Different Colorado Avalanche rookies and prospects are distinguishing themselves every game as they participate in the Rookie Faceoff.
The Colorado Avalanche rookies and prospects have now completed two Rookie Faceoff games. Unfortunately, they have yet to win. They were leading for a while in the game against the Anaheim Ducks today, but that’s the best we can say so far.
Yesterday I wrote about four players we should watch in today’s tournament:
Well, I watched. And watched. These aren’t the players who distinguished themselves in Game 2. Here’s who I listed:
- Justus Annunen
- Martin Kaut
- Ty Lewis
- Logan O’Connor
To be fair, they didn’t have really terrible games today. They just weren’t the hottest prospects around tonight. Now, the prospects I chose for tonight weren’t necessarily the hottest — but they were definitely the ones drawing attention to themselves.
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True confession: I meant to include Saigeon on yesterday’s list, but I ran out of time and left him off. See, I could have been prescient.
Anyway, in both games Saigeon was one of the hottest prospects on the ice. He’s coming off a stellar 2017-18 season with the OHL Hamilton Bulldogs. He had 70 points (35 goals, 35 assists) in 65 regular season games and 25 points (18 goals, 7 assists) in 21 playoff games.
Those impressive stats are pretty much what prompted the Avs to choose him as an over-age prospect in the fifth round.
Saigeon had two goals (I really should have included him last night) against the Vegas Golden Knights. He potted another goal, a power play tally, against the Ducks:
If he keeps up this kind of work and results through the preseason, he may become the proud owner of a shiny new entry-level contract.
The Anaheim Ducks announcer must have a hankering for wine because he kept pronouncing Nic’s name, “Merloche.” Drove me batty.
Anyway, Meloche has a lot more prospect experience than a lot of the guys out there. Colorado drafted him in the second round in 2015 and signed him in spring of 2017. He played the majority of last year in the AHL until he dropped to the ECHL to help the Eagles win the Kelly Cup.
Meloche is a pesky guy. He spent the whole game getting under Anaheim prospects’ skin. He’s also been wearing the A for alternate captain, I’m sure largely because he’s so poised with all his experience in these games.
Fellow defenseman Josh Anderson looked to be about 26 when he was drafted, and he still looks that age. I joke that he can start a game clean-shaven and sprout a beard by the end of the game. Truthfully, though, he’s only 20.
Anderson is just a little less experienced than Meloche. Colorado drafted him in 2016 and signed him in 2018.
And he’s even peskier than Meloche. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound defenseman knows physicality is his key to playing time. He was ready to tango with any Anaheim prospect willing to take his invitation. Unfortunately, the one time he got a taker, the referees stopped the shenanigans. (It’s like the refs don’t know what’s at stake.)
Remember Sergei Boikov? He came into last season ready to challenge for an NHL shot, or at least some prime minutes in the AHL. Instead, he suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason. He lost the entire 2017-18 season to shoulder surgery and rehab.
We finally just found that out. He got injured in a game against the Dallas Stars and essentially fell off the face of the earth. However, the Avs finally reported that it was surgery and rehab that kept him out.
Anyway, he looks like the same Boikov from before the surgery. In fact, at the Rookie Camp, he laid a huge hit on Cole Reinhardt that left his fellow prospect covered in snow. Shoulder looks just fine. He also got an assist in the Vegas game.
Center Igor Shvyrev was the surprise standout for me. It seemed like every time he was on the ice, I was consulting my roster again to see who #43 was. He was hitting. He was shooting. He was trash-talking.
Igor Shvyrev is a fifth-round draft pick from just last year, 2017. He signed his entry-level contract this spring. He’s spent the last couple years bouncing between the KHL and MHL (their version of the AHL). However, he’s slated to be an Eagle this year.
We have to remember this is Shvyrev’s first time playing on North American ice. He seems to be adjusting very well to the smaller surface and faster play.
The Colorado Avalanche prospects will not have a game tomorrow. Instead, they will have the second day of their Rookie Camp. Their final game of the Rookie Faceoff tournament will be September 11 when they take on the San Jose Sharks.