Colorado Avalanche: Bowen Byram Cut and Other Roster News

KENT, WASHINGTON - MARCH 30: Bowen Byram #44 of the Vancouver Giants celebrates after scoring against the Seattle Thunderbirds during the first period at the accesso ShoWare Center on March 30, 2019 in Kent, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
KENT, WASHINGTON - MARCH 30: Bowen Byram #44 of the Vancouver Giants celebrates after scoring against the Seattle Thunderbirds during the first period at the accesso ShoWare Center on March 30, 2019 in Kent, Washington. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche have reassigned several players as they get closer to their opening night roster.

The Colorado Avalanche have sent their fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft back to his major juniors team. Bowen Byram is returning to the Vancouver Giants.

This roster move caught me by surprise, but it makes sense as I think about it. I had genuinely though the team would give him those nine regular-season games they contractually can before sending him back. I never expected him to permanently make the NHL roster as an 18-year-old defenseman.

Not only is the defense position a harder transition for players — very few NHL defensemen make the big team their draft year — but Colorado has a bit of a logjam at defense. There is literally no reason to rush the development of a kid who’s going to go crush it in the WHL this upcoming season.

It also makes sense not to play him those nine games if you already saw enough in the preseason to know he wasn’t going to make the big roster. However, I think this observation is a little extreme:

That’s a little harsh.

Here’s my observation of Bo Byram at camp and in the preseason — he’s an immature 18-year-old. I don’t mean that in a negative way — he’s apparently a little brat, but I don’t think he’s a punk. I mean, he’s a young 18 (he reached his majority about 10 days before the draft). He’s not grown into his body yet, which makes it difficult for a defenseman to be perfect at his craft.

He also makes immature mistakes. He own-goaled his first-ever NHL game. You know what else I noticed? I noticed he learned every shift. I noticed he improved every game. And as he got his confidence, flashes of the skill and talent that got him drafted fourth-overall came out in his game.

And that’s the crux of the matter right there — confidence and maturity. He’ll gain both with another year or even two with the Giants. And when he does make the NHL roster, he’ll do so with the panache of Cale Makar’s debut. That’s MY bold prediction of Bo Byram’s future.

Anyway, here are the other roster cuts Colorado made:

  • Sheldon Dries, center
  • Michael Joly, right wing
  • Martin Kaut, right wing
  • Jacob MacDonald, defenseman
  • Hunter Miska, goalie
  • Logan O’Connor, right wing
  • Dan Renouf, defenseman

MacDonald and Renouf have to clear waivers.

I’d say none of those roster moves is too terribly surprising. I’d say both Dries and O’Connor might feel a little salty. But I think they also know they’ve made a name for themselves with the team and have a chance at call-ups.

I’d like to see Kaut have a killer year in Loveland. Also, I think the referees must have been thin-skinned last night because they claim the affable Czech abused an official. Kaut was about the last player on the team I could see abusing an official.

Anyway, one tiny bit of gossip. According to… I guess they’re called DNVR now — Mikko Rantanen has reported that contract negotiations are “closing in”:

I don’t want to give away what you have to pay for a subscription to access. However, DNVR tapped a colleague in Switzerland to talk to the wayward winger. I’ll just share an impression from Rantanen’s responses — he’s not involved in the negotiations.

And now my response — that’s shite. It’s your life and your career and your relationship with the team and fans, Mikko. Opening night is exactly one week away. YOU’RE the one that put the literal blood, sweat, and tears into becoming an elite NHL player. At the 11th hour, how can you leave your future in the hands of a third party?

Anyway, as Avs insider Adrian Dater has pointed out on numerous occasions, both sides suffer if a player of Rantanen’s caliber misses regular-season time. However, a team can win even without one of their stars. Other players just step up.

The player can’t recoup that lost revenue. It’s gone forever.

So, if I’m Mikko Rantanen, I personally would be calling my agent every hour on the hour asking if he’d gotten a deal done yet. He’s almost certainly going to miss opening night, but I’d be doing my damnedest to make the team by at least Game 3.

Back to the roster. As of right now, the Avalanche have 29 players. They have to shed six more at the conclusion of the preseason on Saturday. Now, Ian Cole is almost certainly going to be placed on injured reserve, so they really only have to cut five players — three forwards and two defensemen, I gather.

There’s going to be some difficulty at both positions. Here are the players who are probably on the bubble:

  • Shane Bowers, forward
  • AJ Greer, forward
  • Vladislav Kamenev, forward
  • T.J. Tynan, forward
  • Jayson Megna, forward
  • Ryan Graves, defenseman
  • Calle Rosen, defenseman
  • Conor Timmins, defenseman

I think Timmins will go because of his contract — he doesn’t have to clear waivers. Also because he missed so much time with his concussion symptoms. However, I believe he’s more than earned first call-up.

Of the forwards, I believe contract will also dictate. Only Kamenev would have to clear waivers, so he’ll probably stay. Megna appears to have earned himself a spot. Bowers missed the last game with a last-minute injury, but I think he was headed down anyway.

Between Greer and Tynan, I, personally, choose Greer. So Jared Bednar will almost certainly choose Tynan.

Next. Avs and Rantanen Must Stop with Comparables. dark

Anyway, the Colorado Avalanche will play the Stars in Dallas on Saturday. At that time, we’ll see a pretty close approximation of our NHL roster.