The Colorado Avalanche will be making some final roster decisions tomorrow sometime around the final game of the preseason.
Tomorrow’s late afternoon Colorado Avalanche game represents the eve of the regular season. Granted, after tomorrow we’ll still have five days to wait until the season opener at home. However, the team will have to solidify its 23-man roster and start practicing for games that count.
Well, some people are weary of the preseason, but it felt like this year especially the games and practices were necessary for the Avs to figure out a few last roster spots. And tomorrow may represent the culmination of just that.
So, with that in mind, let’s see what’s at stake in tomorrow’s game, the final of the preseason.
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Two-thirds of the Colorado Avalanche’s second line have already found chemistry. Tyson Jost and Nazem Kadri have been practicing and playing together for most of the preseason. Indeed, they even traveled together up to Andy O’Brien’s camp in Vail, where they trained together.
An unfortunate side effect of Mikko Rantanen‘s hold-out is the Avs used Andre Burakovsky as his stand-in. Sure, playing with those two players was technically a “chance” to prove himself, but it hardly felt like one when Andre knew he’d be dropping back to the second line if/when the Finnish winger returned.
Bura was always supposed to be on the Kadri’s right side. Well, he’s there now. He’s practiced on that line a couple times, and I imagine that’s where he’ll play tomorrow afternoon.
Right Wing Alignment
In a similar vein, with Rantanen in Switzerland-en-route-to-Finland (He was training in Switzerland but is supposed to return to Finland), the right wing position in Colorado is somewhat in flux. It was supposed to be, in order, Rantanen, Burakovsky, Donskoi.
However, Joonas Donskoi is tasked with being Rantanen’s stand-in while Burakovsky bonds with his real linemates. So, instead of Donskoi’s getting to play with what’s probably really going to be his line, the third, Jayson Megna is in that position.
So, we’ll be watching how all three of those right wings function within a line that’s pretty new to them.
Third Defensive Pairing
The Colorado Avalanche have settled on their top-six:
Samuel Girard-Cale Makar
They should play together tomorrow. In fact, the game will represent Johnson’s preseason debut as he’d been laid up recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Five players are vying for those final two spots:
In practice today, Barberio was paired with Connauton, Timmins with Graves. Rosen was paired with Ian Cole, who’s a non-contact participant after offseason hip surgery.
At the time of writing, the team hadn’t announced the roster. So, who gets the nod could be either the pair that the team thinks will make opening night or the pair they want one more look at.
On Mikko Rantanen
DNVR is reporting that Rantanen thinks a deal is close, and Adrian Dater is reporting that the two sides have dug their heels in. And the two sites seem to be feuding a little bit, which is kind of funny.
Most people fall into either Team DNVR or Team Dater when it comes to site preferences. I’m Team Dater, but I keep subscriptions to both as well as Switzerland — The Athletic, where the even-keeled Ryan S. Clark reports.
So, Patrik Laine is signed, Mikko is not, and now I’m starting to get annoyed with Money Bags. I’m sure my annoyance will last until Mikko gets his wayward butt to Colorado and starts scoring goals for the Avalanche, and then all will be forgiven.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: Sept. 28, 4:00 pm MT
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5/AM 950)
The game is not being televised.