Colorado Avalanche: Impressions from 2019 Rookie Camp

LOVELAND, CO - FEBRUARY 6: Colorado Eagles player Conor Timmins undresses after practice on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LOVELAND, CO - FEBRUARY 6: Colorado Eagles player Conor Timmins undresses after practice on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche kicked off their preseason by hosting rookie camp before taking off for California and the Rookie Faceoff.

The Colorado Avalanche preseason officially started today. The team, as did many others, held their official rookie camp. Prospects and rookies participated in the roughly 90-minute training, with goalies, of course, practicing for longer.

In preparation for rookie camp, I raised three questions that I’d like answered. You can read the full post here, but the questions are these:

  1. Is Conor Timmins good to go?
  2. Is Bo Byram NHL-ready?
  3. Is Martin Kaut ready to take the next step?

Let’s look at the answers.

Conor Timmins

Defenseman Conor Timmins is full speed ahead. According to Avs Insider Adrian Dater, he’s been fully cleared by the team.

Timmins is coming off a full season missed because of lingering concussion symptoms. The poor kid would take two steps forward, one back with his symptoms.

Well, he was a full participant today at rookie camp, and he’s slated to play at the Rookie Faceoff in Anaheim. What’s more, he looked really good at camp. Really good. Like, every time I looked back on the ice from scouting out the NHLers watching the practice, Timmins was making some magic.

Dater took some video of Timmins and observed that the young man isn’t playing tentatively — he’s raring to go.

Boy, am I relieved to see him back in action. I’m sure the plan is still for him to rehab with the Colorado Eagles, since he’s missed a whole year of meaningful hockey. However, I believe the Avs will also want to give him a chance at the NHL.

Bowen Byram

I’m not as sure about this one. Bo Byram wasn’t as big a standout as Timmins was.

There’s no rush on Byram. The Colorado Avalanche are stacked at the defensive position. It’s in their best interest to let Byram develop fully, even if that means sending him back to the Vancouver Giants, his major juniors team.

Here’s Byram at camp:

We can see him tomorrow during the first game of the rookie tournament. He practiced a lot with Timmins, so I imagine the two might be paired during games.

Martin Kaut

I always have the hardest time reading Martin Kaut. He’s not a flashy player, which is fine. But I’m never quite sure what to look for in his game.

Well, I chatted with J.D. Killian of The Hockey Writers during camp, and we discussed Kaut. She likes to think of him as Landy Lite (my term — she’s probably a little more serious-minded). She thinks Kaut does the little things right to make good plays, like our captain does.

Well, that explains why it’s hard to see what he’s doing well all the time. However, he’s a great skater and he’s got size. I feel like he could start the season with the Eagles but be the first call-up.

Side News

Defenseman Ian Cole is skating. He was the first veteran I spied. A few minutes later, he was out on the second ice sheet alone skating:

Cole had offseason surgery on both hips. He’s expected to be out until December. He didn’t participate in any way in the captain’s practice today, so his skating doesn’t necessarily move that timeline up.

An unpleasant surprise is that Colin Wilson had offseason shoulder surgery. He was skating for a while in the captain’s camp, but he didn’t fully participate. He skated a lot on his own:

No telling if he’ll be ready for the regular season. His rehab does put the team’s third line in question. (Joonas Donskoi, whom I think will be a wing on the third line, was at captain’s camp and looking really good.)

Another player had offseason shoulder surgery, and he’s in better shape. Erik Johnson is good to go. According to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers, he’s not 100% yet, but he will be by the beginning of the season — that’s according to the man himself.

Well, he was crushing it at camp today. His skating is perfect, right in form with how it’s always been. Not only that, last week he was the one running the captain’s camp while Landeskog was completing his hockey duties in Sweden.

And now, a note to Johnson’s detractors — he was injured since November.

He played almost the entire season with a shoulder injury that required surgery, and he still put together 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists). And, yes, he looked a little rough at times in the playoffs, but I imagine playing physical hockey for six months on an injured shoulder takes a toll even on a beast like Erik Johnson.

Next. Did the Avs do Enough in the Offseason?. dark

The Colorado Avalanche rookies will face the Vegas Golden Knights’ rookies tomorrow at 2 pm MT. The team will stream the game on their website.