The Colorado Avalanche youngsters are playing in Vegas tonight against the Golden Knights. The stakes are high for many of these players.
The Colorado Avalanche are playing their penultimate game tonight as they face the Golden Knights in Vegas. After tonight, they’ll play in Dallas on Saturday, and then opening night is just a few days away!
At the time of writing, the roster for tonight’s game hadn’t been announced. However, it’s understood that the mostly-NHL roster that practiced yesterday will play in Dallas. So, tonight represents a last chance for the youngsters to make a case for themselves with the big team.
According to who practiced yesterday, this is who I expect to play tonight:
- Shane Bowers
- Sheldon Dries
- A.J. Greer
- Michael Joly
- Vladislav Kamenev
- Martin Kaut
- Logan O’Connor
- T.J. Tynan
- Bowen Byram
- Ryan Graves
- Dan Renouf
- Conor Timmins
- Jacob McDonald
- Calle Rosen
- Hunter Miska
That’s not a full roster, (and I may be missing a couple players, but none of the big names) but those are the players who skated in the second group at practice yesterday.
Let’s look at what some of the players are shooting for.
Get Some More NHL Experience
Many of the young prospects on the above list are just trying to get their NHL legs. Sure, they want to impress, and they’d love to make team. However, for the most part, they’re mostly getting some NHL experience.
I’d put Martin Kaut, TJ Tynan, Jacob MacDonald, Hunter Miska, Michael Joly, and Daniel Renouf in this category. I’d say Kaut might also fall in the next category, but I think he’s a little lower on the list there for right now.
Impress as First Call-Up
All of the players in this next list want to make the NHL team, and they probably feel they have the skills to do so. However, looking at the Colorado Avalanche roster, all of us have to assume there will be some adjustment of expectations.
Probably the unhappiest member of this group is A.J. Greer. The kid can’t win for losing. One minute Jared Bednar is stating Greer looks good, the next he’s placing him in this category.
Next on this list is Shane Bowers. Same, only with bigger praise from Bednar. Logan O’Connor has some NHL experience because he made the team out of camp last year. But he doesn’t look to be impressing the Avs quite as much this year.
Conor Timmins doesn’t exactly belong on this list because he’s had an impressive preseason. However, the player himself and all of us fans have got to agree we want to see the team take it a little easy with the kid, who missed 16 months with lingering concussion symptoms.
Make the NHL Team
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Some of the players in tonight’s lineup are gunning for an NHL job. Most of them already have NHL experience, so they know they have something to offer.
Bo Byram would like to make the team as an 18-year-old rookie. He started out a little rough, but he’s steadily improved throughout camp. However, there’s no reason to rush his development, and I believe he’ll be sent back to his major juniors team sooner or later.
Vladislav Kamenev… boy this kid needed to have a better camp and preseason. But, like Timmins, he’s missed large portions of competitive hockey recently, and he doesn’t appear to have bounced back as easily. So, while he may be gunning to make the NHL team, he’s probably more likely to be in the previous group.
Ryan Graves, Sheldon Dries, and Calle Rosen should all be playing with chips on their shoulders. Graves and Rosen would have to be put on waivers if they don’t make the NHL team. Dries doesn’t face that prospect, but he spent 40 games with the team last season so legitimately might feel he belongs there.
Here are the lines from the first group yesterday:
Here are the defensive pairings:
That’s not necessarily how they’ll run on Saturday, but it’s a good bet.
The Colorado Avalanche have until the conclusion of the preseason, Saturday night, to settle their 23-man roster. Right now they have 37 players. I expect a big cut after tonight’s game.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: Sept. 25, 5:00 pm MT
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5/AM 950)
The game is being shown on KTNV.