stated before that he wants to make sure his game is where it needs to be for NHL play.

Judging by that goal, it’s close if not there yet.

Next: Siemens and his 1st NHL Goal

Though not a defensive prospect, Erik Johnson is making a little news. The other day at practice he was skating with a no-contact jersey:

He wasn’t doing any stick work, just skating to keep up his conditioning. But, boy, is it great to see the Condor flying again.