Colorado Avalanche: Prospects for Round Robin?

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Conor Timmins
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Conor Timmins /

The Colorado Avalanche have a great stable of prospects. Will any of them get the nod in the round robin?

The Colorado Avalanche will have a bye week while the bubble teams play the qualifying tournament to get into the playoffs. Thank goodness that doesn’t mean they get the week off — after all this time off they’re healthy and primed to play.

Instead, the Avalanche will play a round robin against the other three Western Conference teams who don’t have to play the qualifying round. The results of the round robin will determine seeding for the first round of the playoffs.

All the round robin games will be played in the hub city — it’s looking more likely the Colorado Avalanche players will be kicking it at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds eating from food trucks.

Meanwhile, teams can carry 30 skaters and as many goalies as they want. It’s thought between players and staff teams will be comprised of 50 people each.

So, 30 skaters. Even on a stacked Avalanche team, that roster size means more than the regular NHLers will be in the bubble with the team. These so-called Black Aces will be prospects from the team’s pool.

Luckily, the Avs are stacked there, too.

Will they get a chance to play in the round robin? And which would get the nod?

Pros of Prospects in the Round Robin

The round robin games aren’t very important. There will be three total, one against each of St. Louis, Dallas, and Vegas. Colorado could lose all three — which they won’t — and still be a top-four seed.

The Avalanche also have a stable of very capable prospects. These are players who will be expected to be difference-makers in the future. It would behoove them to get some playoff time in when the games aren’t so important.

Cons of Prospects in the Round Robin

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Colorado Avalanche players last played on March 12, the night before the NHL paused the season in response to the COVID-19 crisis. That was three month ago from now. They won’t even start the round robin until at least July 30.

That would make four-and-a-half months between games. They will have a two-week training camp before the round robin starts. However, that’s not the same as playing competitive games.

And some players went even longer because they were on injured reserve when the season was paused. The Avalanche rosters players need real, competitive games before they enter the first round, when every period counts.

Choosing Prospects for the Round Robin

The Black Aces are available in case of injury — or illness — during the playoffs. So, the Avalanche may need to tap one or two during their playoff run.

For forwards, the best of the bunch for prospects is Martin Kaut. I’d love to see Shane Bowers get the nod. But the Avalanche tend to lean more toward veterans, so we’re more likely to see Sheldon Dries or Vladislav Kamenev (NHLer).

For defensemen, we’d all love to see Bowen Byram make his debut. And we’d be pulling for Conor Timmins. But, again, we’d be more likely to see Mark Barberio or Kevin Connauton.

I really don’t want to see any goalie prospects. No offense to them, but we’d have to go through three goalies first — Philipp Grubauer, Pavel Francouz, and Michael Hutchinson. That’s no good.

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It’s such a good place for the Colorado Avalanche to be in, knowing they could count on some good prospects if they had to. But I doubt we’ll see any of those players even in the round robin games.